The Making Materials Matter Outreach Project

About the project

MMM Student Conference 2018The Making Materials Matter Project was launched in 2017. For this pilot year it ran as a joint venture between Oxford Materials and Cambridge Materials with much appreciated support from The Worshipful Company of Ironmongers. In 2018 we are delighted to have Imperial College Materials joining the pilot group.

The project engages with Yr8 students and teachers of science from five UK state schools with the aims of enriching the science curriculum, increasing awareness of Materials Science and supporting teachers in raising aspirations and inspiring their students to pursue further study of the physical sciences.  Some teacher resources are available below.

Making Materials Matter is centred on a Student Extended Investigation which culminates in both a Student Conference and a separate Science Teachers’ Conference.

MMM Student Conference 2018The student investigations are designed and supported jointly by Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial Materials to draw links between the school curriculum and cutting-edge materials science. Students work in small groups to carry out their investigation over a six-month period with remote support offered by our university student ambassadors. This concludes with findings from their projects being presented at a student conference in Oxford. The inaugural student conference was held in May 2017 and was generously hosted by St John’s College, Oxford, with further support from Mansfield, St Anne’s and St Catherine’s Colleges.

The science teachers’ conference is informed by the outcomes of the student investigations and makes available all resources developed. The inaugural Science Teachers Conference was generously hosted by the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers at Ironmongers’ Hall in London. Plenary and keynote talks were given respectively by Professor Mark Miodownik of University College London and Professor Becky Parker of The Institute for Research in Schools. In 2018, in addition the conference will include CPD workshops enabling teachers to link curriculum content to materials science as well as enhancing networking opportunities.

Find out what the students, teachers and ambassadors thought about the first year of the project by watching the video clip below:


Making Materials Matter 2018 Teachers Conference
Friday 13th July 2018.

Please register your interest using the form on the Teacher Events webpage.

Illuminating RachelAn exciting conference with opportunities to network with colleagues and learn more about the subject of Materials Science, where it fits into the current curricular and the importance of science enrichment opportunities. The conference funded by The Company of Ironmongers and held at the Ironmongers Hall in London concludes a 6-month KS3 materials science project run collaboratively by Oxford & Cambridge Universities and Imperial College London. All resources developed from the project will be made freely available to teachers, enabling them to link curriculum content to materials science. Conference speakers include Professor Louise Archer, who will be delivering the education plenary on her important research on science capital and Dr Rachel Oliver who will be delivering the materials science plenary, ‘Illuminating Materials.’


Making Materials Matter 2017 Teachers Conference
A report on the conference held at Ironmonger’s Hall on 17th May 2017

An exciting conference which provided opportunities to network with colleagues and learn more about the subject of Materials Science. The conference was funded by The Ironmongers Company and concludes a 3-month KS3 Materials Science project run collaboratively by Oxford & Cambridge Universities. The day included talks on Materials Science linked to the curriculum, discussion of the project going forward and mini-presentations from students involved in the project. Resources for use by teachers of science were developed and discussed.

Teaching Resources

 Here are some resource sheets outlining some practical investigations of materials.

Plenary Talk "Stuff Matters" Prof Mark Miodownik

Mark looking at stuff Mark Miodownik is Director of Institute of Making at UCL where he teaches and runs a research group. He received his Ph.D in turbine jet engine alloys from Oxford University in 1996 and since then has published more than 100 research papers. His current research interests are animate materials, innovative manufacturing, and sensoaesthetic materials. For more than ten years he has championed materials research that links the arts and humanities to medicine, engineering and materials science. This culminated in the establishment of the UCL Institute of Making where he is Director and runs the research programme. Prof Miodownik is a well known author and broadcaster. He regularly presents BBC TV programmes on engineering which have reached millions of viewers in more than 200 countries. In 2013 he was awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering Rooke Medal, and he was elected a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2014. He is author of Stuff Matters, a New York Times Best Selling book, which won the Royal Society Winton Prize in 2014 and the US National Academies Communication Award in 2015. In 2016 he was awarded the American Association for the Advancement of Science Prize for Public Engagement with Science.

Research in Schools - Prof Becky Parker

Prof Becky Parker After a physics degree and research at the University of Chicago, Becky taught in a variety of schools. She is now Director of the Institute for Research in Schools. IRIS supports school students and teachers getting involved in authentic research through a wide range of research projects. Becky has received Honorary Fellowship of the Institute of Physics and the Kavli Education Medal from the Royal Society.