MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology

How Much Small Is Small?

Fadwa Odeh
Assistant Professor of Physical Chemistry
Department of Chemistry
The University of Jordan
Amman 11942 Jordan

This video lesson introduces students to the concept of size. It looks at how to classify objects based on their size and how the size of an object affects its properties and behavior. In our world, we have many different sizes - starting from quarks and subatomic particles, to atoms and molecules, all the way to aggregates and huge objects like ourselves, and beyond to larger bodies like mountains, planets, stars, galaxies and even to the whole universe. This lesson explores how size affects the properties of an object by affecting the amount of interaction taking place with the environment. Some of these affected properties are very obvious, such as solubility, while others are not. This lesson will take one class lesson of about 50 minutes, and there are no prerequisites. Materials needed include: beakers or containers that are transparent; small quantities of various materials (i.e. sand, chalk, sugar, salt, milk (liquid), lotions or any other material and beads); and a tool to grind solids. In-class activities during video breaks include class discussions, demonstrations with various solutions, and work with calculations.

Dr. Odeh is a physical chemist specializing in NMR techniques to characterize and monitor surfaces and colloidal systems. Her research focus is on drug delivery vehicles and nanoparticles.

This site provides a simple, interactive demonstration to help students get a handle on the very small scale of nanotechnology.
http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/democs/flash/runflash.html

This site provides a visual comparison of various distances, from the smallest in nanoparticles to the largest in outer space.
http://www.falstad.com/scale/

This site, sponsored by Understanding Nano.Com, presents a lesson created to help high school science teachers provide an introduction to nanotechnology in a classroom setting.
http://www.understandingnano.com/nanotechnology-lesson-plan.html

This site, sponsored by the National Nanotechnology Initiative, provides a comprehensive list of resources for teachers looking for help with nanoscience and nanotechnology curriculum.
http://www.nano.gov/education-training/center/teacher-resources

Title Language Format  
How Much Small Is Small? (Arabic, QuickTime) Arabic Quicktime Download
How Much Small Is Small? (English Voice-over, mp4) English Voice-over MPEG 4 Download
How Much Small Is Small? (Arabic-Portuguese Subtitles, mp4) Arabic-Portuguese SubtitlesArabic-Portuguese Subtitles MPEG 4 Download
How Much Small is Small (English Voice-over-Malay Subtitles, mp4) English-Malay SubtitlesEnglish-Malay Subtitles MPEG 4 Download
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