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    Cornell Center for Materials Research

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In this activity, learners explore how composites work by creating and testing their own composite for an imaginary company. This activity shows learners that composites are simply materials that are made up of two or more visibly distinct substances. Use this activity to talk about how composites are everywhere in our lives. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
4 to 24 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per student)

  • Safety Glasses
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Waxed milk carton side
  • Mold pattern
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Paper cups
  • Stirring sticks
  • Reinforcement materials


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Mechanical Engineering
      • Metallurgy and Materials Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • States of Matter
      • Solids
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Atomic Structure
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All Rights Reserved, Cornell Center for Materials Research Educational Programs, ©2003

Funding Sources:

  • NSF Grant DMR, 1120296
  • NSF Grant DMR, 0079992


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