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Identification, Development and Implementation of Nanoscience Activities for Alabama K-12

  • Martin Bakker (a1), Katrina Staggemeier (a2), Amy Grano (a3), Aaron Kuntz (a4), Jim Gleason (a5), Leigh McKenzie (a6), Brenda O'Neal (a7) and Rachel Pace (a8)...

Abstract

We report on a pair of MSP (Mathematics & Science Partnership) START pilot projects designed to identify nanoscience experiments that will fit within the Alabama course of study for use in Alabama K-12 classrooms. As part of the first project we are testing the development, refinement and evaluation of an activity already partly developed. The form of this activity has had input from a focus group of RETs who were tasked to provide input into the activity and how it can be matched to components of the Alabama Course of Study. This activity consists of using sparks generated by abrasion of misch metal by sand paper of different grit size. Different grit sizes produce metal particles of different sizes, resulting in sparks of different size and length. If done in a dry box no sparks are produced and the powder left is not pyrophoric, demonstrating that high surface area, heat and oxygen are all required to produce sparks. SEM characterization of the powder allows the particle sizes to be determined, giving the correlation between size, grit size and spark track length. The activity was tested on groups of middle school science campers at McWane Science Center, and after evaluation, further modified to increase student interest and impact. The activity was then tested on grades 6-8 in a middle school classroom by a graduate student/undergraduate student team.

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