Cutting It Down to Nano

“Cutting it Down” is a cart demo that communicates scale through a hands-on activity. Visitors learn that the nanometer size scale is very, very small—and that we can’t use macroscale tools to manipulate nanoscale materials. During the program, visitors are challenged to cut a small strip of paper in half as many times as they can—or until they reach the nanoscale, which ever comes first.

Exploring Nanotechnology through Consumer Products (Middle and High School curriculum lesson)

After an introductory PowerPoint on nanotechnology students are given a chance in groups to explore consumer products through an information sheet provided over available consumer products. After learning about products students can create a presentation for a particular product; test their product; or research a career in nanotechnology.

SI System and Nanoscale Science (Middle School curriculum lesson)

This unit provides activities for students to learn about the metric system of measurement. A connection to the nanoscale is made by having students read the How Stuff Works article –“How Nanotechnology Works” and answer questions about the article. Further connections of size and the nanoscale can be found in the Resources at the end of the unit.

How Big is a Nanometer? (Middle and High School curriculum lesson)

The purpose of this activity is to help students conceptualize the magnitude of a nanometer compared to other metric units of length. At the end of this activity, students will be able to state the size of a nanometer, convert between nanometers and other metric units of length, and give concrete examples of nanotechnology use in everyday life. At the conclusion of this unit, students will create a 7-10 minute class presentation to demonstrate their learning.

Scale Models (Elementary, Middle, and High School curriculum lesson)

This lesson introduces scale by demonstrating scales as factors of ten. This facilitates the introduction and reinforcement of the metric scale and paves the way to the discussion of lengths that are smaller than what can be seen with the naked eye. The lesson also introduces the concept of using different tools to address different length scales. Understanding size and scale is fundamental to learning about nanotechnology as size defines the nanoscale. This activity connects well to the introduction of atoms and cell structures as well as advancements in technology.

Nanotechnology Part 1: Explore the Nanoscale and Part 2: Nanoproperties

Australian animated videos on nanoscience scale (Part 1) and properties (Part 2).

Underpinning an understanding of nanotechnology are two foundational aspects. First appreciating the nanoscale - how might we imagine one billionth of a meter? And second exploring novel nano properties such as conductivity, color and reactivity. This pair of animations explores both scale and properties.

Vote Nano!

Visitors will engage in a variety of survey type questions focusing on different aspects of nanotechnology. For each question posed, they will be provided short descriptions about the possible options. They will then place their vote using a marble in the container labeled with their selection. Throughout the day the public will be able to visualize how others have answered the same question by looking at the quantity of marbles in each container. Museum staff can use the data to chart trends in public knowledge about nanotechnology.


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