ZZ3: Informal Education
Chair: Rashmi Nanjundaswamy
- Wednesday AM, November 28, 2012
- Hynes, Level 3, Room 300
8:15 AM - ZZ3.01
Museums and Scientists Engaging Public Audiences throughout the United States with the Nano Mini-exhibition
The Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Network), a network of 300 science museums and research institutions in the United States, has embarked on an ambitious project to develop and distribute seventy copies of a 400-square foot Nano exhibition throughout the United States. With support from the National Science Foundation, the NISE Network has developed Nano, an engaging and interactive mini-exhibition about nanoscale science, engineering, and technology for family audiences. Hands-on exhibits present the basics of nanoscience and engineering, introduce some real world applications, and explore the societal and ethical implications of this new technology. The Nano mini-exhibition is intended for long-term display in museums across the United States, where it will engage millions of people. Seventy copies of Nano are being fabricated; all copies will be identical and distributed to partners free of charge. The exhibition complements NanoDays events and other NISE Network educational experiences. The mini-exhibition serves as a platform for museum staff and volunteers and local scientists to engage visitors with additional facilitated educational programming and experiences. The presentation will provide an overview of the project as well as examples of museum-scientist collaborations taking place in conjunction with the Nano mini-exhibition. Presenters will also describe opportunities for Materials Research Society members to get involved with local museum partners and engage the public in science, engineering, and technology topics through the mini-exhibition and other public engagement initiatives.
8:30 AM - *ZZ3.02
Informal Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Learning: A Maturing Field
Over the past 40 + years, informal science education has matured to become a rich, credible field of professional activity. The field has also grown to encompass the informal STEM learning that occurs within a wide variety of institutions, programs and projects. The landscape now includes museums and science centers, broadcast media and films, out of school time and citizen science programs, cyberlearning and gaming projects and journalism. The Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE) is a U.S. National Science Foundation-funded project that is becoming a resource center for practitioners, researchers, evaluators and institutions who facilitate informal STEM learning. Through convening and connecting professionals and projects and catalyzing and synthesizing discussions, CAISE has developed tools and insights for those in the STEM community who are planning to use informal means to achieve broader impacts or are already engaged in such efforts. The CAISE Project Director will share resources and lessons learned from five years of activity.
9:00 AM - ZZ3.03
Professional Development and Science Communication through the Design of a Museum Exhibit
In this talk we will discuss how engaging materials scientists in the design, fabrication, testing, and installation of a hands-on museum exhibition can be used as an innovative and effective mode for giving these scientists new tools and strategies for communicating materials science and technology to the general public. In so doing, we have extended the societal benefits of an exciting outreach project to simultaneously create an "inreach" project for developing new communication skills and societal vision in the MRSEC staff, with outcomes designed to positively catch the attention of the university leadership, museum audience, pre-college schools, and government officials. Specifically, we will describe, NanoFabulous, a new nano science and technology museum exhibition installed in the Spring of 2012 at Baltimore's Port Discovery Children's Museum, with particular focus on the design, fabrication, testing, and installation processes and how we developed the skills and capacity of MRSEC researchers to be key players at every step of the project. Furthermore, we will demonstrate how the transition from installation to interacting with museum visitors using the exhibition pieces, increased the quality of the researchers' engagement with diverse audiences, ranging from young children and the adults accompanying them to the museum, to museum staff and leadership, to the press, to a member of the US Congress.
9:15 AM - ZZ3.04
Impacts of Different Pedagogical Approaches on Public Understandings of the Societal and Ethical Implications of Nanotechnology
The Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net) is “a national community of researchers and informal science educators dedicated to fostering public awareness, engagement, and understanding of nanoscale science, engineering, and technology” (www.nisenet.org). Important to the NISE Net is not only that the public have an increased understanding of nanotechnology but also that they have an increased understanding of nanotechnology’s societal and ethical implications (SEI). With this in mind, the Network created a number of products to teach the public about the societal and ethical implications of nanotechnology including dialogue and discussion forums, science theater presentations, and exhibits. The NISE Net SEI research group is studying what and how visitors learn about SEI and nanotechnology through these kinds of products. By exploring the different ways partners engage the public in SEI topics, this study seeks to better understand how these types of learning experiences and contexts function. In addition, the study aims to identify links between specific pedagogical approaches (such as facilitation techniques, activity structures, etc.) and public learning about SEI. This session will explore findings from studies about two different NISE Net SEI products: dialogue and discussion forums and a science theater presentation. Dialogue and discussion forums are programs where the public learns about a specific nanotechnology topic and then discusses the potential implications of this technology on the public. The forum study focused on the analysis of discussions that took place during these forums. Researchers analyzed transcripts to understand how the various facilitation methods used such as voting, layering, role playing, and background information affected participants’ discussions and argumentation. Science theater presentations can take a number of formats from plays to interactive presentations. This study focused on the “Would You Buy That?” theater program. This program presented a series of past, present, and future consumer products some containing nanotechnologies and some not and asked people whether they would buy the technology, need to learn more before they buy it, or whether the technology should be avoided. The focus of this work was to explore how visitors made decisions about new technologies in consumer products, how the science theater performance influenced their decision making process, and what factors were most important to them in making these decisions about the consumer products. Attendees will have an opportunity to learn about the findings from these studies and to think about how they might apply to their own work. Specifically, presenters will explore how content and facilitations impacted the public’s learning and understanding of nanotechnology and its societal and ethical implications and describe how these findings might apply to the presentation of content about any technology.
