There are two activities in this lesson, the Fly Prison and the Water Maze. The Fly Prison is a hands-on modeling activity designed to introduce students to the area of nanotechnology and give them a basic understanding of how researchers build very small devices by the self-assembly of molecules. The Water Maze is a follow up activity to give the students a chance to practice and demonstrate what they have learned.
Students will visualize the order of numerical properties of objects from the nanoscale to visible scale using exponents and decimals. Students will make size comparisons of objects. Students will develop an understanding of how small a nanometer is in comparison to common objects. They will also learn about the metric system.
This activity is designed to help students understand the concept of scale and magnification when examining a Blue Morpho butterfly wing. The activity requires the use of a scanning electron microscope (SEM) but images are provided if there is no access to an SEM.