In this activity, students use modelling clay to construct different shapes (sphere, cube, cylinder) and calculate surface area:volume ratios with the aim of trying to develop a more efficient shape.

By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

  • understand the importance of the shape of catalysts when they are in the form of nanoparticles
  • explain what is meant by surface area
  • use mathematical formulae to calculate surface area:volume ratios
  • explain which shape is the most efficient.

Download the Word file for:

  • introduction/background notes
  • what you need
  • what to do
  • discussion questions
  • extension idea
  • student handout.
Published 29 May 2008, Updated 11 April 2014