Does Size Make a Difference?

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In this activity on page 15 of the PDF, discover how materials and physical forces behave differently at the nanoscale. Learners experiment with water to see how the effects of surface tension depend on the size scale. Use this activity to explore surface tension, scale, and nanoscience.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity

English, Portuguese, Spanish

Materials List (per student)

  • A canning jar (pint or quart)
  • Ring part of the lid for the jar
  • A Styrofoam plate
  • A ruler
  • A sharp pencil
  • Scissors
  • A pail (optional)
  • Water


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Nanotechnology
    • Technology
  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
      • Size and Scale
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Bonding
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Atomic Structure
      • Mass and Weight
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Foreign language versions of this resource:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Hogue, Lynn


  • All rights reserved, American Chemical Society, 2012