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Exploring Fabrication: Self-Assembly

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    NISE Network

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Exploring Fabrication: Self-Assembly

In this activity, learners participate in several full-body interactive games to model the process of self-assembly in nature and nanotechnology. Through these activities learners assemble into a ring, a capsule, and a snowflake. Learners discover that self-assembly is a process by which molecules and cells form themselves into functional structures. Note: this activity requires at least nine learners.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 4 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Game, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Model

English, Spanish

Materials List (per student)

  • 2 gloves for each learner -- the gloves need to be different colors


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Bioengineering/Biomedical Engineering
      • Metallurgy and Materials Engineering
      • Nanotechnology
  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
      • Cell Structure and Function
      • Chemistry of Life
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Bonding
      • Chemical Reactions
      • Chemistry of Life
    • States of Matter
      • Solids
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Atomic Structure

Informal Categories

  • Games
  • Nature and Environment
  • Physical Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • 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


User Lists

This resource is part of these lists:

  • Thumbnail snow by mtmartzke on 2012-12-19