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Material Magic    Mystery 1

Mystery 1 image

In this Mystery, students explore the different properties of materials used for clothing. In the activity, students select materials they need to construct a hat that protects them from the sun.

Why do we wear clothes?

Beginning Exploration (1 of 7)
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Beginning Exploration (2 of 7)

Discuss:

Why do people wear clothes? How many reasons can you come up with?

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Beginning Exploration (3 of 7)
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Beginning Exploration (4 of 7)

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Beginning Exploration (5 of 7)

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Beginning Exploration (6 of 7)
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Beginning Exploration (7 of 7)

Discuss:

What kind of hat do you think you need?

What properties will your hat need to have?

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Beginning Activity: Mad Hatter
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Mad Hatter

In this activity, students investigate the properties (texture, flexibility, and absorbency) of different materials. Using this information, students design and build their own hats.

Number of students:
Aluminum Foil
9" per student
Clothespins
2 clothespins per student
Paper Cups (8 oz)
1 cup per group
Paper Lunch Bags
1 bag per student
Paper Plates (9")
1 plate per student
Paper Towels
1 sheet per student
Plastic Spoons
2 spoons per group
Thin String
3 feet per student
Hand-Held Mirror (Optional)
1 mirror per 8 students. So students can see their hats as they work on them.
Details Hide details
Hat Inspiration printout 1 per group
Mad Hatter’s printout 1 per student

Prep instructions

You will need access to water for this activity.

Prepare Supplies

  • Cut a 3-foot length of string/yarn/ribbon for each student.
  • Tear off a 9” piece of aluminum foil for each student.
  • Fill each cup about halfway with water.


Engineering Teacher Tip

We created the Hat Inspiration printouts for students who are stumped and frustrated by the task of making a hat. We suggest letting students try building on their own first, then providing these Inspiration Sheets only to those who may need additional help.

Beginning Activity: Mad Hatter
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Beginning Activity: Mad Hatter
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Beginning Activity: Mad Hatter
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Beginning Activity: Mad Hatter
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Beginning Activity: Mad Hatter
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Beginning Activity: Mad Hatter
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Beginning Activity: Mad Hatter
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Beginning Activity: Mad Hatter
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Beginning Activity: Mad Hatter
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Beginning Complete!

You've completed the Exploration & Activity!

If you have more time, view the assessment, reading and extension activity in the optional extras.

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Optional Extras

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the activity & exploration which you just completed.

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Readings:

These readings are free with registration on ReadWorks, a nonprofit committed to providing teachers with research-proven, Common-Core aligned readings. All readings include comprehension questions.

  • T-Shirts and Shorts includes four readings to help students get ready for Grade 3.
  • The Silk Mystery describes the properties of spider silk and scientists’ efforts to duplicate this natural material.
  • A Playground Problem introduces modeling, an important concept in science, and describes building a playground with recycled materials.
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Online Simulations

Exploring the properties of materials with simulations doesn't substitute for hands-on experiments, but it can help reinforce & expand students' knowledge.

  • Characteristics of materials: Students test whether materials are flexible, waterproof, transparent, and strong. Then they apply this knowledge in a simulated workshop where they make car tires, saucepans, and windows. Students can also experiment and see what happens when you make these objects using the wrong materials!
  • Tinkerball: Students experiment with different materials to get a bouncing ball to land in a cup.
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Image & Video Credits

Mystery Science respects the intellectual property rights of the owners of visual assets. We make every effort to use images and videos under appropriate licenses from the owner or by reaching out to the owner to get explicit permission. If you are the owner of a visual and believe we are using it without permission, please contact us—we will reply promptly and make things right.

Exploration
boat by zeesenboot , used under CC BY
shag rocks by David Stanley , used under CC BY
jump by Eric Benacek , used under CC BY-SA
private island by Christopher Michel , used under CC BY
Mission Beach by Paul Toogood , used under CC BY
running towards water by Beshef , used under CC BY
bug by U.S. Department of Agriculture , used under CC BY
rain drops by Praveen , used under CC BY
snowflake by Saperaud
sun by Sam Bald , used under CC BY
jacket by Universal Textiles , used under CC BY
long sleeve shirt by Harley-Davidson , used under CC BY
rain coat by H&M , used under CC BY
wool sweater by Joan Rocaguinard , used under CC BY-SA
wool coat by ABADAY , used under CC BY
man in desert by Ammar Hassan , used under CC BY
cotton by H2O-C
t-shirt by Wikimedia Shop , used under CC BY-SA
armor by dewey_decimals , used under CC BY-SA
frying pan by FiveRings
sun in sky by Karen Roe , used under CC BY
kid looking at ocean by Donnie Ray Jones , used under CC BY
baseball cap by TexasRebel
kid by Tri Nguyen , used under CC BY
skateboarding by Makia Minich , used under CC BY-SA
helmet by Quant , used under CC BY-SA
cowboy by Moyan Brenn on Flickr , used under CC BY
cowboy hat by Hans Braxmeier
pioneer girl by Don Graham , used under CC BY-SA
young boy by Tribes of the World , used under CC BY-SA
bonnet by Heritage Costume , used under CC BY
headdress by Party Superstore , used under CC BY
Activity
desert hat by Craghoppers , used under CC BY
umbrella hat by Sourcing Map , used under CC BY
aluminium foil by Lewis Ronald , used under CC BY-SA
paper bag by Denna Jones , used under CC BY
sand by Chris Oatley , used under CC BY
pencil by Charm