Exploring Tools: Mitten Challenge

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In this activity, learners build a LEGO® structure while wearing mittens. This activity shows learners how difficult it is to build small things when your tools are too big. This is a great activity to get learners thinking about how scientists and engineers need special tools and equipment to work at the nanoscale. A great complement to this activity is "Exploring Tools: Special Microscopes," in which learners discover different tools scientists use to explore and manipulate nanoscale objects.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 4 - adult

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Oven mitts (2)
  • Brick building set (LEGO® Duplo® or similar)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Nanotechnology
  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
      • Size and Scale

Informal Categories

  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities