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Home Groups Nano for Elementary and Middle School Overview
  • Discoverability Visible
  • Join Policy Open/Anyone
  • Created 15 Jan 2014

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This community is a place to share information on teaching nanoscience to younger students, from kindergarten through 8th grade. Resources on nanoHUB will be highlighted, along with links to good material outside nanoHUB.

Within this group, community members can communicate with one another via the forum. This may be a good place to talk about particular lesson plans or ways to approach certain concepts, for example.

You can post notices for events on the group calendar and collaborate on projects with other members. You can also collect and share items using collections.  You can add to the group collection as well as create your own personal collections.

This group contains the following:

Link to K8 Activities    Link to Simulation Tools


Scale Cards Activity

Center for Probing the Nanoscale, Stanford University (2014)

These cards can be used in various ways to help students learn about size and scale.  To address the focus on argumentation in the Common Core on Science Literacy, some teachers have had students compare and defend their object placements.  Some have also distributed one object card per student and had the students arrange themselves in a line of ascending size by discussing their objects with each other. Other teachers have used the cards in a Pokemon-like trading game where larger (or smaller) objects are more “powerful”.

Using nanoHUB to Introduce Elementary and Middle School Students to Models and Simulations

Purdue University (2014) 
Instructions for an activity that combines the use of physical models and the Crystal Viewer Simulation tool to make models and simulations of carbon nanostructures including graphene, buckyballs, and carbon nanotubes more accessible to middle school students.

What is nanoscience?

NEATEC and Trinity College Module 1
NEATEC Learning Modules include topics on Nanotechnology, Semiconductors, Photovoltaic, Alternate Energy, Mathematics, General Science and Technology.

Nanotechnology in Biology

By Elizabeth Gardner

University of Texas at El Paso

Developed for junior high school students, the presentation begins with an introduction to the nanoscale and the importance of nanotechnology. This is followed by several exercises focused on manipulating matter on the nanoscale.


NEATEC and Trinity College Module 2
NEATEC Learning Modules include topics on Nanotechnology, Semiconductors, Photovoltaic, Alternate Energy, Mathematics, General Science and Technology.

Thin Films

NEATEC and Trinity College Module
In this activity students will learn the correlation between color wavelengths and measurement. They will effectively learn how to solve real-world and mathematical problems involving volume of spheres.

K-12— Introduction to Quantum Wells

Taught by David Beck and Mark M Budnik
A lesson plan for a 20-30 minute exercise for 4th and 5th grade Gifted and Talented students to explore the concept of quantum wells.


 Simulation Tools

Molecular Workbench— An Interface to the Molecular World

By Charles Xie
The Molecular Workbench software is a free, open-source modeling and authoring program specifically designed for use in science education. Powered by a set of real-time molecular simulation engines that compute and visualize the motion of particles interacting through force fields, in both 2D and 3D, it provides a simulation platform for teaching and learning science through atomic-scale reasoning. Many important concepts in physics, chemistry and biology that are otherwise too abstract to understand can be visualized with dynamical and interactive simulations. You can also find out some existing activities at the MOLO and MOLIT curriculum databases.

Crystal Viewer Tool

By Saumitra Raj Mehrotra1, Michael Povolotskyi1Sebastian Steiger1Tillmann Christoph Kubis1Abhijeet Paul1,Xingshu Sun1Victoria Savikhin1Gerhard Klimeck1

This tool can be used to create beautiful visualizations of carbon nanostructures such as a bucky ball, graphene sheets, and various types of carbon nanotube.  It can create visualizations of many other crystal structures as well.  Some of the activities listed below use this simulation tool.

Instructions for making carbon nanostructure models using crystal viewer tool

These are step-by-step instructions for creating simulations of carbon nanostructures like bucky balls, carbon nanotubes and graphene sheets.

