Home > Resources > Nanotechnology Lesson Plans > Sugar Crystal Challenge

Sugar Crystal Challenge

Bookmark and Share

(Full teacher resource documents are included in the PDF)

Lesson Focus
Lesson focuses on surface area and how the shape of sugar crystals may differ as they are grown from sugars of different coarseness. Students explore surface area, nanostructures, and work in teams and participate in hands-on activities.

Lesson Synopsis
The "Sugar Crystal Challenge" explores how nanostructures can influence surface area, and how the sugar can be modified to different levels of coarseness without impacting molecular structure. Students work in teams and explore different states of sugar as it relates to surface area and molecular structure.

Age Levels:   8-14


  • Learn about nanostructures.
  • Learn about crystals.
  • Learn about surface area.
  • Learn about teamwork and working in groups.

Anticipated Learner Outcomes
As a result of this activity, students should develop an understanding of:

  • nanostructures
  • surface area
  • problem solving
  • teamwork

Lesson Activities
Students learn about how surface area can change at the nanoscale. Students work in teams to explore different forms of sugar at different levels of coarseness. They then predict how sugar crystals grown from different sugar solutions might be different at the molecular level depending upon the coarseness of the original sugar. Student make predictions, conduct research, and present their reflections to the class.


  • Teacher Resource Documents (attached)
  • Student Resource Sheet (attached)
  • Student Worksheets (attached)

Alignment to Curriculum Frameworks
Curriculum alignment sheet is included in the