In NNIN, we have a program called the NNIN Research Experience for Teachers (NNIN RET). The teachers who were participants in this program have presented instructional nanotechnology units at the as cancer detection and treatment.
Dr. Nancy Healy, Education Coordinator of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN). The NNIN is a National Science Foundation funded program that supports nanoscience researchers by providing state-of-the-art nanotechnology facilities,
NSTA meetings. The teachers developed these units as a result of their summer nanotechnology research experiences at such colleges as Georgia Tech, Harvard, Howard University, Penn State, and the University of California, Santa Barbara. In 2006, 19 teachers participated in the NNIN RET and their units were presented to schoolteachers at the 2007 NSTA. After the presentations, the schoolteachers visited our NSTA exhibit booth to review the units and to get additional information. These units are posted or will be posted on our Web site.
One teacher, from Gwinnett County, Georgia, created a physics and literature unit based on material in the Ratner and Ratner book, Nan-otechnology, A Gentle Introduction to the Next Big Idea. Even though she teaches advanced placement physics, she included literature materials into the unit. Then, she brought the unit to the elementary grades by having her students create books on what the future will be like with nanotechnology. In the beginning, the NNIN RET involved all high school teachers with physics and chemistry backgrounds. We now have added middle school teachers with backgrounds in physical science and in basic biology.
The NNIN program sponsors volunteers who go to local schools and work with student groups who visit the Georgia Tech Campus. What kinds of activity lessons do they present? Are any of these lessons available for teachers?
Yes, lessons are available to teachers. As an example, we have our "Modeling Self-Assembly" lesson and another lesson on hydrophobic and hy-drophilic properties posted on the education portal. We are nowprepar-ing and working on another 20 units that will be available to teachers.
We also have a teacher resource flyer that we hand out to teachers and that flyer is available on the Georgia Tech Web site (http://www.mirc.gatech.edu/education.php). The NNIN goal is to provide information to teachers so they can go to one place for specific information on nanotechnology units, such as a chemistry unit, that they can use in their classes.
The NNIN program has a variety of summer camps for high-school aged students. What do the students learn at these camps?
Every camp we have provides an introduction to nanotechnology. We give the kids an understanding of what nano is and where it is going. Every camp has information on education and career opportunities. So, kids get an idea what the field is, where it is going, and what jobs will be available. All the camps bring the kids into some kind of laboratory facility. At Georgia Tech, they visit at least three research laboratories learning about what the researchers are doing in their own labs. Students
The University of Michigan conducts a nanoelectronics camp for students. In this photo, students are working with a professor in a cleanroom environment. (Courtesy National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network)
also visit a cleanroom facility to learn how it is used in nanotechnology. At some camps, students can do microchip preparation using a cleanroom. The camps provide a lot of exposure in the nanotechnology field.
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