9:30 AM - ZZ3.05
Concepts and Approaches for Engaging the Public in Nanotechnology and Society
Over the past several decades, science, technology and society (STS) scholars have developed a number of ways to think about the broader implications of science and technology. Meanwhile, scientific professional societies such as MRS are seeking to enhance communication among scientists, engineers, and the public for the greater good, and science museums are positioning themselves as venues where this dialogue can take place. The Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (a network of 300 US science museums and research institutions) and the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University are collaborating on an initiative to prepare science museums, scientists and engineers, and STS scholars to engage the public in significant local and global issues. As we embrace this challenge, we are finding that we need to reconceive our typical models of public engagement and our understanding of the role of scientists and engineers, the museum, and the public in these interactions. This paper will introduce key concepts, approaches, and resources for engaging the public in emerging technologies and society, with a specific emphasis on nanotechnology. Presenters will outline essential ideas from the field of STS that are appropriate for public audiences, share a variety of educational experiences designed for use in public outreach in settings such as museums, community events, and schools, and articulate approaches for implementing them successfully. Presenters will also describe the kinds of learning the educational experiences support among the public and the shifts in practice these pedagogical approaches encourage among professionals. These learning experiences offer opportunities for the public, educators, scientists, engineers, and others to explore the relevance of emerging technologies to their lives through participation in meaningful conversations. Attendees will gain access to the public educational products and professional resources developed through this collaboration.
9:45 AM -
10:15 AM - *ZZ3.06
Building Capacity for Engaging the Public in Nanotechnology and Society
Kunz Kollmann, Scott
The Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (a network of 300 US science museums and research institutions) is developing a suite of guidelines and tools focused on an inclusive approach to evaluation and inquiry in the educational development process. In an effort to build capacity in the field, practitioners are using tools and processes around Team-Based Inquiry (TBI) to improve skills, gather data, and document research. Drawing on TBI tools, this paper will introduce key concepts, approaches, and resources for engaging the public in emerging technologies and society, with a specific emphasis on nanotechnology. The session will focus on program activities, TBI, and professional development implemented as part of a collaborative initiative, the development of the Nano & Society workshops, by the NISE Network and the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University. The initiative aims to prepare museum educators, scientists, and engineers in talking with the public about these increasingly significant local and global issues. The presentation will also draw on the body of work that science, technology, and society (STS) scholars have built around engaging the public in the broader societal implications of science and technology. These learning experiences provide opportunities for the public, educators, scientists, engineers and others to engage in meaningful conversation and explore the relevance of emerging technologies to their own lives. The TBI focus within the Nano & Society workshops is both incorporated throughout and specifically discussed during the workshop. Workshop facilitators will continuously model the ease with which data can be collected and analyzed during the process of program development, and workshop participants will be provided with time to practice the TBI process. This paper will go beyond the specific workshop model to describe how TBI-related strategies can help all museum educators, scientists, and engineers develop stronger programs and presentations while also helping them better understand how to connect with their audience and work with the public. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about key concepts, approaches, and take-home educational and professional resources that have been developed as part of the Nano & Society workshops. Attendees will be offered draft TBI materials and templates for use in their own work.
