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Nano Start Up Teacher's Guide
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Recommended Grade Levels: 5-8

Tips for using the site with students    


1.     Before using this activity in class (or at home), go through the activity once to make sure it works correctly on your computer(s) or devices. Please be aware that this game is in HTML5, which is not stable across browsers and platforms.  We apologize for any inconvenience this causes. Teachers and technical coordinators wanted games that could be used on tablets, but they didn’t want to download 25 apps every time a teacher wanted to play a game. The answer was to program in HTML5 which can be used on both computers and tablets.  However, HTML5 acts very differently in different settings (device, presence or absence of network, etc.).  If the activity does not load on the device after clicking the 'Start' button, please see the list of recommended browsers and devices below.  We strongly recommend that you use the most recent version of your chosen browser.

·        For desktop computers – we recommend using Safari, Chrome or Firefox browsers. Internet Explorer will only work where school district-level firewalls are NOT in place.

·        For laptop computers – it is entirely dependent on your network and bandwidth availability whether this game will work on laptops in a school setting (should work fine in a home setting).  When we tested with schools, some school networks and laptops worked fine, others did not allow the game to load before timing out.

·        For iPads – use the Safari browser.  Again, the speed and bandwidth of the school network could cause problems with loading the game.

·        For Android devices – we recommend using Firefox or Chrome browsers.  The school network could cause problems with loading the game.

·        We do not recommend using the game on cell phones as there is a lot of visual detail in the game that would be missed on a device with a small screen.

·        We do not recommend less commonly used browsers such as Opera, Netscape, Dolphin, etc.

·        If the game is loading partially or stops in the middle of each section, this is most likely a buffering issue.  Things to try:  pause the game (button in lower right corner) and then restart; reload that section of the game; or talk to your IT staff about how to increase buffering capacity.  In some cases, deleting internet history on the browser and closing unnecessary programs on the computer/device can increase buffering capacity quickly.

If you have trouble getting the game to play and figure out a work around or how to get to work in your setting, please email us at to share information about your device, browser, network and any other details you think important. We are trying to build a library of useful information for our users.


2.     Your computer or devices will need to have some sort of sound output. Either speakers or headphones will work well. The majority of this activity has voice audio. We highly recommend headphones or ear buds in a classroom setting.  Students with hearing impairments can read the text at the bottom of the screen. If you are having difficulty hearing the audio, check the audio settings on your computer or device.

3.     We strongly recommend that students using computers use a real mouse, as the touch pads on laptop computers are more difficult to use for this activity and slow students down significantly.

4.     The worksheet is highly recommend for this activity and is available below under ‘Assessment Tools.’  If a teacher prefers not to use the worksheet, he/she should make this clear to the students, as the game refers to the worksheet numerous times.

5.     Students in the target grade-range will take approximately 35 - 40 minutes to complete the entire activity.


Assessment tools:  Teachers may want to have students put their names on the worksheets and turn them in, which should indicate if students completed the assigned activity. There is also a quiz that can be given:


Student Worksheet


Ten Question Quiz


Answers to the student worksheet and quiz can be found in the Forums section.

Extension Activities:

After students use the site, additional in-class discussion questions (which can also act as assessment tools) or activities can be asked or assigned:

·        Why did Kristie involve a business consultant and another friend with a business when it came time to build the budget?  Why wouldn’t one resource be enough?

Answer:  There was no existing company that was exactly like the Multidot company Kristie was starting.  For this reason, it made sense to check with others with similar companies to see what they did.  In reality, a person starting a new business would most likely check with 5-10 sources.  It’s always best to be thorough. 


·        Why would Kristie budget more for sales and marketing than many start up business do?

Answer:  She researched this enough to know that many companies were running out of money for sales and marketing using the lower percentage.  So she learned from their mistakes and budgeted a higher percentage of the income.


·        Why did Jessica ask to have the results left on her desk of all the trial experiments to determine the best proportions of materials?

Answer:  Again, it’s best to be thorough.  Jessica is the expert and, while the numbers seem fairly straightforward, she might see something that we missed.  She might interpret the numbers a different way, based on her knowledge and expertise.  Most scientists choose to look at raw data when it is available to see if they interpret the data the same way as others do.


·        At the end of the game, Jessica and Kristie were talking about selling Multidot and starting a new company around another one of Jessica’s discoveries. 

1.     Do you agree with this plan?  What are your thoughts on that idea?

In favor of selling is the fact that a small company with 2-3 employees will have a hard time keeping up with big pharmaceutical companies that sell this type of thing internationally.  Also, those big pharmaceutical companies can buy Jessica’s dots, study them, change or improve them and then begin selling them in competition with Jessica.  Against selling is the fact that it took a lot of time and work to start the company.  It will take a lot of time and work to start another company.  Is there some compromise path that could be taken?  Maybe Jessica works for a large pharmaceutical company and retains rights to her discoveries??

2.     If they were to sell their company, research how they would go about doing that.  Do a search for ways to value a business and then estimate what you think the company might be worth. Keep in mind that they are just beginning to sell their product, so they don’t have any income, exactly.  They do have office and lab equipment as assets. They also have the patent of Jessica’s discovery as a big asset and the knowledge of how to increase production to commercial levels.  But the company hasn’t really proven itself as a high income producer.  After researching this question, would you recommend Jessica and Kristie sell their company or sell right to the patent or stay on the path they started down, to market the dot themselves?



·        Writing activity:  Write a marketing ‘pitch’ for Jessica’s discovery.  How would you convince hospitals and doctors to purchase the Multidot in the shortest amount of words, covering the advantages to her Multidot over her competitor’s dots?


Next Generation Science Standards:

Engineering Design

3-5-TS1-2. Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.


3-5-ETS1-3. Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.


MS-ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.


MS-ETS1-2.Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.



Common Core Math


5th Grade

Operations and Algebraic Thinking

  • Write and interpret numerical expressions.

Number and Operations in Base Ten

  • Understand the place value system.
  • Perform operations with multi-digit whole numbers and with decimals to hundredths.

Measurement and Data

  • Represent and interpret data.

Mathematical Practices

  1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
  2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
  3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
  4. Model with mathematics.
  5. Use appropriate tools strategically.
  6. Attend to precision.

National Science Content Standards   


Grades 9-12:

·        Understandings about scientific inquiry.

·        Matter, energy and organization in living systems and behavior of organisms.

·        Abilities of technological design, understandings about science and technology.

·        Natural and human-induced hazards, science and technology in local, national, and global challenges.

·        Understanding of the nature of scientific knowledge and science as a human endeavor.


Ohio Department of Education K-12 Entrepreneurship Benchmarks


2. Entrepreneurs possess unique characteristics.

3. The relationships that exist between new technologies, competition and the global economy are vital in identifying the role and importance of entrepreneurship and small business in the U.S. economy.

4. Successful entrepreneurs understand and abide by business laws and regulations that affect operations and transactions

5. An entrepreneur analyzes customer groups to develop marketing plans that target specific customers.

8. Identifying and creating a viable financial plan is essential for entrepreneurship, growth and survival.

9. For a business to compete effectively, the entrepreneur must manage and allocate resources efficiently.

10. Planning, organizing and directing are the key ingredients in the successful management of a business.

12. Government regulations affect entrepreneurial ventures on various levels.

13. A business plan is essential to justify a new business venture.

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