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It's a Small World After All: A Nanotechnology Activity in a Science Festival

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Abstract:

This paper describes a nano-activity that was designed and evaluated for a science festival for children between the ages of nine to ten years old. The nano-activity design was based on science education research in order to select activities and teaching methods that will support children learning and increase their motivation. It explicitly considered studies about the importance of choosing topics that are suitable for children's lives, and took into consideration how children learn the “size and scale” concept, how to use movies and animations to support learning, and how to use a variety of teaching methods to meet the needs of different children. An assessment tool suitable for informal settings was used to assess the nano-activity in the science festival: A Personal Meaning Map (PMM) was used to assess children's gains. It was found that after the activity children were able to define nanotechnology, they expressed their knowledge of the “size and scale” concept and mentioned all the applications that were introduced in the activity. We also assessed students' perceptions and attitudes towards nanotechnology and found positive attitudes among boys and girls. Recommendations regarding how to increase children's creative thinking are suggested and regarding the importance of bridging the gap between science education research and teaching activity.
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  • The Journal of Nano Education (JNE) is a peer-reviewed international journal that aims to provide the most complete and reliable source of information on current developments in nanoscale science, technology, engineering, and medical education.
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