The Right Tool for the Job (Elementary School curriculum lesson)

The purpose of this lesson is to encourage students to think about how using tools helps them gather information about the world around them. This is especially important at the nanoscale, where the objects are too small to be seen and the information we gather depends on the tools that we use. Having elementary students learn about tools and their purpose will allow them to build on these skills as they become middle and secondary students.

Taking a Closer Look at Objects (Elementary and Middle School curriculum lesson)

For students to understand their world they often need to use tools to gather information. Some tools will help them see parts of their surrounding world that they would otherwise miss. These tools include magnifying glasses and microscopes. The lesson can be conducted as a learning center or as a teacher-led whole class instruction. These can be used along with other activities discussed in the book Microscopes and Magnifying Lenses by Janice VanCleave.

Synthesis and Characterization of CdSe Quantum Dots (High School and Undergraduate curriculum lesson)

In this laboratory, students will study how surfactant-based chemistry can be used to synthesize CdSe quantum dots and study how the size of the quantum dots can be controlled by varying reaction time. The laboratory will demonstrate how the color of these quantum dots can be connected to the size of the nanoparticle by considering the electrons as freely moving particles in a box with the dimensions of the nanoparticle. The model of will be compared with more exact results, and use this to create a calibration curve.

Nanotechnology Invention and Design: Phase Changes, Energy, and Crystals (High School curriculum lesson)

This 3-part lesson introduces the nanoscale effect of various energy inputs on the crystal lattice of a smart material, Nitinol, and then invites students to become nanotechnology inventors. Students will first explore how energy exchanges lead to solid-state phase changes at the macroscale and explore the applications of this nanotechnology.

Lines on Paper (High School curriculum lesson)

Students will learn how scientists use a process called X-ray diffraction to figure out the structure of things that are too small to see such as atoms, molecules, and crystal structures.This lab will help students understand how light is bent into different directions as it interacts with small objects, especially those on the nanoscale (1-100nm). Students will create and explore their own diffraction gratings.

Is Measuring an Art or a Science (High School curriculum lesson)

Nanotechnology occurs on the scale of 1-100 nanometers (in one direction). There have been numerous predictions about the growth in nanotechnology production and its impact on manufacturing in the near future. Manufacturing and commercial exchange of nano products will create a need for high-quality measurement technology. This lesson introduces students to the concept of measurement and how important and difficult such measurement is at the nanoscale.

Making a Liquid Crystal Thermometer (High School curriculum lesson)

Liquid crystals are matter that has properties between those of a liquid and a solid. Liquid crystals may flow like a liquid but have crystals like a solid.colors of the objects are Color is the outcome of various light properties: absorption, refraction, or reflection. In the case of liquid crystals, the reflection and refraction takes place from the nanosize helices. As the stimulus changes (temperature, humidity, etc.) the pitch of the helix changes and so does the reflection. These helices are actually stacks of layers of liquid crystals that rotate in response to temperature.


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