Resource ID 101071

Lower KS2 Science

Properties and Changes of Materials
"The Power of Steam"
Key Stage ED Squirrel
Resource Title
"The Power of Steam"

Students can explore the steam elements of the locomotive and how the water changes into steam, identifying the basic elements of the process. They can see the water being added at the station, witness the coal fire being stoked, and the resultant expansion of the steam being harnessed to provide traction.

Contextual Summary

This resource is for lower key stage 2 students as an introduction to how materials change in the railway environment. The resource links to upper/lower key stage 2 topics relating to the states of matter and how matter changes when heated, etc.

Key Skills Practised
  • Understanding the properties of materials and how they change
  • How forces are created using heat
  • How energy is created
Learning Opportunities


Students could learn the basics of heating and cooling, and the effects of these on materials, to allow them to engage with the resource at Isle of Wight Steam Railway.


Completion of Science lower key stage 2 States of Matter/Changing Materials at Isle of Wight Steam Railway resource linked to this document


Follow-up tasks could include: Class discussion, Q&A etc. of how they saw the water become steam, and how they think this powered the train; Completion of labelled diagrams, PowerPoint slides, or animations showing these examples; Finding other examples of where water becomes steam in the everyday world

Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of how water is converted into steam through burning fuel, and then harnessed to move the locomotive and train at Isle of Wight Steam Railway. They will be able to understand that steam trains need water, fuel and fire to be able to move, and that this is a complex process.

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