Lesson Plan


Introduction to Materials Science

Fabric and Textile Characteristics

Bob Stewart, Chemistry: Roberts Vaux High School

Vocabulary: Students are asked to use reference sources to develop a working definition of the following terms.

Fabric…Textile …Cellulose…Protein…Fibers …Cotton      


Background: Since man began to wear clothes there has been an interest in fabrics.

In this interactive discovery lesson students will explore the properties of various fabrics


1. To introduce students to experimental design in chemistry.

2. To improves students’ abilities in technical report writing.

3. To allow students opportunities to improve their observation skills.

4. To provide students with hands on a “real life” discovery laboratory.


Pennsylvania State Standards

This lesson is aligned with state standards:

3.2 A    Inquiry and design

3.2 C    Scientific Method 3.4A Physical Science, Chemistry & Technology

Specific Behavioral Objectives:

After completing this series of lessons, interactive “hands on, minds on activities” and readings, students will be able to:

1. Use the scientific method to design an inquiry based laboratory activity.

2. Use observation skills and techniques to compare and contrast results obtained from experimentation.

3. Follow oral and written directions when doing a lab activity.

4. Record, present and analyze data.

5. Derive at a conclusion based on the analysis of that data.


Laboratory Activity:
Fabric Characteristics

Materials: eye dropper, colored water, metric ruler, meter stick, scissors, various metric masses an assorted variety of threads and pieces of identifiable fabrics, ring stand, matches and thinking cap (Always were proper safety equipment) 


Procedure: (Develop an experimental method to determine responses)

1.  Blotting : How do various fabrics respond to stains?

Suggestion: Cut various fabrics into squares of the same size. Lay them out flat on a smooth nonporous surface. Use an eye dropper to drop two drops of water on the center of the material. Wait until the liquid has stopped spreading

Record your observations.

Then use a metric ruler to measure the total area of the stain. (Repeat)

2.  Flammability:

How do various fabrics respond to fire? Suggestion: (Under a hood) Place a piece of fabric in a crucible and carefully ignite it. Record your observations. (Repeat)

3. Strength. How strong are various fabrics? Suggestion: For this investigation lets use thread. Get a ring stand, tie a known length of thread to the ring, tie various masses to the free hanging end, record the mass at which the thread breaks. (Repeat)

4. What else do we want to test for?

 Laboratory  write up. Extended reading and writing activity:

1. Make a table of the results for the various fabrics investigated.

2. Write a narrative of your observations and the results of your investigations.

3. Determine a conclusion or recommendation using your observations and results comparing and contrasting the various fabrics investigated.


Assessment and Evaluation

  •        Students will be assessed on how well they follow directions and adhere to safety regulations.
  •     Students’ notebooks will be evaluated using a rubric created by students and the instructor. The rubric will address the creation of the data table. The completeness of the observation summary and a defendable conclusion.




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