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Basic Introduction to RET (Research Experience for Teachers)

    After hearing back about my approval to the RET Program at Drexel U. and U. Penn, I eagerly awaited to see what how our schedules were structured.  Two of the very best, Danielle Tadros (Drexel U.) and Jim McGonigle (UPenn) coordinated a few workshops for the group to get our feet wet.  I'm going to summarize what they introduced to us through various presenters and their topics in nanotechnology.
    During our 1st week, we saw the fruits of what a high school teacher could do.  A quick trip to North Penn gave all the teachers something to aim for: a lab built in a classroom by North Penn Tech Teacher, Mike Boyer. 

    During our second week, we worked with Kevin Ayers (Drexel U.) building an atomic force microscope from Lego blocks.  Our group's efforts can be seen here. 
    We also had a chance to build a Lego Mindstorm robot for use in a mini arena.  These pictures can be seen below.

Here's the completed robot.                   


  Here it is in action!

Another awesome project we were involved with was building our own electrospinning device.  It's made from K'Nex, so if you can't buy one, they're easy enough to get from a kids store.                      

So there you have it... a basic way to introduce the advanced cutting edge topics in nanotechnology to your students.   A little bit of background research on your part and you too can find and incorporate effective new alternatives to engaging your students.