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Laying The Foundation For Nanoscience And Nanotechnology With An Introductory Module For High School Students

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Conference

2006 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

NEW Lab Experiments in Materials Science

Tagged Division

Materials

Page Count

12

Page Numbers

11.864.1 - 11.864.12

DOI

10.18260/1-2--1464

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/1464

Download Count

126

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Paper Authors

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Valerie Maynard Northwestern University

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is a Research Associate: Content Developer in the Materials Research Institute, Northwestern University. She received a Ph.D. in biophysics from the University of Illinois—Urbana-Champaign. She taught introductory college physics for 10 years and then, frustrated with the abilities of incoming freshmen, went to work on improving science education at the pre-college level.

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Matthew Hsu Northwestern University

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is a Research Associate: Content Developer in the Materials Research Institute, Northwestern University. He received a Ph.D. in materials science from Northwestern University. He has worked with the Materials World Modules since their inception.

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Katherine Chen California Polytechnic State University

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is an Associate Professor in the Materials Engineering Department at Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo, CA. Her degrees are from Michigan State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has a strong interest in K-12 education, and spent her sabbatical with the NCLT at Northwestern University.

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R.P.H. Chang Northwestern University

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is Professor of Materials Science & Engineering and Director of the Materials Research Institute at Northwestern University. His degrees are from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Princeton University. He is also Director of Materials World Modules, an NSF-funded, inquiry-based science and technology educational program.

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Laying The Foundation For Nanoscience And Nanotechnology With An Introductory Module For High School Students

Abstract

In response to the need to create a skilled workforce in nanotechnology and to excite young students with the wonders and potentials of science, the National Center for Learning and Teaching in Nanoscale Science and Engineering, is developing educational materials for grades 7 – 16. Learning theory and cutting-edge research are used in the development of modules on nanoscience and nanotechnology. This paper describes the rationale for such materials and describes an introductory module in which students are lead through a series of inquiry-based and hands-on activities, which lead to a design project. Its goal is to teach an underlying principle in nanoscience and nanotechnology—the significance of the surface-area-to-volume ratio as objects get very small. The first section of the module investigates how the physical form of a material can influence the degree to which an object interacts with its environment. Different forms of different materials (steel, superabsorbent polymer, and sugar) are investigated as a function of dimensionality and size. The second section is centered on math tools needed to express very small quantities, viz., powers of 10 and scaling, and we intend that students get a feel for how small “nano” is. Shape and size effects on surface areas and volumes are explored in the third section. Graphs illustrate how the surface area to volume ratio changes with size. Consequences of such a trend are discussed in readings about nature and new technologies. The culminating event is an open-ended design project that incorporates the concepts from the previous activities and facilitates engineering design skills. Preliminary field testing has yielded both qualitative and statistical results.

Introduction To the Science & Technology

A seed was planted in 1959 by Richard Feynman when he postulated that it was possible to write “the entire 24 volumes of the Encyclopedia Brittanica on the head of a pin.” 1 The idea lay dormant until the early 1980s, when technology made it practical to visualize and even manipulate individual atoms on surfaces. The result was a new realm of science and technology—the nano-realm. The nanoscale is between the microscale and the atomic scale. With respect to lengths, the nanoscale ranges between about 1 and 100 nanometers; it may extend into the hundreds of nanometers.

Being able to understand and manipulate objects and functions at this scale has extraordinary potential for two general reasons. The first may be obvious. Feynman’s proposal is an example. Just being small—very small—is sometimes a big advantage, as in information storage, and as in interacting with other small things. For example, the building blocks of life are nanoscale objects. The medical area is expected to be especially impacted by nanotechnology.

The second reason is not so obvious. It may seem surprising that a scale larger than the atomic scale is a new area of science and technology. Nevertheless, it is true that scientists understand the atomic scale much better than the nanoscale. This is because the nanoscale does not “play by the rules”. The “rules” that are relevant for the microscale (and larger), Newtonian mechanics, and those for the atomic scale, quantum mechanics, are well understood. It is somewhere in the nanoscale—in the transition from the dominance of one set of rules to the other—where surprising behaviors are opening doors to possibilities where we did not know that doors even existed, such as a piece of tape 1 cm2 that can hold up 20 kg—and then be removed as easily as a

Maynard, V., & Hsu, M., & Chen, K., & Chang, R. (2006, June), Laying The Foundation For Nanoscience And Nanotechnology With An Introductory Module For High School Students Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1464

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