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Materials Science and Engineering in the Secondary School Curriculum

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Where Materials Science and Engineering fits into the UK school curriculum

Compiled by Dr Becky Waldram and Dr Chris Hamlett

Materials Science and Engineering related topics are found throughout the secondary school curricula.

In this document we signpost areas of the English, Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh secondary school curricula which are relevant to MSE and, as such, Discover Materials is in a great position to help support.

 

MSE Links to secondary school curriculum in England

Source: [INSERT SOURCE HERE –  Government website?]

 Key Stage 3 (11 – 14 year olds)

Chemistry

  • Properties of different states of matter
  • Properties of metals and non-metals (Periodic Table)
  • Properties of ceramics, polymers and composites

Physics

  • Energy changes and transfers
  • Forces (stretching and squashing)

Design and Technology

  • Materials selection based on their properties
  • Understanding and use of materials for structural elements

Art and Design

  • Increase proficiency of students in handling materials

Key Stage 4 (14 – 16 year olds)

Chemistry

  • Periodic Table and physical properties
  • Properties of metals and non metals
  • Bulk properties relating to bonding (e.g. diamond, graphite and graphene)
  • Reduction and oxidation (including extraction from ores)
  • Smart materials

Physics

  • Forces
  • Energy and phase changes

Key Stage 5 (16-18 year olds)

Chemistry

  • Crystal structures
  • Electrochemical cells

Physics

  • Bulk properties of materials
  • Youngs modulus and Hooke’s Law
  • Solids under stress (behaviour of brittle and ductile materials)
  • Thermal and electrical properties of materials
  • Imaging techniques (e.g. ultrasound and x-ray imaging)

 

 

 

MSE Links to secondary school curriculum in Northern Ireland

Source: [INSERT SOURCE HERE]

Key Stage 3 (ages 11 – 14)

Science and Technology

  • “Develop a range of practical skills”

 

Design and Technology

  • Manufacturing – selecting materials fit for purpose”

 

Art and Design

  • “Developing creative thinking skill and personal creative outcomes through investigating, realising, designing and making:
  • Drawing and graphic media
  • Printmaking
  • Textiles
  • Ceramics

 

Key stage 4 (14 – 16 year olds)

GCSE Specification in Chemistry (CCEA specs)

1.3 Structure – property relationships (properties of giant ionic structures, metallic and covalent structures)

1.4 Nanoparticles

2.1.6 Relationship between the extraction of a metal from its ore and its position in the reactivity series

2.2 Redox rusting and iron

2.7 Electrochemistry (electrodes, electrolytes and extraction)

 

CCEA GCSE Specification in Technology and Design

1.2 Demonstrate understanding of the main properties and applications of a range of plastics, woods, metals, alloys and graphene

1.5 Demonstrate understanding of the wasting, fabrication and joining of metals, plastics and wood

2.15 Electronic conductors and insulators

2.45 Manufacturing processes and  2.47 Selection of materials

2.50 Smart materials and composites

CCEA GCSE Specification in Engineering and Manufacturing

3.2.2 Using materials, parts, components, tools, equipment and processes

3.3.1. • apply knowledge and understanding of mechanical properties of materials

  • interpret stress/strain graphs, explain and interpret the elastic limit;
  • understanding a range of finishing techniques and discuss issues around the disposal and recycling of materials

3.3.6 New and emerging technologies

 

CCEA GCSE Specification in Physics

1.2.13 investigate experimentally the extension of a spring and how it is related to the applied force (Hooke’s Law)

1.4.22 and 1.4.23: Heat transfer by conduction, convection and radiation

Thermal conduction (1.4.22) and how this relates to structure of the materials (1.4.23)

2.3 Electricity Conductors and insulators

 

Key Stage 5 (16 – 18 year olds)

Chemistry

1.5 Structure

  • describe giant ionic lattices the metallic lattices, giant covalent structures and molecular covalent structures (1.5.1)
  • explain the characteristic physical properties of these structures, including melting and boiling points, hardness and electrical conductivity in terms of structure and bonding (1.5.2)

