Nanotechnology & Nanoscience

Scanning Electron Microscope in Schools - Demonstrations and Activities

Nanotechnology is an emerging field of research and development that teachers and students want to learn more about--for knowledge, for interest, and for career choices. Our program involves the use of a scanning electron microscope (SEM) in elementary, junior and senior high schools. The microscope is brought to schools with samples for investigation. The SEM, provided by Alberta Innovates Technology Futures, has a power magnification of 30 000x and uses samples from the environment. Bookings for bringing the SEM to schools are made through CMASTE. A promotional brochure and the application form is provided for download below. For those who are not able to book a visit, images and lessons are accessible from the CMASTE website. This project is being run by CMASTE for the National Institute for Nanotechnology and its partners Alberta Innovates - Technology Futures, the UofA and the National Research Council. Contact cmaste@ualberta.ca.


Nanotechnology and Nanoscience Lessons

Another nanotechnology project being sponsored by Alberta Innovates is a project that involves the development and testing of nanotechnology and nanoscience lessons for all grade levels. These lessons are linked to the Alberta Education Science Programs of Study. The lessons can also be used for pre and post visits from the scanning electron microscope and are available for download for free at teh below links:

Grade 4 Grade 5 Grade 6
Grade 7 Grade 8 Grade 9
Science 10 Chemistry 20/Sci 24 Biology 30

 


Nanotechnology Learning Objects

The nanotechnology learning objects are highlighted teacher resources that can quickly be browsed and used for existing lessons used by teachers. The learning objects are derived from the full lessons available from Alberta Innovates.


Nanotechnology Lessons

(Please note: the following a Nanotechnology lessons are still under development. Feel free to use and send any feedback to CMASTE@ualberta.ca)

Lab investigation:

Investigating Ferrofluids Microsoft Word 2003

    Lab Investigation:

    Antimicrobial Action on Silver Nanoparticles Microsoft Word 2003

    Antimicrobial Action on Silver Nanoparticles TE Microsoft Word 2003

    Research Project:

    Assessment of Silver Nanoparticles on Freshwater Ecosystems Microsoft Word 2003

    Assessment of Silver Nanoparticles on Freshwater Ecosystems TE Microsoft Word 2003

    Case Study:

    Solar Cell Nanoparticles Microsoft Word 2003

    Video supplemental teaching material for Solar Cell Nanoparticles (MP4 Video)

    Research Project:

    Universal Memory Microsoft Word 2003

    Debate (with Research):

    E-Book Reader Microsoft Word 2003

    Designing a lab:

    Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) Microsoft Word 2003



    Grade 4 - Plant Growth and Changes

    1. Nano Comic

    Here is a great comic to start the discussion of surface area Quantum Quest - A Cupful of Nano.

     

    Cupful of Nano

    2. Surface Area Diagram

    Image showing surface area of "regular" and "mini" marshmellows.

     

    3. Watch Video

    Show the Science Alberta Foundation video “Do You Know What Nano Means?”

     

    4. Activity: Observing

    Student Sheet for observing and predicting two types of leaves

    1. Use lotus leaves or leaves from plants that exhibit the lotus effect (kale, begonia water lily, nasturtium)
    2. Use leaves of various plant varieties that don’t show the lotus effect (lettuce, spinach, geranium, sunflower, strawberry)

    5. Nano resources: NANOYOU

    NANOYOU is a European nanoscience resource page that has presentations and posters, virtual and hands-on activities, and dialogue and games all about nanoscience topics.

     


    Grade 5 - Classroom Chemistry

     

    1. Read Article

    Read this article on sunscreen to hear about nanoparticles at work: Do Nanoparticles and Sunscreen Mix?

    2. Watch Video

    Here is a short video from Dragonfly TV (PBS) with a demonstration on the effectiveness of sunscreens: Sunscreen by Aaron and Justin.

    3. Activity: Demonstration

    You can complete a similar investigation using newspaper as well.

    Sunscreen Demo - Small

     

    4. Nano resources: NANOYOU

    NANOYOU is a European nanoscience resource page that has presentations and posters, virtual and hands-on activities, and dialogue and games all about nanoscience topics.