10:45 AM - *ZZ3.07
Teaching Ethics, Policy and Societal Implications of Research to Scientists and Engineers: Outlining Content
The focus of most graduate training in the sciences and engineering is on developing a detailed understanding of a very specific topic. Depth is required to demonstrate your abilities and in order to carve out a small area of expertise. But because many of the problems that we face today are complex and will necessarily require science and technology to solve them, scientists and engineers are increasingly being asked to comment on and address large scale questions. Training students to be able to play this vital role in modern society should be a part of every graduate curriculum. Mastering this role takes many people a lifetime, but it is possible to give students a head start by introducing them to some basic ideas about the role that science plays in the world. This presentation will cover a handful of the lessons that can help science and engineering students better understand the ways in which their work can affect the world and the role they play in it. These include: 1. Even though they may be working on something that is very very small, it ten years it could have an effect on somebody on the other side of the world. 2. Policymakers help to direct the kind of work that they engage in. 3. They in turn have the ability to influence the decisions that policymakers make. 4. Science and technologies only work when they are embedded in larger systems. 5. Slight changes in the focus or direction of scientific work can significantly increase the chances that they will result in a benefit to society 6. The ability to communicate to non-scientific audiences is a key skill necessary to ensure that the right people understand their work. . 7. If you want to benefit society, you have to listen to what it is that people want. Nobody actually knows what the technical possibilities are until there is somebody in the lab beginning to design it. If we want an early understanding of what the possibilities were, we need to train scientists to think about these things. This presentation will be paired with Dr. Ira Bennett’s talk on strategies for implementing these lessons.
11:15 AM - ZZ3.08
Using Deliberation and Consensus to Engage Adults in Nanoscience
We all hope that the promise of the next industrial revolution, nanotechnology, will come to fruition, benefiting not only science but also society. The path is fraught with uncertainty and fear that the risks will outweigh the benefits, and that once we let the metaphorical genie out of the bottle, it cannot go back. Some scientists and engineers work to advance the field technically while others study the implication and impact these advances have on the environment, safety, and society. Nanotechnology is not the first to undergo scrutiny. Nuclear energy, genetically modified organisms, biotechnology, and stem-cell research are all at the center of their own scientific and social controversies. The objective of ‘upstream engagement’ is to get the public involved in the discussion early in the advancement of the technology and before widespread public opinions have been formed . In collaboration, the Education/ Outreach and Societal Implications groups of the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison developed an outreach activity to engage the public in a discussion on nanotechnology through deliberation and consensus. In the short two-hour outreach activities, participants were assigned an area of research impacted by advances in nanoscience. They were provided with materials intended to help them determine three benefits and three perceived risks in their assigned area of research which they shared with the larger group. The entire group then used consensus-based deliberation to allot funds from a “nanotechnology budget” toward the various areas of research and development. This activity allows the participants to not only consider the risks and the benefits of nanotechnology in their assigned area but to also share their new-found knowledge and serve as a resource to the larger group, effectively equalizing the roles of all participants regardless of pre-existing knowledge. We present a detailed description of the activity and the results of pre- and post-activity surveys in terms of its impact on participants’ support and interest in nanotechnology.
11:30 AM - ZZ3.09
Approaching Materials Science and Solar Energy to Uruguayan School Children
Perez Barthaburu, Ivana
Cardenas, Ana Lia
Bentos Pereira, Mauricio
Rodriguez Chialanza, Laura
There is an extended concern related to renewable energies in South America. Particularly the Uruguayan government is encouraging initiatives in solar, biofuels and eolic energy issues. On the other hand, and in a similar manner than in other countries, Uruguay celebrates the “Science and Technology Week”, an activity annually organized, focused on sharing knowledge between scientists and technologists and society. In 2012, such week was devoted to energy and sustainability. In this framework we carried out an interactive activity in four primary schools seeking for nearing materials science and solar energy to children between 10 and 12 years old. In the beginning of the activity we asked students to complete a brief survey containing a few questions about materials and energy. This survey allowed us to deepen on childrens background about these topics. Then, we introduced materials science history relating it with mankind development. From the active participation of children in the activity, we derived to materials applied in solar cells, performing demonstrations with real solar cells and showing their importance for improving our country energetic efficiency while preserving the environment. At the end of each activity students showed great enthusiasm about including alternative energies in our daily life. Besides, they realized the importance of materials science, and were capable of understanding the relation between materials and the development of solar cells. We consider the spread of this activity as an excellent way of creating consciousness from early ages to achieve a more sustainable country.
