Modern Materials Learning Resources

All | Chemistry | Design & Technology | Science | 11-16

Learning Objectives

  1. Understand how material properties can be improved by combining two or more materials.
  2. Identify a range of composite materials and technical textiles.
  3. Understand how fibres can be manipulated to create technical textiles.

Lesson Description

Through the exciting context of the British challenge for the America’s Cup  supported by the Lloyd’s Register Foundation archives, this modern materials teaching resource explores composite and nano materials for GCSE and KS3 Design Technology and Engineering as well as supporting the nanoparticles element of the science curriculum. In addition to the teaching presentation, video and worksheets there is a practical demonstration idea for you to amaze your students by creating glass fibre in front of their eyes.



For immediate access to all of our free Key stage 3 and 4 STEM teaching resources.

1.Main Video

Learn about the modern materials used in the building of an America’s Cup boat and how composites are vital for building faster boats.

2.Modern Materials Presentation Editable presentation using the context of INEOS TEAM UK and Lloyds Register Archives to cover composites and nano materials.
3.Modern Materials - making glass fibre lab sheet Guide your students through creating glass fibre and seeing first hand how an apparently rigid and brittle glass rod can become flexible when stretched thinly enough.
5.STEM Behind the scenes at INEOS TEAM UK

Find out all about how INEOS TEAM UK are using the STEM subjects in their bid to win the 36th America’s Cup

6.Teach with confidence


KS3 Design Technology

Subject content

Students  should work in a range of domestic and local contexts (for example; the home, health, leisure and culture), and industrial contexts (for example; engineering and manufacturing).

Technical knowledge

  • Understand and use the properties of materials and the performance of structural elements to achieve functioning solutions.


  • Select from and use a wider, more complex range of materials, components and ingredients, taking into account their properties.


  • Investigate new and emerging technologies.
  • Understand developments in Design and Technology, its impact on individuals, society and the environment, and the responsibilities of designers, engineers and technologists.

KS3 Science

Scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding

Teachers will wish to use different contexts to maximise their pupils’ engagement with and motivation to study Science.


  • Properties of ceramics, polymers and composites (qualitative).


  • Understand and use SI units and IUPAC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry) chemical nomenclature.


Resistant materials and textiles


Pupils should be given opportunities to develop their Design and Technology capability through:

  • Activities in which they investigate, analyse and evaluate products in order to acquire technological and health and safety knowledge and understanding that can be applied in their designing and making.
  • Activities in which they learn about the responsible use of materials considering issues of sustainability.
  • Learn about the properties and characteristics of materials and apply this knowledge and understanding when designing and making products.
  • Undertake materials testing, to determine suitability for intended use.
  • Combine and process materials in order to create enhanced properties and desired aesthetic characteristics.
  • Be aware of current developments in materials technology, e.g. ‘smart’ materials.
  • Consider issues of sustainability when choosing and using materials.


Chemical and material behaviour

The properties of a material determine its uses


Pupils should have particular regard to:

  • Scientific enquiry.
  • Scientific and technological developments, their benefits, drawbacks and risks.
  • Ethical, social, economic and environmental issues and their interaction with science.



Materials: exploring the properties of different substances and how they can be changed to develop their understanding of the connection between structure and properties, exploring the development of new substances which have useful properties


All, Chemistry, Design & Technology, Science

Key Stage


Resource For

Students, Teachers


Film, Practical Investigation, Teacher Presentation, Worksheets
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