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High school teachers visit campus for nanoscience lessons, experiments

This past summer, the College of Science hosted 16 high school science teachers from across Virginia, Maryland, and Tennessee for three days of in-depth lab experiments and demonstrations centered on bringing nanoscience into the classroom.

The multi-day camp was hosted by faculty and staff from the Academy of Integrated Science’s nanoscience degree program and included lab demonstrations, tours, and classroom lectures. Among the lab experiments: making liquid iron, which can be manipulated using magnets, and creating “ice” volcanoes using cross-linked polymer materials similar to those used in diapers to absorb liquid.

Participating teachers each received $300 worth of lab supplies and teaching materials to take home to their high school. The three-day event was partially funded with $10,000 support from the Virginia Space Grant Consortium. This marked the second year of the camp.

“Nanoscience is a field that cuts across pretty much every discipline of science and engineering, so we have teachers here from biology, chemistry, physics, and earth sciences, and we think we’re doing a good job of providing across all of those areas pieces of nanoscience that they can incorporate into their classes,” said Randy Heflin of the College of Science, who helped head the event. “It’s very exciting to bring in groups of teachers because by interacting with one teacher and giving them some tools to use back in the classroom, you end up eventually reaching hundreds of students.”

For further reading and a video on this outreach effort, visit College of Science brings high school teachers to campus for nanoscience lessons, experiments 

blonde female teacher observes petri dish wearing lab coat, nitrile gloves and goggles. Male instructor stands in background and watches.
Michele Coghill, a teacher at Central Virginia Governor's School, takes part in a lab experiment involving ferro fluids, or liquid iron, with more than a dozen other teachers at a College of Science laboratory.