11:45 AM - ZZ3.10
Using Nanoscience as a Theme for Capstone Projects in an Elementary Education Majors Science Course
The national interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) has called attention to P-12 education, the STEM pipeline. Education of teachers is a primary influence on the education of children in the classroom. While high school (and often middle school) teachers are versed in the content of a particular aspect of STEM (e.g. Mathematics or Chemistry), elementary teachers, on the other end of the pipeline, are educated as generalists, with a primary goal of setting the foundations for future learning. In 2004, a team of STEM and Education faculty at St. Catherine University (SCU) were called together, united by their interest in improving STEM education of all students at SCU, particularly women. Combining the content expertise of the biology, chemistry, physics/engineering, and mathematics departments with the methods expertise of the education department, the team designed courses that made STEM concepts more engaging and relevant to students. For elementary teachers, these courses were intended to provide them with the skill set necessary to teach these concepts in elementary school. Throughout the first few years, an organic process developed with teams of STEM and education faculty checking state and national standards; selecting appropriate learning activities and assessment methods; and redesigning courses to meet desired outcomes. In 2010, the STEM Certificate was solidified and required of all elementary education students. It is comprised of three interdisciplinary, team-taught, lab-based courses that are open to all undergraduate majors at the institution. Each course is centered on one discipline (i.e., biology, chemistry, or engineering/physics). Chemistry of Life is the chemistry-focused course. The course was designed to include a capstone project. As an introduction to materials science, nanoscience was selected as the theme for the projects. The topic allowed for socially relevant and also highly interdisciplinary projects. Students learned about chemical and physical properties of materials at both the macro and micro level. Projects included exploring the properties of magic sand™, testing nanofabricated sunscreens and fabrics, exploring the antimicrobial behavior of nano-silver band aids, creating a hydrophobic nanolayer on a silver surface, and viewing graphene layers using an electron microscope. Student’s working in teams of three or four, designed projects, determined how to measure and obtain data, and analyzed and interpreted results. The teams presented their work in poster form on campus at our science forum, Science at St. Kate’s Day. A content and confidence assessment given to students before and after the projects showed an increase in both their understanding of nanomaterials and their confidence in conducting a nanoscience project.
ZZ4: Innovative Examples of Social Relevancy in Education
Chair: Katherine Chen
- Wednesday PM, November 28, 2012
- Hynes, Level 3, Room 300
1:30 PM - ZZ4.01
Designing an Interface to Facilitate Research and Engage the Public on Material Choice Impacts upon High Performance Residential Housing
Residential buildings account for 40% of the energy consumed in the U.S. Whether building a new high performance home or retro-fitting an existing home to energy star standards, there are several systems in the home that can be addressed in terms of energy efficiency, such as the building envelope (walls, roof and basement), Windows and doors, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning. All of these systems require materials selection and integration to fulfill their purpose effectively. The process of materials selection with respect to quantitative performance factors is known as life cycle assessment. Life cycle assessment (LCA) provides a process for making strategic decisions in a design-build operation, and offers metrics of physical properties relative to environmental economic attributes to evaluate social values within the physical needs for living (documented in ISO 14040:2006). The Union County Housing Authority (UCHA) Energy Efficient Housing Program seeks to reduce utility costs as a way to make homes affordable and sustainable. UCHA's goal for the Energy Efficient Housing Program (EEHP) is to "produce affordable model housing in Union County that is highly energy efficient and uses current technology;" additionally they sought to make the EEHP a model through public engagement and dissemination of project results and findings. To that end, the UCHA has constructed a current state-of-the-art duplex, along with retrofitting a couple of existing homes for significantly improved energy performance. Each of these four homes will soon have owner occupants. The fleet of homes has about one year’s worth of data for performance as empty units. A group of students from Materials Science and Engineering, Energy Engineering, Energy, Business and Finance, and Architecture were charged with designing a web based interface that will allow access for researchers, owner occupants, and the general public to interact with the UCHA program in general and the recently completed energy efficient homes in particular. Furthermore, the website was to be designed to educate the general public and contractors about making material choices and on physical methods related to retro-fitting existing homes for energy efficiency. Finally, the students were to analyze and publish existing data on the homes energy performance as empty units and design the website so that data on the units’ performance based on owner occupant behaviors could be acquired and researchers can compare and contrast the data sets for optimizing performance of the high performance homes. This talk will review the progress made to date on the website and discuss the challenges and strategies associated with directing students from multiple disciplines in engaging the public and private sectors to collect relevant information related to material choices for improved energy performance of housing and then re-distribute in an accessible manner via the internet.
1:45 PM - ZZ4.02
Clean Energy: Nanoparticles, Chemical Reactions, and Light
This module will provide teachers with hands-on inquiry learning opportunity to experiment with exciting nanoscience as demonstrated through the interaction of light, energy, and chemical reactions. The experiments will demonstrate basic principles of why nanomaterials, such as Titanium Dioxide, behave different than other materials. Teachers will learn about new technologies at the frontiers of science important to our growing economy to include the development of emerging products and processes. Specifically, the module provides teachers with hands on opportunity to learn basics of how nanoscience is tied to solar energy, self-cleaning glass and renewable energy source generation using solar energy. The experiments and content of this module are appropriate for middle school national science standards for grades 5-8 addressing (1) student abilities to do scientific inquiry, and (2) transfer of energy to include (a) light transmission, absorption and scattering as well as (b) energy as a property of many substances and its association with heat, light, electricity, mechanical motion, sound, atomic nuclei, and the nature of a chemical. Specific to the State of Alabama Standards for 8th grade, the module presented will (1) describe how waves travel through media, and (2) describe the electromagnetic spectrum in terms of frequency (e.g., electro spectrum in increasing frequencies-microwaves, infrared light, visible light, ultraviolet light). Teachers have had an opportunity to work in a laboratory with researchers and graduate students from the University of Alabama, to learn about important work on-going with federal agencies, and how new concepts are being disseminated.
