Children 8-10 years

AMBERs’ MaterialsNOW resource focuses on the material, plastic and is designed to support students’ exploration of the role of plastics in society and investigations into the properties of plastic and bioplastics. This programme focuses on integration of science lessons with literacy and numeracy, developing childrens’ skills in working scientifically, while also meeting literacy and numeracy objectives.

The resource is designed to guide you as a teacher in supporting your students in inquiry-based activities. Each lesson comes with a comprehensive lesson plan, which includes background knowledge for the teacher, learning objectives and pointers towards assessment, student handouts, templates and examples. Powerpoints for teachers are provided after each section description below.

Materials (Lesson 1)

Materials focuses on vocabulary development. Students develop the words associated with describing materials, and practice sorting materials based on different properties.

Materials Science (Lesson 2–4)

In these lessons students work with cornstarch and water to first make Oobleck (slime) and then bioplastic (from cornstarch), it ends with the students meeting a materials scientist and discovering how much they have in common with a scientist. This is very hands-on and activity-oriented, giving students the opportunity to see how materials’ properties can be changed while considering solutions and phases of matter.


Environmental Awareness and Care (Lesson 5–7) 

Encourage students to think critically about plastics, the role they play in our lives, and potential solutions to problem plastics. The investigation in this strand involves a sinking and floating activity which allows students to identify different types of plastics. This has real world applications; it is a common method used at recycling centres to sort different types plastics. The students also meet materials scientists who are working on solutions to problem plastic. In the final lesson of this series students are asked to consider, deliberate and make a decision on a real-world research question.


Working Scientifically (Lessons 8A–8C)

An extension investigation on the properties of bioplastic made in class. Students will investigate how to make bioplastic with different properties in the classroom. They will learn about fair-tests and design their own method for testing their prediction. Teachers are provided step-by-step guidance to facilitate this student-led investigation.



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AMBER has a strong emphasis on collaboration. Central to AMBER’s research remit are collaborative projects performed with industry partners, and working with academic, industry and wider stakeholder on international and national research programmes.

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