To introduce elementary school students to some of the concepts of nanotechnology ASU NanoFab has developed a 4th grade lesson plan titled “NanoSilver Socks: No more stinky feet?” The lesson plan consists of two 50 minute classroom sessions in which the students begin to see the relevance of the world of nanotechnology, along with some of the commercial applications and potential risks involved. The materials covered in these lessons address Arizona 4th grade science standards (Strand 3: Concept 2: Science & Technology in Society: PO2 – “Describe benefits and risks related to the use of technology“).
To get an idea, view a video of one of our fun and successful lessons by clicking here.
Taking to the Streets
To reach the broadest possible public audience, the ASU node of the NNIN are working closely with the NSF supported Center for Nanotechnology in Society to implement an informal science communication (ISC) program called “Taking to the Streets”. The program was initially developed around the NISENet Nanodays Kits, which help to facilitate discussions about nanotechnology primarily with K-12 children and their teachers/chaperones.
After a short training in basic presentation skills, engaging the public in a museum setting and learning the objectives of Nanodays kits, students are scheduled to host tables at the AZ Science Center on a monthly basis (more frequently as time and resources permit) throughout the year, with a special emphasis during NanoDays each spring. When possible, visits also coincide with the height of school fields trips to the AZ Science Center – allowing students to teach other students around their age. This program is designed specifically for K-12 students, their parents and teachers/chaperones. As students progress, they are encouraged to develop their own table demonstrations to exhibit their own research in an effort to “take it to the people”.
The ISC program also hosts a tent at the 3-day Spring Tempe Art Festival, which also coincides with Nanodays, another opportunity to engage a wider cross section of the public in discussion around nanotechnology. At both the AZ Science Center and the Tempe Art Festival, children and their parents enthusiastically engage with us each time we visit, adding useful insights through their comments and questions that help us continue to improve our SEI and outreach activities.