2:00 PM - ZZ4.03
Integrating the NAE Grand Challenges and Holographically-formed Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal Thin Films into the Kenyan High School Curriculum
There exists a dearth of access to graduate level experiences in materials science and engineering within the developing world. Furthermore, access to cutting-edge technologies is especially challenging at the K-12 level in these countries. In this work, a problem-based, hands on set of modules for integrating Holographically-formed Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal (H-PDLC) Bragg Grating thin films into the Kenyan secondary physics and chemistry curriculum is proposed. Through funding provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF), a pilot study of the integration of these modules and the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) Grand Challenges for Engineering into the Kenyan curriculum is carried out as part of a graduate visiting scholar program at a secondary school in a rural town in the Kenyan highlands. 35 students from Forms 2 and 3 (Grade 10 and 11 equivalent) were introduced to the underlying principles behind creating an image, light waves, holography, polymers and liquid crystals. Students were then provided a series of hands-on, problem based activities. In the first activity, students’ experience with electromagnetic waves was enhanced by creating their own holographic setup. Then, students’ knowledge of materials and materials science was addressed through activities using photo-initiated polymerizations and thermotropic liquid crystals. Finally, students were given the ability to create their own single pixel drive circuitry and test out their setup by modulating PDLC and H-PDLC thin films. All activities were developed and carried as a professional development tool and international experience for NSF GK12 fellows. H-PDLC thin films are electro-optically modulating, wavelength-specific filters used in fiber optic communications, beam stearing, reflective display and spectroscopic applications. As a result, the underlying technical and materials science principles connect very well with a number of the NAE Grand Challenges for Engineering, such as Preventing Nuclear Terror, Providing Access to Clean Water and Engineering the Tools of Scientific Discovery (optical spectroscopy), Enhancing Virtual Reality (holographic imaging, display technologies), and Securing Cyberspace (encrypted optical communications). All activities were directly integrated into the Kenyan countrywide Physics, Chemistry and Math Curricula for Forms 2 and 3. A visual tool (Matatu Map) to demonstrate the interconnectivity of these topics with the NAE Grand Challenges was developed and provided for the students. The efficacy of these integrated modules in communicating real world materials science and engineering challenges was examined using qualitative and quantitative (Likert-based self-assessment) means. Lastly, efficacy of this experience in assisting graduate students to learn to communicate effectively to a broad audience is explored. A method for expanding the use of this experience with other graduate students is proposed.
2:15 PM - ZZ4.04
Nanoscience Education and Outreach for Middle School Teachers
The Center for Probing the Nanoscale, an NSF-funded Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center at Stanford University, aims to attract increasing numbers of students to STEM disciplines and provide a scientifically literate populace by enhancing the knowledge base and teaching skills of their classroom teachers. Teacher professional development programs are crucial for strengthening K-12 science education. We have chosen to focus on middle school since it is the apparent beginning of the science and engineering pipeline problem. According to 2007 data from the National Center for Education Statistics, student performance in physical science relative to international norms drops between 4th to 8th grade from above average to average. Reported enthusiasm for science also drops substantially from 64% of 4th graders interested in science to 50% in the 8th grade, according to data from the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress. Our Summer Institute for Middle School Teachers (SIMST) deepens teachers’ knowledge of physical science and communicates the relevance of nano science and technology to daily life. The goals are to help teachers inspire thousands of middle school students, increase their comfort level with teaching science, and provide a peer support network. SIMST targets teachers from a broad range of middle schools, primarily from the California Bay Area. School diversity is a key factor in acceptance of teachers to increase the participation of teachers from high-need schools. More than half of SIMST teachers serve schools with a majority of students from minority groups underrepresented in the sciences or who are on reduced lunch programs. At the week-long Institute, teachers learn about the physical concepts underlying nanotechnology and nanoscience through content lectures by Stanford scientists, inquiry-based activities, and tours of research laboratories and facilities. Ready-to-use, low-cost kits and modules that explicitly address state and national science content standards are provided to teachers for classroom implementation. These activities are meant to aid in designing lessons adapted for the needs of individual classrooms. During SIMST, collaborative sessions facilitate the integration of these hands-on activities into lesson plans. This presentation will discuss the best practices and effective activities for education and outreach developed during seven years of SIMST.
