Exploring the Nanoworld with LEGO Bricks: Structures at the Nanoscale

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In this activity (pages 7-16), learners model various crystal structures with LEGOs. This activity also contains additional links that explain how to create other crystal structures. This activity helps learners to understand crystal structures. The LEGO bricks, with their many colors and points of connection, are excellent tools for demonstrating the nanostructure or even the atomic-level structure of solids. Educators may also be interested in a solid state model kit produced by the Institute for Chemical Education (ICE), which uses spheres of different sizes in a Solid State Model Kit to create three-dimensional structures.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Model


Materials List (per group of students)

  • LEGO blocks of different sizes and colors


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Metallurgy and Materials Engineering
      • Nanotechnology
  • Physical Sciences
    • States of Matter
      • Solids
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Atomic Structure

Informal Categories

  • Model Building
  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



Funding Sources:

  • National Science Foundation
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • LEGO Dacta