Properties of Materials
China is strong, waterproof and a good thermal insulator making it a good material for a teacup.

Properties of Materials

Certain words need to be added to a child's vocabulary in order for them to understand the world. This KS2 Science quiz helps to clarify the meanings of some words used when describing the different properties of materials such as 'opaque', 'translucent', 'flexible' or 'brittle'.

Properties of materials are characteristics of matter. There are certain words used for describing them and you need them in your vocabulary. The properties of different materials make them useful for different purposes. Although it floats, cork would not be a very good choice of material if you wished to build an ocean-going ship. And, although it's very shiny, painting your wall with some gloss paint would not make a good mirror.

Does your vocabulary include the words that describe the properties of materials? See how well you understand their meanings by taking this science quiz.

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  1. Plasticine can be easily moulded or squashed into different shapes. What do we call this property?
    If a material is malleable, its shape can be changed easily
  2. Which properties of china make it a good material for a teacup?
    If china were a good thermal conductor, you would seriously burn your hands by holding a hot cup of tea
  3. What do we call a material which is not at all bendy?
    The same material can be flexible or rigid - a copper kettle would be rigid, while copper wiring is very flexible
  4. Why is copper used for electrical wiring?
    There are lots of reasons we use copper in our electric wires rather than other materials
  5. If light cannot pass through a material, which property does that material have?
    Translucent materials may be coloured but you can still see dim shapes through them, like stained glass. Transparent materials are completely see-through, like plain glass
  6. What is the opposite of elasticity?
    Something that is very hard and will break rather than bend is described as 'brittle'
  7. What is the opposite of waterproof?
    Absorbent materials will soak up liquids whilst waterproof materials will not
  8. What does 'property' mean when discussing materials?
    A material's properties might include hardness, flexibility, strength, shininess, softness, etc.
  9. Which of these materials shows great elasticity?
    Elasticity is a measure of how well a material returns to its original shape and size after being stretched or compressed
  10. A real 50p coin is heavier than a toy plastic 50p coin. Materials that are heavier than objects of the same size are more what?
    The mass of an object compared to its size is described as its density

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