2:30 PM - ZZ4.05
Making Nanoscience Accessible through Haptics
Information Research Corporation, based in Fairmont, WV, is currently developing software applications for a haptics device. The Novint Falcon, a rugged, low-cost haptic controller, provides high-fidelity, three-dimensional force feedback with a controller that moves right /left, forwards/backwards, and up/down. When a user holds the Falcon’s grip and moves a cursor to interact with a virtual object, motors in the device turn on and are updated approximately 1000 times per second, letting them feel haptic effects such as texture, shape, weight, dimension, and dynamics. The Falcon provides control and interaction with a virtual environment in a realistic way. The eTouchSciences software apps provide a 3-D environment that presents meaningful educational experiences in middle school level subjects including chemistry, biology, mathematics, nanoscience, physics, earth sciences, life sciences, and astronomy. Audio and high resolution graphic feedback accompanies the tactile feedback to provide students with a rich multi-modal experience that is exciting and effective for all students, but especially those with low vision or who are blind. Two nanoscience apps currently under development by a summer undergraduate researcher will focus on introducing i) the concept of nanoscale and ii) forms of carbon. Forms of carbon will introduce the student to the different crystal structures of carbon (graphite and diamond) and how this relates to macroscopic physical properties. The student will also be able to construct a carbon nanotube out of one layer of graphite. This project will culminate in Spring 2013 with one-day training for middle school teachers in West Virginia to learn about the device and apps. Teachers will receive a device and will be able to provide feedback and suggest new ideas for applications. Ultimately, teachers, developers, students and other educators will participate in an online forum and store in order to buy/sell/develop applications for use with a Novint Falcon device. Funding for this project is provided by US Department of Education SBIR FastTrack Contract #ED-IES-11-C-0028, West Virginia University STEM SURE program, West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, WV EPScoR, and NSF Cooperative Agreement 1003907
2:45 PM - ZZ4.06
Connecting with the Public on ‘Nano’ - Lessons from a Demo Using Ouzo and Laser Pointers
The general public is typically positive towards ‘Nano’. People have the sense that some cool and powerful ‘stuff’ is happening there, but have also heard rumblings that nano may be dangerous. In both cases they often have limited and anecdotal information from which to draw informed conclusions. We are developing and will present lessons learned from a new demonstration, currently for 1-on-1 and small group science expo table use, that appears to captivate and lead to active learning for ages seven to adult. ‘Making Nanoparticles with Ouzo’ involves: -introducing issues in measuring and seeing particles (droplets of cooking oil in water/detergent) below 0.1 to 1 mm -introducing light as having wave properties like water waves, but with wavelengths in the nm range -introducing green (510 nm) and red (650 nm) laser pointers as ‘rulers’ -introducing the liqueur Ouzo and its anetole additive as a blend of water, alcohol and water insoluble but invisible nanoparticles (So you should be asking me: ‘Prove that statement.’) -demonstrating that the anetole particles do not initially scatter laser light, but do as water is added and particle sizes increase, first with the green (attractive light scattering bars along the laser beam), then with the red laser, and then all visible wavelengths. -allowing a (preferably young) visitor to ‘make nanoparticles’ by warming up a cold sample of cloudy anetole particles (micron size) in warm water until they vanish. (Most people ‘get it’, and that successful counterintuitive leap nicely spurs interest and enthusiasm.) A lot of information is presented, but a surprising amount of it seems to stick, if it is presented and built in story form from widely appreciated concepts, with samples and props people can see and hold, with a few diagrams and written descriptions, and with time for people to ask questions and understand along the way. Enthusiasm from the presenter also can be contagious. Visitors often end up discussing applications, and possible issues, of nanoparticle dispersions.
3:00 PM -
3:30 PM - ZZ4.07
Biomineralization of Calcium Carbonate in Abalone Shells: A Curriculum Module for Alabama Black Belt Middle Schools
In this paper, we discuss the development of a curriculum module focused on the biomineralization of calcium carbonate in abalone shells. Mother-of-pearl is the best-known example of a natural nano-composite that exhibits structural characteristics that exceed those of its constituent components. Indeed, this material is about 95% calcium carbonate and a few percent organic biopolymer. Its laminated structure leads to a roughly two-fold increase in strength and a three order of magnitude increase in toughness. In this module, materials properties of bulk calcium carbonate are compared to those of the abalone shell. The enhancement of materials properties through bottom up nanoassembly processes is discussed. Development of curriculum modules at the nano-bio interface is part of our ongoing effort to increase the academic achievement of Alabama Black Belt middle school students in mathematics and science and to attract increasing numbers of students to STEM disciplines by enhancing the knowledge base and teaching skills of their classroom teachers. Our program attempts to enhance the existing middle school science curriculum and our modules involve conducting experiments and analyzing data in order to better understand issues associated with nano-biology. Our curriculum design process is collaborative (involving master teachers) and data-driven (including independent assessment). In this paper, we describe our experiences to date, including a discussion of preliminary assessment results.
