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What is nanoscience? It is the science of the VERY small. Nanoscience is an exciting new field within materials science and is explored throughout the NanoWOW pack.

Designed for 5th and 6th class pupils the pack will introduce Irish Primary students to the world of nano and materials science. NanoWow is supported through funding by Science Foundation Ireland’s Education & Outreach programme.

Materials science impacts virtually every industry and is changing the world around us. Nanotechnology is also already having major societal impacts from new technologies and advanced medical equipment to sports equipment and sun creams.

  • How are our computers and phones getting smaller and faster? Nanoscience!
  • What research area could potentially solve the problem of over 3 million people dying each year due to the lack of accessible, cleanwater? Nanoscience!
  • Would the children in your class like to replace their school books with one sheet offlexible, electronic paper? How would this be possible? Nanoscience!
  • What has the potential to provide fast germ detection and therefore allow instant diagnosis of a large number of diseases? Nanoscience!

Our Summer Course for primary teachers: Magical Materials - nano and materials science in the classroom, runs from the 6-10th July. The course introduces teachers to nano and materials science through the ‘NanoWOW’ resource pack. Future technologies, cutting edge Irish research, STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) career awareness and education techniques around exploring and learning about materials will all be featured in the course. Find out more about the course here and register here.

The structure of the NanoWOW pack

This pack has three core lessons that are recommended as essential lessons to introduce nanoscience to children.

  • Lesson 01: Introduction to nanoscience
  • Lesson 02: Scale
  • Lesson 03: Properties

The following six lessons provide structure and reinforcement of key learning objectives relating to nanoscience; they also allow teachers to choose additional nano related lessons. Teachers can select the lessons that they feel would be most suitable for their own classes in a ‘menu’ style approach.

  • Lesson 04: NanoWOWs
  • Lesson 05: Graphene
  • Lesson 06: History of science: Nobel Prize winner, Andre Geim
  • Lesson 07: Exploring nano images
  • Lesson 08: Nano and nature
  • Lesson 09: Nano on the net

The lessons in this pack are also designed to teach the children about science as a subject. The lessons promote science as a developmental, tentative subject while showing the children that science is a human endeavour and how we can learn from the history of science. Through research and investigations nanoscientists are actively trying to solve global issues, this teaches the children that science and society is linked. Teachers are encouraged to make these explicit links to the nature of science throughout the lessons. The aim is to enable the children to identify with how a scientist works and perhaps encourage them to think about choosing science as a subject in secondary school. For example, Lesson #8 encourages the children to carry out scientific inquiries themselves and lesson #9 is an internet based, self-organised learning environment (SOLE) task.