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Nanoscience training gives teachers big ideas about tiny science

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Kristen Cox graduated from Virginia Tech in 2016, and has recently returned to campus to participate in the College of Science and their Academy of Integrated Sciences Nanoscience Teacher Training.  Activities included hands-on experiments, and demos of electron microscopes.  Cox, now a teacher, hopes to bring back what she's learned from the workshops to ignite her students passion for science.

It's a really cool opportunity to come back and be part of the nanoscience workshop. When I was an undergraduate at Virginia Tech, nanoscience was just getting started. We didn't have it as a major yet, but I had an opportunity to work with Nano camp. So if you're really interested in bringing that to my students back in the classroom, giving them the new opportunity if cutting edge science. We were able to go through a bunch of different hands-on activities, which is cool because, in my classroom that's how I strive to teach science. We are learning even what nanoscience is. Then we went in and we did different experiments with sand from Mars. We also were able to look at these little metals and see how that, with heat, how they can go back to the shapes. So the spring you're able to take it fully apart. And then when you put it back in the water that's boiling, it bounced right back to it. And to me that just something that will spark the interest in my students. If you show that to them, that's a hook to make them be like, wait, why did the happen ? What's the science behind that ? One of the cool things about Virginia Tech is that by all my experiences, I always learn something from my professors who research always have these stories to tell my students. I can tell them stories and our professors told me pass that down. So now I can take backs of these things from these workshops, some of these activities we've done and take them to my students and have these stories. Tell them how this is a real life application. And they can see, hey, this is something that's cool, that's making a difference in the world. They see the buy-in of, hey, I want to learn more. This is teaching me things that I didn't learn before I came here today. I'm really grateful that Virginia Tech offered this to teachers. It's a really cool thing to have a free workshop that you could come to, learn, get resources through.