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Lesson: What is a Nanometer?

(Full teacher resource documents are included in the PDF)

Lesson Focus
Lesson 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 Synopsis
The "What is a Nanometer?" lesson explores how small a nanometer really is. Students work in teams and measure a range of everyday classroom items and then convert the results to nanometers.

Age Levels:   8-11


  • Learn about nanotechnology.
  • Learn about scale.
  • Learn about engineering design.
  • Learn about teamwork and working in groups.

Anticipated Learner Outcomes
As a result of this activity, students should develop an understanding of:

  • measurement
  • nanotechnology
  • problem solving
  • teamwork

Lesson Activities
Students learn how working at the nanoscale requires scientists and engineers to work at a much smaller scale. Students measure common classroom objects and convert the measurement to nanometers. They also learn about electron microscopes and find out about products that have been improved through the application of nanotechnology.


  • Teacher Resource Documents (attached)
  • Student Resource Sheet (attached)
  • Student Worksheets (attached)

Alignment to Curriculum Frameworks
Curriculum alignment sheet is included in the 

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