Tools and Processes

Click the image above to see it at full size.

The instructor links the development of tools and processes for building automobiles with what is occurring in nanotechnology today. Students wear oven mitts to build LEGO cars to discover how working at the nanoscale requires new, more precise tools to replace current, more crude tools.


Students should know the scale of the nanometer. They should have an introductory knowledge of nanotechnology and its importance, its collaborative nature, and its associated careers.

Instruction Time:

Approximately 20-25 minutes


Middle or high school students


Students will understand the need for better tools and processes to develop nanoscale products.


  • National Science Education Standards:

    • Content Standard F: Science and Technology in Society.
    • Content Standard G: History of Science.
  • Illinois State Science Learning Standards:

    • 13.B.3a Identify and explain ways that scientific knowledge and economics drive technological development.
    • 13.B.5b Analyze and describe the processes and effects of scientific and technological breakthroughs.


  • activity guide
  • 1 evaluation
  • 30 assessments
  • PowerPoint presentation on CD
  • overhead transparencies of slides
  • 30 LEGOs car kits with directions
  • container of extra LEGOs pieces
  • 30 pairs of oven mitts

Teacher Needs:

  • LCD or overhead projector

Online Documents: