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Materials Science Classroom Kits


About the Kits


Kit Refill Supplies Are Now Available!  See below!


Middle- and high school teachers from across the country are discovering what a fantastic teaching tool the Materials Science Classroom Kit is! Fun, hands-on lessons and labs introduce students to materials science, while encouraging them to consider careers in the ceramic and glass industry. 


The current kit is a revamped version of the kits developed several years ago by the ACerS President’s Council of Student Advisors.  Based on the success of our Teacher Demonstration Kit and Student Laboratory science-kit-picture-cropped-123Kit, the revamped Materials Science Classroom Kit brings the magic of materials science to 7th through 12th grade classrooms. Utilizing feedback from teachers and other users, we selected the best demonstrations and interactive labs for inclusion into one convenient kit that provides an introduction to the basic classes of materials — ceramics, composites, metals, and polymers.



In addition, the popular book, The Magic of Ceramics, accompanies the kit and  introduces the nontechnical reader to the many exciting applications of ceramics while teaching key scientific concepts.


Included in each kit:

  • Most materials needed for 9 demonstrations and lab activities for multiple uses.

  • The Teacher’s Manual, an illustrated guide that includes background information, learning objectives, keywords, materials lists, safety precautions, detailed instructions, demo delivery hints, teacher discussion questions, student question handouts, and sample data sheets.

  • A thumb drive that contains an introductory PowerPoint presentation, an electronic version of the Teacher’s Manual, and instructional videos for each demonstration and lab activity.

Purchase a Kit


SHIPPING NOTE: Kit prices include the cost of shipping within the United States. There are additional shipping costs for orders to be shipped outside the United States, including Canada and Mexico. If you are located outside the United States and want to purchase a Materials Science Classroom Kit, please contact Belinda Raines for a shipping quote.

Teacher demonstrations in the kit

 The kit contains 5 lessons that are designed for the teacher to perform with assistance from students. Demo lessons included:


1Hot or Not:  a ceramics demo that illustrates that materials can be designed to withstand very high temperatures by using a ceramic refractory brick to simulate the behavior of a space shuttle tile as it passes through Earth’s atmosphere.


2.  Candy Fiber Pull:  a ceramics demo that demonstrates the unique properties of glass by examining the solid-liquid and liquid-solid transitions of a glass-like system by melting and cooling Jolly Ranchers.


3.  Piezoelectric Materials:  a general demo that demonstrates the piezoelectric effect that many materials exhibit by examining a piezoelectric ceramic disk and polymer film.


4.  Shape Memory Alloys: a metals demo that indicates how motion of atoms under added heat can change the shape of metals by subjecting a shape memory alloy wire and a typical metal wire to thermal treatments.


5.  Thermal Shock: a glass lesson that demonstrates the two most important properties that determine resistance to thermal shock in glass.


Student lab activities in the kit

 The kit contains 4 lessons that are designed for students to perform in small groups. Lab lessons included:

1.  Glass Bead on a Wire: a ceramics lab that demonstrates that glass can be a “phase of matter” rather than a particular material and examines the ability of glasses to absorb other ions during thermal treatment by having students perform a borax bead test.

2.  Engineered Concrete:  a composites lab that demonstrates how preparation (design) of a material can affect the final material properties by having students “engineer” a plain Portland cement paste and a cement paste containing a reinforcement item of their choice.

3.  Thermal Processing of Bobby Pins:  a metals lab that demonstrates the difference that processing, especially thermal processing, can have on the properties of a material by having students anneal and quench bobby pins and test them in flexure against a control bobby pin.

4.  How Strong is Your Chocolate?: a general lab that demonstrates how material properties, such as microstructure, can influence the strength of a material by having students test the ‘strength’ of different types of chocolate bars.


Download this summary of lessons from the Materials Science Classroom Kit and their inclusion of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This document breaks down each of our downloadable materials science lessons  in terms of the NGSS standards and provides a short description of how each applicable standard could be applied to the lesson.


The cost to purchase a Materials Science Classroom Kit with The Magic of Ceramics book is only $250.


NOW AVAILABLE: Replacement Supplies!

We are pleased to make available replacement supplies for most of the consumable items in the Materials Science Classroom Kit.  Click here for more information!

Donate a Kit to a Local School

To reduce costs for teachers and to promote materials science in your area, Individual and Corporate Members are encouraged to sponsor Materials Science Classroom Kits for local schools for only $250 each. The recipient school will be notified of the donor’s generosity; for multiple kit sponsorships, the corporate sponsor’s name and logo will be added to the kit packaging so that schools receiving the kits will be reminded of the sponsor’s donation.  Click on one of the links above to sponsor a kit for a science classroom near you!

Download Materials Science Lessons for FREE

The nine lessons contained in the kit, plus an additional six lessons, are available to download for free, if a lab is already equipped with the necessary components and supplies needed to perform the experiments. Three lessons requiring liquid nitrogen are available as part of the free downloadable lessons for any teachers who are able to obtain their own liquid nitrogen.  

Study Guides for The Magic of Ceramics

Study Guides are available for each chapter of The Magic of Ceramics, the book that is included with each Materials Science Classroom Kit. Click here for more information.

Why Offer Materials Science Classroom Kits?

ACerS believes that this resource will facilitate learning and inspire students to pursue STEM-related careers. Advances in materials frequently enable new technologies, and we want to foster the development of well-qualified young adults to secure the future of the field. This is the reason we are providing all of the information for free and the hardware and materials at minimized cost.


Click here for the Material Safety Data Sheet for Refractory Bricks.

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