CNT Bands

By Gyungseon Seol1Youngki Yoon1James K Fodor1Jing Guo1Akira Matsudaira2Diego Kienle2Gengchiau Liang2Gerhard Klimeck2Mark Lundstrom2Ahmed Ibrahim Saeed3

This tool can be used to create visualizations of graphene sheets and carbon nanotubes. It also simulates the band diagrams and band gap energies, which determine which structures are metallic and which are semiconducting, making the conceptual connection between structure and function that is fundamental to materials science.  The ability to relate properties to structure makes this simulation tool useful for for design challenges.


Introduction to Nanotechnology – An “Elementary” Education Program

By Mark Budnik
Valparaiso University
In this paper, we present how our community’s public school system and our college of engineering collaboratively developed and implemented a program on Nanotechnology for a group of forty 9-11 year olds on a completely self-sustaining basis.

Introduction to Nanotechnology— Implementation of a Cooperative Program for Gifted and Talented Elementary School Children

By Mark Budnik
Valparaiso University
In this paper, we present how our community’s public school system and our college of engineering collaboratively developed and implemented a program on Nanotechnology for a group of forty 9-11 year olds on a completely self-sustaining basis. The program’s objectives and outcomes are aligned with our state’s Core Science and Academic Standards. Modest student fees (US $30 per child) cover the training and salary for undergraduate students to serve as instructors, as well as the salary for the K-12 teachers/mentors to be present as additional support during the sessions. After completing the program, the children met over 90% of the objectives.

Building Capacity for Nano Education and Outreach through Partnerships with Science Museums— Overview and Case Study

Northwestern University (2009) 
Taught by Carol Lynn Alpert, and NCLT
Selected Topics: NISE network, background and theory behind museum-research collaborations and activities, informal science education, evaluation, NSF broader impacts, partnerships, NISE Network resources, collaborative efforts.

Dragonfly TV Nano – Using the Power of Television to Introduce Middle School Children to Nanotechnology

“DragonflyTV Nano” is the first television science series to explore this challenging subject area. Based in recent research into how to teach basic concepts in nanoscience at the middle-school level, the series follows a designed scope and sequence.

Links to Nano Episodes of Dragonfly TV


Additional Middle School Resources for Nanoscience on the Web

Dragonfly TV nano

Dragonfly TV Nano is a show developed by PBS that shows middle school students engage in inquiry to learn about nanoscalescience and technology. The students explore, ask questions, visit science museums and talk to graduate students and professors doing nanoscale research. In addition to the videos, there are activities and other material available in the teacher’s guide. This program starts from the beginning—what is nano and why is it important? All the way through exploring some of the environmental concerns that may be remediated by nanotechnology, and some issues we should be aware of when considering the risks and benefits of nanotechnology.

DragonFly TV Nano Teacher’s Guide

A resource for teachers that includes show descriptions and downloadable educator guides.

Nano Nerds

Nano Nerds is The Museum of Science, Boston’s YouTube Channel on Nanoscale Science

Nano Zone

The Nano Zone is a fun and educational website developed by the Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley where you can learn about nanotechnology. Play games, watch videos, see Small stuff, Look into the Nano Future, Meet a Scientist, Ask Questions and Do it Yourself!

NACK Network

Nanotechnology Applications and Career Knowledge (NACK) Network Provides Educator Resources including introductory material that is appropriate for middle school. Browse their Educator Resources and look at the Introductory Level Modules and Activities.

NISE Network K-12 Resources

Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network has lots of material for educators. The site is for students and parents.

NNIN Outreach Demonstration Guide

This guide contains 14 demonstration activities.

NNIN guide for K-12 Teachers

This is a central resource for information on Nanotechnology and how to integrate it into classroom activities.


SHINE is Seattle’s hub for industry-driven nanotechnology. You can find educational resources in the section for Educators.

Includes: Introduction to Nanotechnology, NanoDays, NanoBuzz, Nano Exhibition, K-12Teacher Resources, Videos, Games, Products and Society, DIY Nano App. en Español
, a resource for nanoscience and nanotechnology, is supported by the National Science Foundation and other funding agencies. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.