- Education & Outreach
Education & Outreach
The education and training of the next generation of scientists and engineers is a vital activity in the Center. The CHM strives to provide high-quality training geared towards innovation and an enhanced base of nanomanufacturing capabilities, as well as educational materials and opportunities designed to excite and instruct K12 students, undergraduates and the public. Core strategic principles underlying the CHM Education program are:
- Repurposeable Learning Modules—the CHM’s primary curricular contribution to science education is through a planned system of relatively short, video-based, multimedia-enhanced learning modules created using Universal Design for Learning principles, enabling re-configuration and re-use for different audience types.
- Teamwork—a Nanotechnology Education Development Group successfully functions as a curriculum development team for module creation, led by the Co-Director.
- Train the Trainer—the CHM’s educational program focuses on one-week teacher workshops for learning curriculum modules and trying out nanoscience-related experiments, as well as a summer-long Research Experiences for Teachers program, rather than on direct K12 outreach to thousands of individual students.
- Networking and Dissemination—we work toward integrating and disseminating our materials and activities through important NSF-sponsored networks and consortia for nanotechnology education, through professional organizations and other networks in science education, and within the technical community college and industrial education communities.
The Center supports the development and dissemination of a system of curriculum modules on nanotechnology and nano-related science for grades 7-12 and community college learners. The Center also trains teachers in teaching this curriculum in the classroom. At the university level, the Center supports new undergraduate courses at UMass Amherst in nanotechnology and nanomanufacturing, and encourages faculty to infuse their existing undergraduate and graduate courses with new material based on the Center’s research. In combination with the CHM’s efforts in Diversity, the Center is involved in a 7-participant REU program, the Summer Undergraduate Research Experiences (SURE) Program in Nanotechnology.
- In April and October of 2011, the CHM organized and held “Science Quest,” a day-long program for high school students to visit campus, attend mini-courses and demonstrations, and take lab tours. UMass faculty members developed and delivered over 18 original 50 minute sessions throughout the day. The two events were attended by 310 students in total. Of the 217 who responded to the survey, 140 (65%) were underrepresented minority students or disabled, and 132 (61%) were female participants. These outreach activities will continue into 2012.
- The CHM hosted its fifth annual Summer Institute in Nanoscience for K12 science teachers. The Institute trained 27 science teachers on 10 nanotechnology modules with hands-on activities for K12 classrooms. This set of curriculum now includes new hands-on modules for self-assembly and for making “do-it-yourself” solar cells.
- The CHM expanded its comprehensive set of curriculum materials that impacts K12, community college and university education. These include video modules, hands-on activities, and courses at the community college and university levels, including modules on magnetism at the macro and nano scales, as well as training modules for users of the nanofabrication facility.
- The CHM has now conducted six years of Summer REU programs serving a total of 56 undergraduate students on a range of nanoscale science and engineering projects. The 2011 class included 7 students, 4 of whom were underrepresented minority students.