3:45 PM - ZZ4.08
The Power of Nanoscale - Size Effect
After more than two decades of basic nanoscience research, nanotechnology is delivering its promise to benefit our society. To have students well prepared for the advent of the nano-era, effective education in nanoscience and nanotechnology at their early age is pivotal. Here a module on Nano was developed by the cross disciplinary team from the University of Alabama to engage and demonstrate K-12 grade students the “Power of Nano”. As material structures are scaled down to exceedingly small dimensions, particularly to the magic number - nanometer, surface area to volume ratio increases dramatically. In the module, this unique size effect is exposed to the participants using a variety of examples. To promote student-centered learning, the module utilizes the 5E instructional model consisting of engage, explore, explanation, elaborate, and evaluation phases and aligns with the Nationals Science Education Standard and Next Generation Science Standards. Through hands-on activities, PowerPoint presentation, and 3D visualizations, middle and high school students will be given a set of knowledge tools to impart critical concepts on Nano and perceive the “Power of Nano” in terms of size effect!
4:00 PM - ZZ4.09
Undergraduate Nanobiotechnology Laboratory at Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Nanobiotechnology is a new field that probes the intersection of nanomaterials with biological molecules and cells. Innovations in nanobiotechnology are driving new medical and industrial applications. While undergraduate students have no doubt heard of the importance of nanotechnology, relatively few can appreciate how the scale of matter affects the fundamental science or behavior of a system. Further, our undergraduate curricula do not include enough exploration-based laboratory courses in which students work towards solving a problem in collaborative teams. By emphasizing the way that society can benefit from improvements in nanomaterials research and applications, we can capture the interest of more students, especially those from underrepresented minority groups. There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that the best way to attract females and minorities to engineering, in general, is to show them how the work they choose can positively impact society. This presentation discusses the creation at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) of an inquiry-based laboratory module that is designed to expose students to nanomaterials, increase specific skills in nanomaterial synthesis and characterization, augment their interest and confidence in pursuing the subject matter, and encourage them to pursue higher-level nano-courses as well as research projects. Faculty at the departments of Mechanical Engineering and Chemical Engineering at WPI introduced a Nanobiotechnology Laboratory Experience class for sophomores. Based on Felder and Silverman’s 5-E Instructional Model which has students Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate and Evaluate, this three-credit course comprises two major sessions: 1. Lecture and conference for learning background, principles and experimental tools and discussing experimental design and lab results; 2. Lab activities for learning and using experimental tools, such as scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and nanoparticle synthesis and characterization, to carry out the experimental design. The course was offered during the Spring 2011 and Spring 2012. A total of 29 students completed the course. Students increased knowledge of nanomaterials and nanobiotechnology, sustained high interest in subject matter, enhanced written and oral communication skills, and reported higher self-rating of their ability to solve open-ended problems after taking this course. In this presentation, the challenges and experience on offering such an interdisciplinary undergraduate laboratory course will be summarized. The evaluation results and students’ feedback will be presented. The improvements and future work will be discussed.
4:15 PM - ZZ4.10
Web-based Interactive Resources for Studying OLED Technology
The paper describes a set of online educational modules developed to introduce students to OLEDs (Organic Light-Emitting Diodes) and to help them understand the underlying concepts and principles behind the design and operation of the diodes. OLED’s are one of the most excited contemporary technologies and are increasingly heavily used in many gadgets familiar to every teenager. In order to make learning science and engineering fun, an interactive multimedia-rich format is used. The fundamental principles underlying the design, application, and production of OLEDs and OLED-based devices are demonstrated and explained in the context of touch screen ultrathin displays and energy-efficient lightnings. The web-based resources are comprised of the following five major modules: - The module “Applications” uses video clips combined with flash animations to show various applications of OLEDs in devices like TVs, cell phones, tablets, and flexible displays as well as energy-efficient lighting. The videos demonstrate where and how the OLEDs are used in each device to show just how prominent OLED technology is, even today. The module materials help students comprehend the advantages and shortcomings of OLEDs. The first module is also aimed to spark students’ interest and motivate them to learn more about the OLED technology and the underlying fundamental principles. - The second module is designed to assist students in understanding the layered structure of an OLED. The simulation allows users to split a diode into its component layers, which are easy to see, and then the student can explore each of the layers one by one. The module also helps students understand multicolored OLEDs. - The third module is an online lab in which students are required to prepare a simple OLED, by using virtual materials and tools. The simulation enables the user to walk through the process step by step and prepare a very basic virtual OLED. - The fourth module helps students understand the operation of an active matrix OLED (AMOLED) flat panel display which uses switching thin-film transistors (TTF) and storage capacitors for each pixel and line by line multiplex scanning. This is one of the most difficult concepts to understand and explain to high school students. The users learn the subject by playing a simple computer game. - The last module visualizes the detailing of the electron transfer in OLEDs, delocalization of pi electrons, as well as other related processes occurring at the microscopic level and helps students understand the fundamental scientific concepts behind the operation of OLEDs. Preliminary testing has shown that students like the interactive simulations and find the embedded game engaging. The students believe that the simulations have given them a better understanding of the applications, benefits, shortcomings, and the great potential of OLED technology.
