Exploring Fabrication: Gummy Capsules

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In this activity, learners make self-assembled polymer spheres. Learners discover that self-assembly is a process by which molecules and cells form themselves into functional structures, and that self-assembly is used to make nanocapsules that can deliver medication. This activity is a fun way to talk about the connections between science and cooking, since the gummy capsules produced in this activity are also used in molecular gastronomy.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration, Lesson/Lesson Plan

English, Spanish

Materials List (per group of students)

  • Worm goo - sodium alginate
  • Worm goo activator - calcium chloride crystals
  • Small bowl
  • Small sieve (mesh strainer) that nests inside the bowl
  • Plastic spoon


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Bioengineering/Biomedical Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Nanotechnology
    • Technology
      • Medical Technology
  • Life Sciences
    • Human Body
      • Medicine
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Reactions
    • States of Matter
      • Solids
      • Liquids
      • Changes of Phase
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Impacts of Technology

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Foreign language versions of this resource:

Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



Funding Sources:

  • National Science Foundation, 0532536
  • National Science Foundation, 0940143