Nano Latch-n-Catch

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In this activity, learners design a therapeutic agent to image and/or cure various diseases in the respiratory system. First, learners define types of diseased cells or disease-causing microbes by the receptors (shapes) on their surfaces. Learners then create model "nanocapsules" that can match diseased cells, or disease-causing microbes, by their unique receptors. Learners introduce their engineered nanocapsules into a model of infected lung tissue to "detect" infected cells and specifically destroy them. Learners will discuss a future when this technology could be used to fight infections.[Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Note: there are two versions of this activity--Version A (Pg 6) is appropriate for learners in grades 1-3 and Version B (Pg 11) is appropriate for learners in grades 4-6.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
Over $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Simulation


Materials List (per group of students)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Bioengineering/Biomedical Engineering
      • Nanotechnology
    • Technology
      • Agriculture and Biotechnology
  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
      • Cell Structure and Function
    • Heredity and Genetics
      • DNA Structure and Function
    • Human Body
      • Health and Nutrition
      • Medicine
      • Respiration
      • Immune System
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results
    • Science as a Career
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Impacts of Technology


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Arizona Science Center, 2012

Funding Source:

  • Science Education Partnership Award, National Institutes of Health