     


     

    Grade 6 - Trees and Forests

     

    1. Nano Comic

    Here is a great comic to start the discussion of carbon nanotubes: Quantum Quest: Enter the Nanotube

    Enter the Nanotube

    2. Nanotechnology in the Forest Sector

    Click here to read about how Natural Resources Canada uses nanotechnology. 

    3. Watch Video

    Show the Science Alberta Foundation video “Do You Know What Nano Means?”

    4. Activity: Nanotechnology Basics

    Here is a hands on activity student sheet to introduce how small a nanometre really is. 

     


    Grade 7 - Interactions and Ecosystems

    Smart Dust

    1. Review the terms ‘nano’ and ‘nanometre’

    Nano: is the scientific term meaning one-billionth (1/1,000,000,000). It comes from the Greek word meaning “dwarf”.

    Nanometre is one one-billionth of a metre. One centimetre equals 10 million nanometres (nm).  A sheet of paper is about 100,000 nm thick. A human hair measures roughly 50,000-100,000 nm across. A fingernail grows at a rate of one nm per second.

    2. Watch Video

    View this video about motes (smart dust) to inspire ideas and activities.

    3. Activity: Think, Pair, Share

    Provide students with a copy of the student sheet to answer questions on motes (smart dust).


    Grade 8 - Light and Optical Systems

    1. Activity: Nanovision

    Materials:

    1. Magnifying glass
    2. Dissecting microscope (either on projector or in groups)
    3. Light Compound Microscope (ether on projector or in groups)
    4. Student Sheet
    5. Images from SEM (provided)
    6. Ruler
    7. Graphene
    8. Pencil lead
    9. Clear Tape

    *This can be completed in shorter time if done as a class rather than in groups.

    2. Review the following terms:

    Nano is the scientific term meaning one-billionth (1/1,000,000,000). It comes from the Greek word meaning “dwarf”.

    • A nanometre is one one-billionth of a metre. One centimetre equals 10 million nanometres (nm).  A sheet of paper is about 100,000 nm thick. A human hair measures roughly 50,000-100,000 nm across. A fingernail grows at a rate of one nm per second.

    • Review the terminology related to object size—centimetre, millimetre, micrometre,  nanometre—and their relative relationship to each other. Magnifying glasses and microscopes are used to make smaller objects appear larger.  

    Even the simplest optical system, the human eye, depends on lenses and light-activated detectors. Depending on the sophistication of the optical system, smaller and smaller objects can be observed using magnifiers and microscopes. But just how small can optical systems allow us to see? This activity takes students through the technological   steps from unaided vision to microscopes and beyond, introducing them to the science and technology associated with nanoscale objects. This activity may be used to introduce students to basic optical instrumentation while searching for the very small.

    3. In groups of three:

    a) Inspect small grains of graphite (Use a file or sandpaper to scratch off some pencil graphite mixture. Try to choose the smallest grains for observation.)

    b) Estimate thickness of a grain. (Record on student sheet)

    c) Students then examine the grain with a magnifying glass.  They should observe that moving the magnifying glass further away from or closer to the sample will result in larger or smaller images, improving the magnification. At optimal magnification, students should again estimate the size of the hair and record it on the Student Sheet. If there is texture, this may be drawn as well.

    4. Using dissecting microscope:

    a) Using a dissecting microscope, students repeat their observation of the grain.

    b) If the microscopes have calibrated eyepieces, then the size of the grain can be better estimated. Record any observations and the estimated size of the grain.

    5. View the grain using a light compound microscope:

    a) What other things can the student see using this piece of equipment?

    6. Display image taken with SEM of single grains of graphite and record observations

    7. Obtain a single layer of graphene.

    Steps are in this video: Making Graphene 101

    8. Observe the single layer of graphene under the dissecting microscope and discuss observations.

    Alternatively, use these photographs of prepared graphene.

    9. Observe same sample under a light compound microscope and discuss observations.

    10. Display SEM images of single layer of graphene and discuss observations.

    SEM Sample:

    SEM Sample

    Atomic Force Microscope Sample:

    Atomic Force Sample


    Grade 9 - Matter and Chemical Change

    1. Watch Video - When Things Get Small

    This is an Emmy Award winning video (28 minutes) that describes nanoscience in a fun and creative way, but also with outstanding science connections and accuracy.

