In our increasingly digitized and safety conscious society, we tend to shield our children form real contacts with the material world and tend to steer them to increasingly virtual experiences. Appliances are not repaired but replaced. So do materials used in everyday life. As a consequence, we cannot assume experiences with materials which were a given in the past. We will concentrate on both K-12 and Undergraduate education with examples of the necessity of consciously encountering "materials" in our increasingly digital society, and how students can be taught to realize the properties and necessity of consciously encountering materials. We will draw our examples from the lack of that experience students bring to undergraduate research, and how that deficiency can be remedied.