Alien encounters

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By Kathy Alcock

Introduce lower juniors to the characteristics of materials with a little help from some friends who are out of this world

Alien encounters

The National Curriculum states that children should ‘compare everyday materials and objects on the basis of their material properties’, and that they ‘should relate these properties to everyday uses of the materials’. Although this is not a difficult concept for children to understand, it can appear less interesting than other science topics. Using the scenario of aliens landing on Earth is a great way to liven materials work and to encourage children to think creatively. Explain to children that aliens have crash-landed on Earth and need help returning to their home planet. Tell them that their spaceship was damaged in the landing and – as Earth doesn’t have the same materials as their home planet – the aliens need to find materials with specific characteristics and properties that can be substituted for their own resources. The following activities are based around the aliens’ story, and the idea could also be used to incorporate materials work with other subjects such as literacy, art and design, numeracy.

Ages 7-9

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