What do a bouncy ball factory, a nanopolymer iPhone case, a pollution solution laboratory and a glow show slime factory have in common? They were all part of the 2019 Saturday NanoAcademies at Rice University, where students from all over the Houston metropolitan area had the opportunity to participate in innovative hands-on experiences hosted by the Rice Office of STEM Engagement.
The sessions themselves were led by elementary and secondary school teachers who had spent last summer in research internships in Rice University’s laboratories as part of a Research Experience for Teachers funded by the National Science Foundation. As part of their internship, teachers developed new lessons related to their research and were able to pilot these new nanotechnology-based learning experiences with the Saturday NanoAcademy students. The lessons are designed to encourage students to participate in activities that bridge their home, school and community experiences and provide teachers with an informal space to test and refine their lessons.
On Feb. 9 and Feb. 16, about 200 elementary, middle and high school students participated in six hands-on activities at Rice University’s Biosciences Research Collaborative. Fifth to 12th grade students, along with teachers from schools including Westbury High, Hogg Middle, Roberts Elementary and Dobie High, attended the program. While the students worked in small groups of three to five students for each activity, the NanoAcademy teachers alternated activities within the classroom for the day. All classroom activites were developed in collaboration with R-STEM.
— Isaias Cerda
Assistant Director for Science Education
Rice Office of STEM Engagement
— Carolyn Nichol
Director, Rice Office of STEM Engagement
Assistant Research Professor
Department of Chemistry