Free Downloadable Lessons | The American Ceramic Society

Free Downloadable Lessons


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

1.  Hot 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.


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.

We are pleased to provide some additional lessons for your use in the classroom:

Lessons Using Liquid Nitrogen — Three lessons are designed for those teachers who are able to obtain liquid nitrogen.
1. Fun with Liquid Nitrogen
2. Superconductivity
3. Cold and Hot Processing of Materials

Lessons on Ceramics Concepts — Three lessons are designed specifically to introduce
students to the concepts of ceramic structure, processing, and properties.
1. The Building Blocks of Ceramics
2. Sintering: Grain Boundaries, Interfaces, and Porosity
3. Slip Casting


Click here to download the lessons.