4:30 PM - ZZ4.11
Teaching the Nanotechnology Manufacturing Workforce Utilizing Resource Sharing
The Penn State Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization (CNEU) has thirteen years of experience in forming, supporting, and sustaining resource-sharing partnerships for nanotechnology education and workforce training. This partnership approach started at Penn State has evolved into the NSF National Nanotechnology Applications and Career Knowledge (NACK) Network. The NACK Network is a nation-wide team of research universities, which have the needed nanotechnology facilities and expertise, and teaching institutions, which have such a critical role to play in nanotechnology education but often lack facilities and faculty expertise. To match the country’s education resources with its workforce development needs, the NACK Network encourages and supports the formation of hubs across the US in which community colleges, with the support and partnership of research universities, join together to give a hands-on meaningful nanotechnology experience in a shared location. This may be at one of the community colleges, at the research university partner, or use some combination of both. The NACK Network also provides faculty development opportunities and nanomaterials engineering education support materials for these community and technical colleges. The latter include power point and videoed lectures and labs. In this contribution we intend to share NACK’s experiences in: i) leading the development of education partnerships and enabling 2-year and 4-year nanotechnology degrees to be offered across the United States; ii) conducting nanotechnology education workshops for secondary and post-secondary faculty; iii) conducting camps for secondary school students; iv) developing web resources including downloadable lectures, demos, kits and modules; v) providing distant education training, virtual laboratory experience, and remote web accessibility to material characterization tools; vi) offering regular webinars informing the public about nano-material engineering and applications in engineering and health professions; and vii) conducting nanotechnology short courses for incumbent workers in industry. The NACK experience is that there are cultural issues, which must be overcome in developing an effective nanotechnology education partnership between a research university and a teaching institution. One such cultural problem is the reluctance of researchers to give up time on characterization tools or processing tools to turn them over for educational functions. Another is the worry of researchers that students taking experimental courses in nanomaterial engineering and nanofabrication will degrade facilities and compromise clean room integrity. The Penn State experience is that these and many other issues need to be recognized and addressed for the successful establishment of effective nanotechnology manufacturing workforce education.
4:45 PM - ZZ4.12
Multidisciplinary NanoScience Certificate Program at UTB: Activities and Lessons Learned
This presentation reports the development of a novel multidisciplinary NanoScience Certificate Program (NCP) at University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB) intended to prepare undergraduate students to emerging nanotechnology markets, industry trends, cutting edge research and technology developments. The rationale for the NCP is to integrate and expand nanotechnology-relevant courses within a comprehensive curriculum. The established certificate program includes the following seven new upper level undergraduate courses: (i) Introduction to Nanoscience, (ii) Engineering of Nanomaterials, (iii) Nanofabrication and Nanoelectronics, (iv) Introduction to Bio-Nanotechnology, (v) Environmental Nanotechnology, (vi) NanoOptics, (vii) Capstone Design. This program is designed to address the needs for a multidisciplinary undergraduate education at UTB which extends beyond traditional courses within disciplines which are taught by various departments. The NCP courses and course materials are developed by faculty from Physics, Engineering and Chemistry departments. The designed courses will expose students to the nanotechnology areas as part of integration of nanoscience in UTB’s undergraduate programs. During the lecture series, students will be expected to gain understanding in nanotechnology, nanoscale manufacturing techniques, various advanced nanomaterials and nano-devices development, as well as ethical and health issues and handling procedures of nanomaterials. To complete the NCP and receive a Certificate in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, students must complete 12 credit-hours of NCP courses. Our ultimate goal is to establish and maintain at UTB a practical, modular, scalable, transferrable and implementable educational STEM platform in nano-sciences, engineering and nanotechnology.