Exploring the Nanoworld > Programs > IPSE > Educator Resources >

Applications Activity: Nanomedicine

See also Ferrofluid Quick Reference Activity Guide

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Audience: Middle school class
Time Needed: 50 minutes

Activity Description:

Most cancer drugs kill some good cells along with the bad cells, making the patient very sick. What if you could treat cancer without this negative side effect? Nanotechnology, technology at the scale of atoms, may allow us to do this in the near future. Students will work in research teams to explore different methods of drug delivery. One method involves ferrofluid, a nanomaterial currently under investigation for medical applications. Ferrofluid is made from nano-sized particles of magnetite that are coated with a surfactant. The surfactant keeps the solid particles from sticking together, giving a liquid-like appearance.

  • Understand a ferrofluid application of nanotechnology
  • Understand that manipulating atomic structure will alter observed properties at the larger scale
  • Further develop problem-solving skills to address scientific issues
  • Further develop their ability to communicate and debate scientific ideas
  • Realize the pros and cons of scientific discoveries/technology
Activity Materials:
  • Ferrofluid demonstration tubes (4)
  • Iron filing demonstration tubes (4)
  • Empty demonstration inhalers ~ or pictures of some (4)
  • Empty gel capsules (4)
  • Cow magnets (4)
  • Syringes without needles (4)
  • Plastic storage boxes ~ the size of a shoe box (4)
  • Handouts (4 sets)
  • Transparencies of handouts
  • Overhead projector
  • Large sheets of paper (4)
  • Markers (4+)
Supplemental Materials:

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