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The NANOLAB Project: Educational Nanoscience at High School

  • Annamaria Lisotti (a1) (a2) (a3), Valentina De Renzi (a1) (a2) and Guido Goldoni (a1) (a2)


The growing role of the nano-perspective in contemporary technologies naturally calls for the inclusion of Nanoscience in high school curricula. Reasons range from-the need to educate future responsible citizens to more exquisitely didactical ones. Nanosciences are-in fact a natural playground to introduce modern Physics in a hands-on interdisciplinary way, therefore opening the possibility to expose intrinsically quantum phenomena even in school laboratories. In some cases in fact the unusual properties of nanomaterials can be probed by simple experiments, including systematic data collection, in contrast to spectacular but qualitative-only demonstrations. In this paper-we will present NANOLAB, an open project by FIM Department of Modena and Reggio E. University in Italy, which aims at including nano-inspired hands-on activities in high schools. It consists of simple, cheap, robust and safe experimental protocols, currently covering four areas of nanoscience: smart metals, nanoparticles, conductive polymers, nanostructured surfaces, each linked to one of Nanoscience “big ideas”. The experimental activities range from manual to digital data collection and elaboration, including use of pupils’ own mobile devices (cell and smart phones, tablets) which turn out to be powerful, low-cost, sensitive multi-purpose lab tools, with an added impact on students’ motivation and active involvement in what we could rightly call a high-tech hands-on approach. All accompanying materials are published under Creative Commons license. In such a picture teachers’ role is crucial. To give them adequate support and provide solid background knowledge a coaching program has been running since 2011.



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[1] NANOLAB is on-line at
[2] Lisotti, A., “Introducing Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Key-Ideas-in the High School Curriculum Through an Hands-on Approach: the NANOLAB Project”, PhD Thesis University of Modena and Reggio Emilia-(2013) (in press)
[3] Stevens, S.Y., Sutherland, L.M &, Krajcik, J.S., “The Big Ideas of Nanoscale Science and Engineering: A Guidebook for Secondary Teachers”. NSTA Press: Arlington, VA. (2009)
[4] Lisotti, A., De Renzi, V., Rozzi, C. A., Villa, E., Albertini, F., Goldoni, G.-Phys. Educ. 48 298311 (2013).
[5] Lisotti, A., Goldoni, G., De Renzi, V., “Quantum Physics at work in conductive nano ehanced polymers: a hands-on inquiry based experimental path at High School”, HSCI 2012 Proceedings Antalya, Turkey (2012)
[6] Planinsic, G, Lindell, A and Remskar, M 2009 Eur. J. Phys. 30 S17


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The NANOLAB Project: Educational Nanoscience at High School

  • Annamaria Lisotti (a1) (a2) (a3), Valentina De Renzi (a1) (a2) and Guido Goldoni (a1) (a2)


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