The Nanotechnology Scale
Recommended Year Level: Year 8 Required Knowledge: Little Duration: 2 x 50 minute lessons
A good introduction to nanotechnology is the video developed at Cambridge University and narrated by Stephen Fry called Nano at work. It is aimed at a high-school audience. www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=16048.php
The video has segments that explain some of the science and issues very well. The first segment is the most useful at this level. Other segments are more difficult to follow. You may wish to view them as a class, pause the video and then discuss some of the issues raised.
In the first exercise students have the opportunity to read about nanotechnology. Reading the articles aloud to students and pausing to explain or discuss certain words in the text is a successful technique used by teachers. The Taking charge of your reading tables are useful in supporting independent practice in reading and analysing text.
The articles have been specifically written for students. The readability is at a year 8 level (Flesch-Kincaid grade level test). However, the nature of scientific language makes it difficult to write at the appropriate level, and students will need support in understanding the language provided. An excellent reference is Grant, MC and Fisher, D (2010), Reading and Writing in Science, Corwin, California.
The second exercise provides four ‘predict–observe–explain’ tasks where you and your students can explore how objects behave at the small scale.