    What could a stadium-sized bowl of peanuts, a shrinking elephant, and a crazed hockey player have to do with nanoscience? Those are just a few of the goofy excursions that await you when witty host Adam Smith and wacky physicist Ivan Schuller take you on an irreverent, madcap, comically corny romp into the real-life quest to create the smallest magnet ever known.

    2. Carbons Nanocaper

    Discuss the following points prior to completing any of the learning objects. 

    1. Review the terms ‘nano’ and ‘nanotechnology’
    2. Introduce the idea of carbon and carbon atoms
      1. Where is carbon found?
      2. Why is carbon so important?
      3. How can you put carbon atoms together to create different substances, allotropes, or forms?
      4. Show samples of different forms of carbon common to everyday experience (e.g. Graphite for pencils, charcoal, coal, and diamond).

    Learning Object - Option 1

    *Requires mini marshmallows and toothpicks

    1. Create a model of carbon using marshmallows and toothpicks

    Single_Ring

    2. Combine carbon models to form graphite by adding four rings together.

    Four_Rings

    3. If time allows, a number of groups of students could connect their 6-ring structures to form a sheet of rings. This is a model of graphene that fits current evidence.

    Learning Object – Option 2

    Use the below Graphene Student sheet and Nanotube Student Sheet to complete the activity of creating a nanotube structure.

    1. In groups of 3, create a ‘zigzag’ nanotube
    2. Create an armchair nanotube

    Circular nanotube

    Learning Object – Option 3

    *Requires copies of buckyball shapes

    1. In groups of 3, complete either the pentagon or hexagon buckyball from the Smithsonian Institution

    (Have half the groups do the pentagon and the other half do the hexagon).

    Bucky ball

     


    Science 10: Cycling of Matter in Living Systems

    1. Powerpoint Introduction to Nanoscience

    Student resourse produced by Nanosense (SRI International). Click on below image for link to Powerpoint presentation.

    Intro

    Click on below image for link to Teacher Notes (PDF) for the powerpoint presentation.

    Intro- teacher notes

     

    2. Learning Object

    * Discussion as part of Unit C, Section 2.5. Ensure students understand cell transport and associated terminology.

    1. Have students read Student Sheet: Biomarkers, Quantum dots, and nanoshells.
    2. Think, Pair, Share: Other areas, beyond cancer that this nanotechnology could be used. Think inside the cell!

    3. Learning Object

    * Discussion as part of Unit D, awareness of limited fresh water.

    1. Have students read Student Sheet: Membranes for water purification, desalination
    2. Read article: http://nanotechnologytoday.blogspot.ca/2006/11/nanotech-water-desalination-membrane.html

    In Groups of 3, come up with creative strategy to overcome the fresh water issue.  10 minutes to plan, 2 minutes per group to present, 2 minutes for class to determine pros and cons for that strategy.


    Chemistry 20 - The Diversity of Matter and Chemical Bonding

    1. Learning Object – Chemistry 20

    * To be done with Chemical Bonding Unit when discussing intermolecular bonds.

    **Reduce time and cost, if one class does gluing, that step may be skipped with future classes.

    1. Review intermolecular and intramolecular bonding and discuss weaknesses
    2. Using LEGO, magnets and super glue; glue magnets to various lego pieces.
    3. Instructions are on Student Sheet on page 9.


    Biology 30 - Cell Division, Genetics, and Molecular Biology

    **Need to attach Quantum Dot Article and Appendix A from Grade 12 as printable sheets

    Learning Object 1

    1. Discuss ‘What are Quantum Dots’ and ‘How do they work’ (pg 3)
    2. Watch Video: http://www.nanowerk.com/nanotechnology/videos/Kavli_Foundation_Introduction_to_Nanoscience.php
    3. Quantum Dot Simulation (page 4)
    4. In groups of 3, assign each group one of the following websites (10 minutes)
    5. 2 minutes per group to present, 2 minutes for class discussion per presentation.

    Learning Object 2

    Simulation/model of how the microfluidic flow works in a Lab on a Chip (LOC)

    You can do this as a demo (prepare the chip a couple of days in advance) or as a lab.

    1. Discuss what LOC’s are. (as part of the ______unit)
    2. Follow instructions on Appendix A.

    Full lessons and materials are available at Alberta Innovates - Technology Futures.