Materials Matter

The Workshop

The challenges of this topic are to investigate properties of materials around the museum and to investigate states of matter in the workshop. This is in preparation for designing a sweet-making machine.

The topic is introduced through a fun quiz about sweets, and by the topic leader melting chocolate and pouring it into moulds – to produce moulded chocolates for all at the end of the investigations.

The Museum Investigation

Students visit different areas of the museum to look at materials with different properties. The group investigates the following properties of matter:

In the foundry area:

  • shaped wooden patterns for casting gears
  • hard and strong cast iron gears

In the looms area:

  • flexible leather belts.
  • the friction of cork pulleys

In the sweets area:

  • the high heat conductivity of copper
  • the low heat conductivity of wooden pan handles

In the wire-drawing area:

  • the ductility of wire
  • the tensile strength of wire.

The Workshop Investigation

Teams measure how long it takes different kinds of chocolate to melt, and measure the temperature of the melted chocolate.

The experiments are carried out in teams of three technicians:

  • technician responsible for setting up the apparatus and heating the chocolate.
  • technician responsible for measuring the time and temperature.
  • technician responsible for recording the results.

Topic Conclusion

Teams, or each individual student, are invited to design and draw a machine to make the sweet of their choice.

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