Archived Activities

National Educators Workshop (NEW)/ National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education (MatEd) Online Module

Carbon Nanotubes in Our Everyday Lives

Authors: Dr. Tanya David, Tasha Zephirin, Dr. Mohammmad Mayy, Dr. Taina Matos,
Dr. Monica Cox, Dr. Suely Black

Module Objective: The primary goal of this presentation and exercise is to create an awareness of carbon nanotubes (CNTs), their molecular structure and geometries, how they are used in common applications within the field of nanotechnology, and their benefits to our society.

Abstract: The objective of this activity is to create an awareness of carbon nanotubes (CNT) and how their use in future applications within the field of nanotechnology can benefit our society. This newly developed activity incorporates aspects of educational frameworks such as “How People Learn” (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 1999)) and “Backwards Design” (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005). This workshop was developed with high school and potentially advanced middle school students as the intended audience. The workshop facilitators provide a guided discussion via PowerPoint presentation on the relevance of nanotechnology in our everyday lives, as well as CNT potential applications, which are derived from CNT structures. An understanding of a carbon atom structure will be obtained through the use of hands-on models that introduce concepts such as bonding and molecular geometry. The discussion will continue with an explanation of how different types of molecular structures and arrangements (shapes) can form molecules and compounds to develop various products such as carbon sheets. The manipulation of carbon sheets into different carbon nanotubes (e.g. single-walled, multi-walled, etc.) will be demonstrated through a hands-on activity using folded sheets of paper.

At the end of the activity, participants will be able to 1) describe characteristics of CNTs, 2) identify potential applications for CNTs in everyday life, 3) and describe key characteristics of nanotechnology. These are the outcomes of the activity, and are discussed in detail in the presentation.


American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Publication

AC 2010-5017: The Development of an Outreach Activity Introducing Middle and High School Students to Nanotechnology and Carbon Nanotubes


Authors: Tasha Zephirin, Tanya David, Mohammmad Mayy, Dr. Monica Cox

Abstract: The Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship in Magnetic and Nanostructured Materials (IGERT-MNM) supports the development of an interdisciplinary graduate training program centered on the design and study of these novel materials. The program is a collaborative effort between University Norfolk State University, Purdue University, and Cornell University. Interdisciplinary technical training occurs in four areas: (1) Physics and Nanotechnology of Metamaterials, (2) Magnetic Multilayer Nanostructures, (3) Nanoscale Magnetic Systems, and (4) Engineering Education Research. Graduate Trainees at participating institutions will participate in research under one of these four areas. A primary goal within the engineering education research component is to identify ways to transfer graduate program elements and the technical theory behind nanoscience and nanotechnology to multiple educational stakeholders (e.g., K-12 students, undergraduate students, graduate students, and industry professionals) via curricula, workshops etc. This paper will describe the development of an outreach activity for middle and high school students by Graduate Trainees, including initial approaches and revisions based on anecdotal observations made from previously conducted workshops. Reflections from the Trainees will also be included in an effort to understand how doctoral students with technical backgrounds develop pedagogically-sound materials that translate their research to new educational audiences. The primary goal of the developed workshop is to create an awareness of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) amongst participants and how their use in future applications within the field of nanotechnology can benefit our society. The workshop provides a guided discussion via PowerPoint presentation and hands-on activities about what is meant by nanotechnology, the relevance of nanotechnology and CNTs in our everyday lives, allotropes of carbon, and how carbon sheets can be manipulated to form different CNTs (e.g. single-walled, multi-walled, etc.). With an audience of educators and outreach coordinators, a secondary goal is to demonstrate how educational frameworks such as “How People Learn” (Bransford et. al., 2002) and “Backwards Design” (Wiggins & McTighe, 2008) were incorporated in the design of the workshop.


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