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The Development of an Outreach Activity Introducing Middle and High School Students to Nanotechnology and Carbon Nanotubes

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Outreach Activities and Introductory Materials Engineering

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1289.1 - 25.1289.12



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Paper Authors


Tasha Zephirin Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Tasha Zephirin is a doctoral student in the Department of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She received her B.S. in electrical engineering from Virginia Tech and her research interests involve incorporating concepts from learning theories, international and global education, and multicultural education to best advise the development of STEM education to diverse audiences across the education continuum.

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Mohammad Mayy Norfolk State University

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Monica Farmer Cox Purdue University, West Lafayette


Tanya S. David Norfolk State University

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Center for Materials Research, IGERT MNM

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The Development of an Outreach Activity Introducing Middle and High School Students to Nanotechnology and Carbon Nanotubes The Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship in X (IGERT-X) supportsthe development of an interdisciplinary graduate training program centered on the design andstudy of these novel materials. The program is a collaborative effort between University A, Band C. Interdisciplinary technical training occurs in four areas: (1) Physics and Nanotechnologyof Metamaterials, (2) Magnetic Multilayer Nanostructures, (3) Nanoscale Magnetic Systems, and(4) Engineering Education Research. Graduate Trainees at participating institutions willparticipate in research under one of these four areas. A primary goal within the engineeringeducation research component is to identify ways to transfer graduate program elements and thetechnical theory behind nanoscience and nanotechnology to multiple educational stakeholders(e.g., K-12 students, undergraduate students, graduate students, and industry professionals) viacurricula, workshops etc. This paper will describe the development of an outreach activity for middle and highschool students by Graduate Trainees, including initial approaches and revisions based onobservations made from previously conducted workshops. Reflections from the Trainees willalso be included in an effort to understand how doctoral students with technical backgroundsdevelop pedagogically-sound materials that translate their research to new educational audiences.The primary goal of the developed workshop is to create an awareness of carbon nanotubes(CNTs) amongst participants and how their use in future applications within the field ofnanotechnology can benefit our society. The workshop provides a guided discussion viaPowerPoint presentation and hands-on activities about what is meant by nanotechnology, therelevance of nanotechnology and CNTs in our everyday lives, allotropes of carbon, and howcarbon sheets can be manipulated to form different CNTs (e.g. single-walled, multi-walled, etc.).With an audience of educators and outreach coordinators, a secondary goal is to demonstratehow educational frameworks such as “How People Learn” (Bransford et. al., 2002) and“Backwards Design” (Wiggins & McTighe, 2008) were incorporated in the design of theworkshop.

Zephirin, T., & Mayy, M., & Cox, M. F., & David, T. S. (2012, June), The Development of an Outreach Activity Introducing Middle and High School Students to Nanotechnology and Carbon Nanotubes Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22046

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