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On July 11-15, 2011, thirteen high school teachers from across Indianapolis and the surrounding region convened on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) campus to explore the interdisciplinary field of nanotechnology.
The IUPUI Nanotechnology Discovery Academy provided a unique opportunity for the teachers to learn how they can enhance Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) education by incorporating innovative nanotechnology approaches and research. Participants attending the Academy worked daily with world-renowned faculty at the Integrated Nanotechnology Development Institute in partnership with staff from the Center for Research and Learning, both located on the IUPUI campus.
The tools provided in the academy will show students how they can be a part of solving real world problems and help them gain greater critical thinking skills. Many of the teachers plan to take the knowledge back to the classroom and incorporate it in the most appropriate and meaningful way.
According to Dr. Kody Varahramyan, IUPUI Vice Chancellor for Research, "This initiative has been developed to support the state and national needs for teachers who can best educate an increasing number of students in STEM fields."
Nanotechnology concerns the control of matter in the nanometer scale: one nanometer is one billionth of a meter, or 100,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. This cutting-edge field is becoming an essential part of science, engineering, medicine, and many other disciplines. The teachers came away from the experience with concepts, approaches, and techniques that can be easily translated across a variety of topics and lessons in the classroom.
"Teachers were provided portable nanotechnology hands-on learning tools such as solar panels with everyday ingredients, fuel cells, lab-on-a-chip, and nanomedicine project ideas to take back to the classroom," say Dr. Mangilal Agarwal, Academy Director and Associate Director of Research Development in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research.
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