Nano for younger kids

Miguel F. Aznar, Foresight’s Director of Education, sends the following nanotechnology education items.

Nano Outreach and Education in Ibero America

Image of NanoDYF logo

NanoDYF promotes nanoscience / nanotechnology outreach and education in Ibero America. The NanoDYF 2012 conference in Puebla, Mexico 2012 June 11 – 13, will draw together leaders in research, education, business, and politics to share discoveries and discuss objectives for this outreach. I will present on critical thinking about nanotechnology. More information is at (use if you don’t read Spanish). The NanoMex 2012 Conference runs immediately afterward, June 13 – 15, at the same location.

Buckyball Toy

Image of Buckyball model

Would you like a Buckyball model to hang from your ceiling? Trying to teach someone how hexagons and pentagons drive the shape of C60? Would you like to see which size Buckyballs can form? Having trouble visualizing armchair and zig-zag carbon nanotubes? Would you like to let your mind wander while toying with shapes that carbon can form? About $3 lets you model a C60. Buy 2 x $3 to model C70, C76, C82, etc. Buy more to model carbon nanotubes.

These are not general purpose models. Each “carbon” is black plastic with 3 equally distributed bonding bumps in a plane and “bonds” are white plastic tubes that fit snugly over the bumps. One of the three bonds is an implied double bond, so if identifying it is important, a permanent marker is easiest. Spray-painting 1/3 of the tubes might look better. Diamond cannot be modeled with this kit, as it requires all four bonds exposed for tetrahedral bonding. Also, this kit is much smaller than the near-standard Prentice-Hall molecular modeling kits. It will not connect to those.

The model is easy to assemble, but holds together for hanging, handing around, or rolling on the floor. The least expensive I’ve found is at, which ships free out of Hong Kong. See here. If you would like to sponsor a school by providing a class-set of these kits, I would be happy to facilitate ([email protected]).

Swiss Children Learn Nano Fundamentals

Image of Lego-laser AFM

The Switzerland-based Innovation Society has developed SimplyNano 1 (use translate.Google, if you don’t read German), an experiment kit being distributed to 7th – 10th grade classrooms in Switzerland. It focuses on nano dimensions, surfaces, and reactivity. It includes teaching guides plus materials to make a Lego + laser model of an atomic force microscope. Read a short article translated to English.

I have not received a kit yet, but if as good as it looks and priced reasonably, it could improve nano education in the US. When / if I can answer these questions in the affirmative, I will repost and welcome those who would like to sponsor a school for acquiring a set of these kits.

Miguel F. Aznar
Director of Education
Foresight Institute

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