How do you choose materials for a submarine?

Lesson overview

This lesson discusses the properties of materials and their use in submersible design. Students will compare a variety of materials for their submersible and justify their choices. An investigation into how salt water affects materials allows pupils to make predictions, write conclusions and conduct a fair test.

Learning outcomes

  • Discuss the properties of materials
  • Compare and group materials based on their properties
  • Give reasons for the uses of materials
  • Explain the suitability of materials for certain uses
  • Make predictions about how salt-water affects materials

Lesson steps

  1. History of submarines (10 mins)
    Students explore historical designs of submarines and discuss the pros and cons of each design and its material construction.
  2. Choosing materials (10 mins)
    Students are guided through
    the design process and make suggestions for what each element of the submersible could be constructed from.
  3. Comparing materials (10 mins)
    Students study the properties of a range of materials and decide which would be suitable or unsuitable for a submersible.
  4. Submersible design (15 mins)
    Using prior learning about submersible shapes, students make a rudimentary design and specify which materials parts of the structure would be made from.
  5. Salt water experiment (15 mins)
    Students make predictions about how submersion in salt water will affect different materials.