Innovation Workshop Logo

Webcast: November 24, 2015
For Students in Grades 6-8

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How small is small? How can nanoscale matter improve our lives? Innovation Workshop: Nanotechnology explores this cutting-edge science and engineering of nanoscale matter. Nanotechnology involves manipulating and controlling matter from one nanometer to 100 nanometers. From airplanes to baseball bats, nanomaterials offer a variety of desirable properties such as strength and conductivity. Graphene and carbon nanotubes are wonder materials made entirely from carbon atoms. Innovation Workshop explores their structure of matter and how engineers can build with these new materials.

Students will learn about moving atoms, electron clouds, and how temperature effects matter from Joseph Stroscio at the National Institute for Standards and Technology. Innovation Workshop student reporter takes students into the National Institute for Standards and Technology’s NanoFab where scientists work in a clean room to build highly structured nanoelectronic circuits. Nanoelectronics is a field of study where researchers are still creating new methods to build.

Nanotechnology is an innovation with big potential even though it’s small in size. So small, it can’t be seen with the human eye or even your school’s microscope. In 1981, the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) launched the age of nanotechnology. It can see individual atoms and even move them to create advanced nanostructures.

Scientists use physical and chemical properties to describe and classify matter. Things like color, shape or texture can tell us about the matter and how that matter behaves. Well, nanotechnology isn't just exciting because it's small but also because of the new properties that emerge.

Nanotechnology is more than just one innovation, it’s a movement that’s revolutionizing the materials we build with and showcases how humans push for new ways of thinking and doing.

Standards of Learning

The content for Innovation Workshop: Nanotechnology was guided by National Institute of Standards and Technology staff, National Nanotechnology Coordination Office staff, FCPS curriculum specialists, and FCPS Information Technology staff.

Virginia Department of Education Science Standards

Physical Science
PS.2—The student will investigate and understand the nature of matter.

PS.7—The student will investigate and understand temperature scales, heat, and thermal energy transfer.

Next Generation Science Standards

MS. Engineering Design

MS-ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.

MS-ETS1-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
MS-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best charaistics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
MS-ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.

Common Core State Standards

English Language Arts Standards—Science & Technical Subjects

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.4: Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6–8 texts and topics.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.8: Distinguish among facts, reasoned judgment based on research findings, and speculation in a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.9: Compare and contrast the information gained from experiments, simulations, video, or multimedia sources with that gained from reading a text on the same topic.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.11-12.7: Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.11-12.9:  Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.


International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Standards

Technological Literacy

1. Creativity and Innovation: Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products andprocesses using technology.
2. Communication and Collaboration: Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.

3. Research and Information Fluency: Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.

4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making: Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.

5. Digital Citizenship: Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.



Small is Big: Investigating Nanotechnology and Its Applications Teacher's Guide and Student Workbook

A classroom resource from Fairfax County Public Schools Department of Instructional Services


Generation Nano: Small Science, Superheroes
National Science Foundation & the National Nanotechnology Initiative competition to create a nanotechnology-inspired superhero

Online magazine from project of the Cornell Nanoscale Facility and the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network


Nanotechnology Resources

Resources from Virginia's CTE Resource Center


National Nanotechnology Intiative Classroom Resources
Teacher resources from the United States National Nanotechnology Initiative


NISE Network

Digital library of nano educational products and tools for educators and scientists from the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network


NNIN Teacher Resources
Classroom resources from the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network