Jeanne Nye of Lake Mills Middle School, with support from NSEC, has developed two webquests to engage middle school students through a variety of learning experiences, each with a nanoscience theme. These interactive webquests ­allow students to learn about nanoscience and its impact on all our lives as well as to help teachers integrate cutting edge technology.

Included in each webquest is a teacher’s guide for implementing the webquests in the classroom and student assessment materials. Each webquest meets Wisconsin state standards and National Science Education Standards.

Nanoscience in Nature: A Webquest explores nanoscience found in nature and how nano-structures and nano-processes help to shape the nanoscience research being conducted in labs around the world. Students are asked to design a superhero that uses a nano-process or nano-structure found in nature.

From Small Science Comes Big Decisions places students in the shoes of a member of Congress by asking them to weigh the positives and negatives of funding nanoscience initiatives in areas ranging from military to health care to energy. Students will form an opinion and then debate the merits of funding different efforts. When the class comes to a consensus, their funding decision is posted online and compared with decisions of other students who have completed the same debate.

Nanoparticles in the Surf: An Oil Spill Solution places students in the role of an environmental engineer. Through a series of hands-on experiments students learn about different properties of nanoscale materials and how they can be used to clean environmental disasters.

The Prince and the Particles: Nanoparticles in the Environment explores how changing the size of different materials to the nanoscale can have significant impact on the properties of materials.

Support for the Nanoscience Webquests is provided by the UW-Madison NSEC