Delivery Capsules


Delivery Capsules

Make a squishy model of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines.
Learners make self-assembled polymer spheres as a model for the lipid nanoparticles found in COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. Learners not only discover that self-assembly is a process by which molecules and cells form themselves into functional structures, but they also gain first-hand experience with the kind of self-assembly that is used to make nanocapsules that can deliver medication like vaccines. This activity is a fun way to talk about the connections between science and cooking, since the capsules produced in this activity are also used in molecular gastronomy. These materials were adapted from the National Informal STEM Education Network.

Materials List:

  • Strainer

  • Bowl or other shallow container

  • Calcium chloride solution (0.75 M in water)

  • Sodium alginate solution in dropper bottles (3% in water, with food coloring)


Topics: Nanoscience & Nanotechnology, Biology, Human Body, Medicine, Cells, Engineering, Science & Society

Grade Level: K+

Activity Type: Model

Language: Spanish, English

Vaccine Learning Resources

These activities were designed to build vaccine confidence among families with young children who are considering the COVID-19 vaccine. The materials were developed in partnership with UC Berkeley’s Health Research for Action center as well as educators and families affiliated with Bay Area Community Resources in and around Antioch, CA.

Support Provided By

Communities for Immunity Museums and Libraries as Trusted Community Partners

This project was funded as part of the Communities for Immunity initiative led by the Association of Science and Technology Centers and the American Alliance of Museums. With support from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Communities for Immunity supports museums and libraries working to increase vaccine confidence among vaccine-hesitant communities.

Additional Resources

You can visit the Dept. of Health & Human Services We Can Do This initiative’s website for information and resources about COVID-19 vaccinations for children ages 5 and up, including Frequently Asked Questions From Parents/Guardians About COVID-19 and the Vaccines.

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