@MrsPramm - I actually think it's better to have that kind of attitude towards those topics, to call them a science and to encourage investigation into the materials rather than just giving kids busy-work projects to do that don't have any kind of innovation or real learning of skills.
I remember when I was at high school we basically all made the same bookends and the teacher did all the difficult things for us, rather than teaching us how to do them ourselves.
But I've visited a high school with a modern program a couple of years ago and it was amazing how much the students could do. They were making everything from clay items to candles to clocks and so forth, and doing it essentially without help.
Besides material science is something we want young people to be inspired by, since they are the ones who are going to be making all of our objects in the future.