Outreach / Education – K-8 Students
RAIN (Remotely Accessible Instruments for Nanotechnology) and 4H Summer Partnership
NCMN in partnership with the University of Nebraska Extension Office/4-H program provided remote analysis services through RAIN to youth in Omaha this summer. Fourteen schools and various programs throughout Omaha participated in the Engineering with Nano Power experience. Students were introduced to how specialized nano equipment can be used to analyze environmental materials and new products being developed in our society. Using the XRF a variety of materials were examined and their compositions discussed in the classroom after utilizing the remote technical capabilities of the XRF. Youth were able to connect and relate with a real nanoscientist using the RAIN platform. A variety of questions helped students engage with the remote session such as: Why is analyzing samples important? What can you do with the info? What does this analysis tell us and how do you became a nanoscientist?
Over 190 students, 4th-8th grade, were able to experience the RAIN sessions. We believe the RAIN sessions with enthusiastic teachers and scientists working together can have a positive impact on STEM identity formation and career orientation for youth!
Students, 6-9th grade, participated in a weeklong NanoCamp held in June where UNL faculty and graduate students, NCMN & Bright Lights staff, future science teachers and the Department of Physics & Astronomy all worked together to present an amazing mini-course about nanotechnology at UNL. Topics and supporting activities included nanolight technology, carbon nanotubes, self-assembly, hydrogels, magnetism, soft material robotics, nanocomposites, alternative energy, and of course nano ice cream! Resources and more information about previous camp can be found on the NanoCamps page.
Summer STEAM Camp
We explored Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) in a week-long partnership with LPS Foundation's new Spark Summer Learning program. NCMN provided a high-energy, fun, and immersive summer-learning experience, centered around the theme of Magnetism, using a variety of science activities for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders.
Faculty members, and NCMN students and staff provide regular programming during the school year for a Nanoscience After School Program at Culler Middle School. One hour presentations are given to students who had limited knowledge of nanoscience. Information includes videos, hands-on activities, giveaways and discussions of nano applications which provides a broad overview of nanoscience/nanotechnology as a field with many career opportunities. Students gain a more comprehensive understanding through activities that introduce them to the unique properties at the nanoscale. Professors presenting are from the Chemistry, Engineering, and Physics departments with help from NCMN Undergraduate Outreach Fellows and staff. This year a Science Fair was added to give students a venue to share what they had learned during the semester. Videos are at https://mediahub.unl.edu/channels/313.
Phis's World Comic Books
Phis’s World, a comic book series for middle school and high school aged students, as well as the general public who are interested in science, provides a creative way to stimulate learning. Dr. Xia Hong at the UNL Department of Physics & Astronomy is partnering with NCMN and Lincoln’s local schools to raise awareness about physics and general science. Weaving science principles with the daily challenges and questions Phis and her sister Chemi face with personal development, habits, caring and other issues, readers are given a fun way to relate science to real-life situations. See more about this series at http://www.physics.unl.edu/~xhong/hong/Phis/PhisHome.html and take a short survey after reading the comics.
In an effort to reach underrepresented students and immigrants we partnered with the Lincoln Literacy organization to provide science programming to adult students and their children. NCMN staff provided a series of hands on activities tailored for those who did not speak fluent English. The lessons were centered around science kits covering subjects such as Nanosand, Invisibility, UV bracelets, and more.
Nano and the Nebraska Robotics Expo
The annual Nebraska Robotics Expo provided a unique venue for NCMN to share what’s happening in the Nano/STEM areas to Expo participants, spectators, and parents. Nebraska youth were given demonstrations and interactive activities about opportunities and careers in chemistry, physics, and engineering.
Nano and Discover Engineering Days
NCMN partners with the College of Engineering to introduce middle school students and their teachers to the various fields in engineering and nanoscience at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Events are filled with hands-on activities that apply math, science and creative thinking skills.
Summer STEM Camp
This summer NCMN extended their regular nanoscience programming during the school year at Culler Middle School into a 3 day STEM class involving over 100 students! Information included videos, hands-on activities, giveaways and discussions of science applications which provided a broad overview of STEM fields with many career opportunities. Students gained a more comprehensive understanding through activities that introduced them to STEM concepts.