Submarine Lesson 4 - How do you choose materials for a submarine?

This lesson explores submarine design and considers the materials used and their properties. Students make choices about suitable materials for their design

Years: 3, 4, 5, 6

Duration: 60mins

Curriculum Objectives: 15

Subject: Science

Resource Overview

Submarine STEM 7-11 delivers a comprehensive scheme of work covering Materials, Forces and Living things and develops students’ ability to work scientifically. The unit is based on the exploratory submersible journeys undertaken as part of the XL Catlin Deep Ocean Survey off Bermuda, the Sargasso Sea (between Bermuda and Canada) and off Canada’s east coast. Using exclusive galleries, videos and online 360 VR technology students are fully immersed in the deep ocean. Students will understand the scale and depth of the ocean, explore and investigate the creatures which inhabit this inhospitable environment and consider how forces and materials are integral to submersible design. Throughout the unit students plan, carry out and evaluate scientific investigations, culminating in an exciting DT challenge.

Thank you to EncounterEdu for allowing us to share this resource.

Resource Assets


How do you choose materials for a submarine? PowerPoint

Students are encouraged to think about which materials are most suitable for submersible construction, the properties of materials and where you have seen them used in real life.


Materials Cards - Student Sheet 4a

Students study the properties of a range of materials and decide which would be suitable or unsuitable for a submersible.


My Submersible Materials - Students Sheet 4b

Students design their own submersible and label the materials they would use. They must justify your choices.


Salt Water Investigations - Student Sheet 4c

Recording sheet to guide students through their fair test.


How do you choose materials for a submarine? Teacher Guidance

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.

Curriculum Objectives

  • Year 3 (Age 7-8)
    • Compare and group together a variety of everyday materials on the basis of whether they are attracted to a magnet, and identify some magnetic materials
  • Year 4 (Age 8-9)
    • Compare and group materials together, according to whether they are solids, liquids or gases.
  • Year 5 (Age 9-10)
    • Compare and group together everyday materials on the basis of their properties, including their hardness, solubility, transparency, conductivity (electrical and thermal), and response to magnets
  • Key Stage 2 (Age 7-11)
    • Key Stage 2 (Age 7-11)
      • Year 4 (Age 8-9)
        • Year 3 (Age 7-8)
          • Make systematic and careful observations and, where appropriate, take accurate measurements using standard units, using a range of equipment, including thermometers and data loggers
          • Record findings using simple scientific language, drawings, labelled diagrams, keys, bar charts, and tables
          • Report on findings from enquiries, including oral and written explanations, displays or presentations of results and conclusions
          • Set up simple practical enquiries, comparative and fair tests
      • Year 6 (Age 10-11)
        • Year 5 (Age 9-10)
          • Record data and results of increasing complexity using scientific diagrams and labels, classification keys, tables, scatter graphs, bar and line graphs
          • Report and present findings from enquiries, including conclusions, causal relationships and explanations of and degree of trust in results, in oral and written forms such as displays and other presentations