Lesson 6: Unique properties of the nanoscale


  • To examine how properties change with size.
  • To develop and understand scientific models that explain unique properties at the nanoscale.

Synopsis of Lesson:

A short video clip is used as the hook for the lesson. The clip highlights the "strange properties" that happen at the nanoscale. In this lesson, students explore how properties change with size through a series of experiments. The students work in small groups to answer questions about what they observe. After completing the experiments, the teacher leads a discussion in which the class generalizes the findings of the activities. Analytical reasoning will be used to develop explanations for why these effects occur. Direct instruction on the unique properties of the nanoscale and the models that explain behaviors ends in analysis of a graphic organizer that displays the key ideas of this lesson.


1. Alka-seltzer activity (eg. http://alkaseltzer.com/as/student_experiment2.html) Suggestion: Modify Alka-Seltzer activity to use a balloon to cover the top of the container and measure how much gas is produced and how fast.
2. Sodium polyacrylate activity. http://www.teachersource.com/product/sodium-polyacrylate-diaper-polymer/chemistry

  • small particles
  • Large particles
3. Ferrofluid activity

4. Online videogame (http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/antenna/nano/nanoland/nanoworld.asp)

Concept Map:



Scale Diagram:



Website by Lori Andersen, 2012