About NanoAcademy

NanoAcademy is a series of one-day workshops for students to participate in STEM lessons designed by experienced teachers inspired by the ongoing research at Rice University and Arizona State University.

The main objective is to provide students with hands-on activities to build their conceptual understanding of Nanotechnology, while simultaneously strengthening their critical and analytical thinking skills in engineering. Career opportunities in STEM Engineering are also included as an additional means of exposure for both students and teachers participating in the academy.

Teacher participants from the Research Experience for Teachers (RET) internships work with graduate students and research scientists in innovative research laboratories to create the NanoAcademy lessons. Lessons are designed to allow students to experience grade-level appropriate lesson activities based on nanotechnology applications.

2024 NanoAcademy Program*

Workshop locations include: Rice University in Houston, TX and Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ. Lessons range from 3rd-12th grade in level and cover a variety of topics, including water pollution and treatment, environmental science alternative forms of medicine, cells and much more!

NanoAcademy is free for students who apply online. Students that arrive at the workshop without applying and submitting a signed agreement form will be turned away.

Breakfast will be provided for all students. Students can drive themselves, take public transportation, or dropped off by parents or guardians. Parents and guardians can park and walk students up, but parking validations will not be provided for parents, guardians, or students. Parents and guardians will NOT be allowed into the classrooms with students.

Application have closed.

Workshop Locations and Information:

NanoAcademy at Rice University

Saturday, February 3, 2024

8:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. CST
Rice University
6100 Main Street, Houston, TX 77030


Lesson #1: Is It Phun (Fun) to Lose or Good to Gain?!
Grades: 9th-12th

  • In this activity, students will investigate real phenomena by conducting experiments for CO2 and Aluminum metal and use critical thinking to analyze their reasoning. Students will use Al cans to design an experiment to understand what prevents the Aluminum Metal from being oxidized as it reacts with oxygen gas and transform into Aluminum oxide and relate the phenomenon to their daily life as they learn about ways to prevent the oxidation by applying a protective coating of plastic underneath the Aluminum metal. In other activities students will use CO2 gas to engineer and activity of oil recovery from wells.

Lesson #2: Are you Salty? Don't Be Toxic!
Grades: 6th-8th

  • Are you ready to make a change? If so, these activities will give you the opportunity to create devices that will change lives! During these activities you will be crafting modules and devices from everyday household materials that will help remove toxins from the environment and create a unique way to extract pure drinking water from the abundant resources around.

Lesson #3: Tuff Fluff to Green Stuff
Grades: 3rd - 6th

  • Let’s go Green! Come explore the technology that can help us terraform other planets and keep our planet green. Compare the strength of steel to the fluffiest of materials that can be used in space travel, and design a soil bed using crystals to clear green waters.

Lesson #4: You are What You Eat! From Animal Food Webs to Gel Beads.
Grades: 3rd - 5th

  • What would a gel bead and a food web have in common? How can they support an eco-friendly environment? In this lesson, students will learn how to make a gel bead and explore the human impact on food webs.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. CST
Rice University
6100 Main Street, Houston, TX 77030

Grades: 9th - 12th | Lesson #1: UV Bouncin
Grades: 6th-9th | Lesson #2: Got milk? Got Cells? Let’s engineer something new!
Grades: 10th-12th | Lesson #3: Evolution of power! Developing the HHer0s of tomorrow

NanoAcademy at Arizona State University

Saturday, February 24, 2024

8:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. MST
Arizona State University-Tempe Campus
Tempe, AZ 85281

Grades: 6th - 8th | Lesson #1: Building a Wind-Powered Crane
Grades: 9th - 12th | Lesson #2: Shiny Days, Happy Engineers, Happy World
Grades: 9th - 12th | Lesson #3: Using the Sun to Purify Water- Solar Distiller


Eligible grade levels vary by activity. Please review the specific location activities and grade level before applying.

Application for the workshops closes Friday, January 5th, 2024. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance status no later than one week prior to the workshop. Space is limited, therefore, completing the registration process does not guarantee placement in the workshops.

Application now closed.

Applicant's parent/guardian will be required to submit a signed release form with their registration.

Program Flyer

Below is copy of the NanoAcademy flyer. You can access a PDF version for download here.


NanoAcademy Administration

If you have any questions about NanoAcademy, you can contact the program leads.

Isaias Cerda, M.S.Ed.
Associate Director for Science Education and English Language Learners
713-348-3197 |

Mariana Quinn, M.S.
Assistant Director for Science Education
713-348-8266 |

*Program times, dates, locations, and compensation subject to change before the first day of the program.

NSF logo along with the four NEWT University logos, Rice University, Arizona State University, The University of Texas at El Paso, and Yale University.

Contact Information

Telephone: (713) 348-8211
Fax: (713) 348-3825

Mailing Address

Office of STEM Engagement
Rice University
P.O. Box 1892, MS-7836
Houston, TX 77251-1892

Street Address

IBC Plaza Houston
5615 Kirby Dr., Suite 730
Houston, TX 77005-2445