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published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
supported by the International Business Machines
This is an inquiry-based lesson plan that explores how nanostructures can influence surface area, as students work in teams to grow crystals from sugars of different grades of coarseness. The driving question of the lesson: If you dissolve sugars of different coarseness (granulated, powdered, cubes) in water and then grow sugar crystals, will the resulting crystals appear the same under a microscope, or will there still be a difference in appearance based on the initial coarseness of the sugar?

The lesson follows a module format that includes objectives and learner outcomes, problem sets, student guides, recommended reading, illustrated procedures, worksheets, and background information about the engineering connections.

This collection is part of, a website maintained by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Practices
- Active Learning
= Inquiry Learning
General Physics
- Measurement/Units
- Properties of Matter
Modern Physics
- Nanoscience
Other Sciences
- Engineering
- High School
- Middle School
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Instructor Guide/Manual
= Laboratory
= Lesson/Lesson Plan
= Student Guide
- Audio/Visual
= Image/Image Set
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Educators
- Learners
- application/pdf
- application/ms-word
- text/html
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Access Rights:
Free access
© 2010 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
applied physics, crystal structure, crystals, engineering activity, engineering lessons, growing crystals, surface area
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created July 27, 2012 by Gnana Subramaniam
Record Updated:
August 14, 2016 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
December 4, 2010
Other Collections:

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

1. The Nature of Science

1B. Scientific Inquiry
  • 6-8: 1B/M1b. Scientific investigations usually involve the collection of relevant data, the use of logical reasoning, and the application of imagination in devising hypotheses and explanations to make sense of the collected data.
  • 9-12: 1B/H2. Hypotheses are widely used in science for choosing what data to pay attention to and what additional data to seek, and for guiding the interpretation of the data (both new and previously available).

4. The Physical Setting

4D. The Structure of Matter
  • 6-8: 4D/M1cd. Atoms may link together in well-defined molecules, or may be packed together in crystal patterns. Different arrangements of atoms into groups compose all substances and determine the characteristic properties of substances.
  • 6-8: 4D/M10. A substance has characteristic properties such as density, a boiling point, and solubility, all of which are independent of the amount of the substance and can be used to identify it.
  • 9-12: 4D/H7a. Atoms often join with one another in various combinations in distinct molecules or in repeating three-dimensional crystal patterns.

11. Common Themes

11C. Constancy and Change
  • 6-8: 11C/M9. Small differences in how things start out can sometimes produce large differences in how they end up. Some events are so sensitive to small differences in initial conditions that their outcomes cannot be predicted.
  • 9-12: 11C/H13. Symmetry (or a lack of it) may determine properties of many objects, from molecules and crystals to organisms and designed structures.

12. Habits of Mind

12D. Communication Skills
  • 6-8: 12D/M6. Present a brief scientific explanation orally or in writing that includes a claim and the evidence and reasoning that supports the claim.
  • 6-8: 12D/M9. Prepare a visual presentation to aid in explaining procedures or ideas.
12E. Critical-Response Skills
  • 9-12: 12E/H4. Insist that the key assumptions and reasoning in any argument—whether one's own or that of others—be made explicit; analyze the arguments for flawed assumptions, flawed reasoning, or both; and be critical of the claims if any flaws in the argument are found.
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Record Link
AIP Format
(Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2010), WWW Document, (
TryEngineering: Sugar Crystal Challenge, (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2010), <>.
APA Format
TryEngineering: Sugar Crystal Challenge. (2010, December 4). Retrieved May 25, 2019, from Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers:
Chicago Format
International Business Machines. TryEngineering: Sugar Crystal Challenge. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, December 4, 2010. (accessed 25 May 2019).
MLA Format
TryEngineering: Sugar Crystal Challenge. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2010. 4 Dec. 2010. International Business Machines. 25 May 2019 <>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {TryEngineering: Sugar Crystal Challenge}, Publisher = {Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers}, Volume = {2019}, Number = {25 May 2019}, Month = {December 4, 2010}, Year = {2010} }
Refer Export Format

%T TryEngineering: Sugar Crystal Challenge
%D December 4, 2010
%I Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
%O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%D December 4, 2010
%T TryEngineering: Sugar Crystal Challenge
%I Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
%V 2019
%N 25 May 2019
%8 December 4, 2010
%9 application/pdf

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Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Electronic References.

The Chicago Style presented is based on information from Examples of Chicago-Style Documentation.

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