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Atomic Force Microscope Mobile Lab Inspires High School Teachers Participating in NanoTeach Workshops

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Abstract:

The “big idea” of tools and instrumentation in nanoscience and technology supports what high school students should learn about technology according to the Next Generation Science Standards. This article describes how resources from the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Project DUNES ( Developing Undergraduate Nanoscale Experiences for the Sciences ) were used for the NanoTeach project (also funded by NSF). The two projects shared a goal of increasing teacher knowledge of nanoscience through hands-on experiences. The DUNES mobile lab consists of two atomic force microscopes (AFM's) and a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) unit used for demonstrations and workshops. As a part of the NanoTeach pilot test, through a collaborative effort between the University of Northern Colorado Project DUNES and McREL's NanoTeach program, high school science teachers were provided hands-on experiences with the mobile AFM and STM instruments to image various objects and learn about the variables related to the instruments' operation. This led to a remote access tour at the Stanford Nanofabrication Facility. During the NanoTeach workshops, teachers used an AFM to image a microchip, Staphylococcus aureus , a polymer thin film, and a skin cross section. They also obtained an image of carbon atoms on the surface of a sample of highly ordered pyrolitic graphite (HOPG) with a STM. In the NanoTeach pilot test, teachers demonstrated growth of content knowledge over even a short period of time (i.e., about two months) from pre-test to post-test #1, as well as, over the course of the project (12 months from pre-test to post-test #2). For items specific to the big idea of tools and instrumentation, the mean average score improved from 61% in the pre-test to 68% in the post-test#2.

Keywords: ATOMIC FORCE MICROSCOPE (AFM); C-U-E FRAMEWORK; HANDS-ON EXPERIENCES; HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS; INQUIRY-BASED LEARNING; NANOSCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (NS&T); NANOSCIENCE TOOLS AND INSTRUMENTATION; PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT; SCANNING TUNNELING MICROSCOPE (STM)

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1166/jne.2013.1055

Publication date: 2013-12-01

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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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