Materials chemistry

Classroom resources featuring activities from our Materials Chemistry professional development course for teachers

This collection is most valuable to those who have attended this course and wish to put into practice with their students some of the ideas and activities presented as part of that event. Please note that this list is not exhaustive; not all trainer activities have a corresponding classroom resource. In some circumstances there is variation between the training resource and classroom resource.

An image showing a carbon nanotube

Carbon nanotubes grown using kitchen chemicals


Cheap compounds found in kitchen cupboards can act as catalysts for making carbon nanotubes

Kevlar bulletproof vests

Nanotubes make Kevlar armour smarter

2017-04-07T08:29:00+01:00By Chemistry World

Conducting composite senses damage and stiffens on impact


Modern applications


Inspirational chemistry book chapter ‘Modern applications’. This chapter suggests games, activities, practicals and demonstrations for teaching various topics, such as observing reactions, making new medicines and composite materials.

Three blue, red and green lumps of plasticine

Modelling alloys with plasticine

2015-09-15T16:58:00+01:00In association with

Try this class activity to explore how alloying can be used to change the properties of a metal. Includes kit list and teaching notes.

Brown kelp image

Cross-linking polymers – alginate worms


With a collection of equipment easy to find in your classroom, learners can form alginate polymer ‘worms’ and explore cross-linking polymers

A full-frame photograph of a heap of plastic bottles and containers for recycling

Identifying polymers by density

2015-07-27T15:52:00+01:00In association with

Investigate and identify a variety of polymers used in everyday materials by testing their density in this practical. Includes kit list and safety instructions.


The plastic that came out of thin air


The story of Roy Plunkett and the discovery of Teflon® (polytetrafluoroethene) can be used to show that many things in science were discovered accidentally.


Plastics challenge

2016-12-12T13:31:00+00:00In association with

Links to Practical Action’s plastics challenge, where students develop products from recycled objects, as a possible way of tackling environmental problems caused by plastic waste.




The Inspirational chemistry chapter ‘Nanotechnology’. This chapter suggests games, activities, practicals and demonstrations for teaching various topics, including ways that nanotechnology can improve our everyday lives.


Chemical misconceptions II: Iron - a metal


Judge the veracity of twenty statements about one of the most familiar examples of a metal, iron, and understand more about its structure.

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Starters for 10: Advanced level 1 (16–18)


This chapter in our Starters for ten series covers quantitative chemistry, atomic structure, bonding, trends in the periodic table, organic chemistry, thermodynamics, kinetics, equilibria, redox, analysis and experimental skills.

Shipwrecks index image

Rusting: a lateral thinking problem | 11–14 years

2015-05-01T15:45:00+01:00By ,

Learners apply their knowledge of rusting in the context of shipwrecks. A lateral thinking exercise and planning an investigation will help them develop higher-order skills.


Polymer puzzles


This activity is designed to develop the students’ higher order thinking – particularly critical thinking skills – in the context of problem solving. It should help students to recall the facts about some common polymers.