2 Lessons, 1 Tiny Concept: Intro to Nano

Required materials:

Lesson 1: scissors, pencil, crayon, eraser, pencil sharpener, index card, chalk, calculator, a doorknob (within classroom), roll of tape

Lesson 2: clear cups, antacid tablets, water


Lesson 1 focuses on how to measure at the nano scale and provides students with an understanding of how small a nanometer really is. Students learn about electron microscopes, participate in hands-on activities to measure common classroom objects in the metric scale, and then convert the result to nanometers.

Lesson 2 focuses on how materials behave differently as their surface area increases. Students will learn about nanotechnology and how engineers can harness the differences in how materials behave when small to solutions for challenges in many industries. 


Many craft, household or classroom items that you already have will work for this activity and can be reused multiple times. One class can use one of each item if students can exchange or trade them between groups as they work through their data collection from measuring the length (or diameter for the tape).

NGSS alignment:

1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)  2. Developing and using models  3. Planning and carrying out investigations 4. Analyzing and interpreting data 5. Using mathematics and computational thinking 6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering) 7. Engaging in argument from evidence 8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information