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Teachers Explore Nanoscience at Begbroke

Practical Nanoscience for Teachers workshop

 

July 2014 brought science teachers from across the UK to attend BSP‘s Practical Nanoscience for Teachers workshop, which provided both the information and take-away resources to teach nanoscience in the GCSE, GCE and BTEC curricula.

Beginning with an introductory lecture on nanoscience and nanotechnology the course broke out into several practical activities including investigating carbon nanotubes and buckyballs, making solar cells, and synthesising gold and silver nanoparticles. The experiments can all be easily repeated back in the classroom.

A tour of BSP’s nanotechnology labs revealed some of the leading research taking place on-site. Members of Professor Nicole Grobert’sNanomaterials by Design and Professor Andrew Watt’s Solar Energy Materials Initiative research groups gave further insights into the vast range of real-life applications being developed using nanotechnology.

Dr Christiane Norenberg, Nanotechnology Programme Manager at Begbroke Science Park, spoke about the many career paths available to students in emerging technologies. She emphasised the importance of inspiring the next generation of scientists to continue studying science post-16. Dr Norenberg reinforced the fact that the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of research activity means pupils need not worry about specialising in a single science at an early stage.

The event was a huge success, with Peter Galley, teacher at Wellington School, commenting ‘the course built up from simple foundations to complex research-based ideas, making it an ideal course for teaching at any standard’.

To meet the demand for resources to teach nanoscience in the classroom, BSP is offering two Practical Nanoscience for Teachers workshops in 2015, on 5 March and 15 July. If you would like to register for either event, please get in touch at events@begbroke.ox.ac.uk. View our full outreach programme for schools here.

Ben Roeves