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Lotus Leaf Effect

Source Institutions

    NISE Network

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Lotus Leaf Effect

This is a demonstration about how nature inspires nanotechnology. It is easily adapted into a hands-on activity for an individual or groups. Learners discover that lotus leaves are self cleaning and repel water due to features at the nanoscale. The activity includes in depth program-specific background information that will help learners take their understanding of nanotechnology and water chemistry further. Includes a training video, poster, lesson plan and links to national standards.

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 6 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Lettuce leaves (grocery store)
  • Leaves from plants that exhibit the lotus effect (kale, turnip greens, collard greens, water lily leaves. Available at grocery stores and most plant nurseries)
  • Water
  • Cup for water
  • Water dropper
  • Tray to catch water
  • Towels (paper or cloth)
  • Poster (provided for download)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Nanotechnology
  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
  • Physical Sciences
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Formulating Explanations
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Technology and the Environment
    • The Design Process
      • Research and Development

Informal Categories

  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • hear
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, ESI-0532536


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