 

5.10 Polymer chemistry

  • demonstrate understanding that condensation polymers are formed from molecules (5.10.1)
  • demonstrate understanding of the formation, structure and uses of PE and PET (5.10.2)
  • demonstrate understanding of the formation, structure and uses of nylon (5.10.3)

 

 

 

 

MSE Links to secondary school curriculum in Scotland

Source: SQA website – https://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/70972.html

N5

Chemistry

  • Chemical structure – the periodic table, atomic structure, ionic and covalent bonding.
  • Chemistry in society – Metallic bonding, reaction of metals, metal extraction, plastics.
  • Nature’s chemistry – Energy from fuels
  • Reporting experimental work

 

Physics

  • Dynamics – vectors, energy
  • Properties of matter – specific heat capacity, specific latent hear, gas laws and kinetic model • Waves – Electromagnetic spectrum and refraction of light
  • Radiation – nuclear radiation and the use of unites, prefixes and scientific notation!

 

Design and Manufacture

  • Materials selection based on their properties
  • Understanding and use of materials for structural elements
  • Carry out research and apply modelling techniques
  • Commercial manufacture skills

 

Engineering Science

  • Analysing engineering problems
  • Impacts of engineering – e.g. environmental
  • Structure and forces – tensile and compressive, stress and strain
  • Materials selection

 

 

 

MSE Links to secondary school curriculum in Wales

Source: https://hwb.gov.wales/curriculum-for-wales/science-and-technology/descriptions-of-learning/

Area of Learning and Experience: Science and Technology

 

Progression stage 4 (11 – 14 year olds)

Being curious and searching for answers is essential to understanding and predicting phenomena  

  • I can select relevant scientific knowledge from a range of evidence sources to evaluate claims presented as scientific facts.
  • I can review my own opinions based on new scientific evidence.

Design thinking and engineering offer technical and creative ways to meet society’s needs and wants

  • I can investigate, evaluate, select and combine component parts, materials or processes to improve the functionality and effectiveness of my outcomes.
  • I can use my making skills and knowledge of materials to produce high-quality and purposeful outcomes.

Matter and the way it behaves defines our universe and shapes our lives     I can describe and explain the properties of different types of matter and relate these to how they are used.

  • I can describe different types of chemical reactions, explain their uses and identify any effects of the products formed.
  • I can use my knowledge of chemical reactions to explain what happens when conditions are changed.
  • I can use different methods to analyse materials in order to understand their composition.
  • I can describe how various materials need different techniques in order to separate and refine them.

Forces and energy provide a foundation for understanding our universe

  • I can understand conservation of energy and can explain that energy is used at differing rates, and that this affects the power and efficiency of a system.
  • Through experiment, I can explore magnetic fields to investigate factors that affect their strength.
  • I can apply my understanding of the interaction of fields in order to explore uses of magnetism.

 

Progression stage 5 (14 – 16 year olds)

 

Being curious and searching for answers is essential to understanding and predicting phenomena.

  • I can link experimental findings and theoretical knowledge to draw valid conclusions.

 

Design thinking and engineering offer technical and creative ways to meet society’s needs and wants        I can independently select, justify and combine component parts, materials and processes to improve functionality and can evaluate their impact on the effectiveness of my outcomes.

  • I can independently select and apply low-fidelity and high-fidelity prototyping to test ideas, materials and structures.
  • I can use my making skills and knowledge of materials to produce high-quality and effective outcomes.

 

Matter and the way it behaves defines our universe and shapes our lives     I can use my knowledge of the atomic nature of matter to explain the structure and properties of materials and apply this to their uses.

  • I can explain how and why different types of chemical reactions occur and can describe them in atomic or molecular terms, as well as in quantitative terms.
  • I can understand how the products and effects of reactions can be managed and controlled.
  • I can use my knowledge and understanding of matter to explain how different techniques can be used to extract, refine and analyse materials for a variety of uses.