Science is all around us. It makes up everything, and it’s in everything.
The Dalton Public Schools C3 Center wanted their students to get a chance to look deeper into science and learn not only how it helps us do many things, but also to learn how many jobs are based within the field.
Two summers ago, Westwood Challenge teacher Martha Thomason attended an NNIN camp at Georgia Tech—NNIN (the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network) is an education outreach program at Tech that provides nanotechnology facilities and resources.
The NNIN is located in only 14 universities nationwide, and Georgia Tech is the only one located in the southeast. The program features camps for middle and high school grade levels and undergrads. The NNIN also has a cleanroom on site at Tech that allows people to conduct research in a room free of everything that may pollute the experiment such as dust and vapors.
Thomason said after she saw what a phenomenal camp it was, she spoke to NINN Assistant Education Coordinator Joyce Allen about coming to speak with her students at Westwood.
“I heard she reached out to gifted kids,” Thomason said, “and I asked if they could come. We’re fortunate that they could come and work with our kids.”
Both Allen and Education Outreach Assistant Leslie O’Neill made their way to Westwood to speak to the Challenge students before going to the C3 Center on the next day to speak to system-wide 5th grade Challenge students.
They came to show students all about nanotechnology—the study of materials that are too small for unaided eyes—and how it can be found everywhere.
Second graders took tools used for building or repairing, seeing, and measuring. Third graders studied solar cell research by trying to melt an ice cube with a pizza box solar oven, 4th graders looked at what is nano in nature, and the 5th graders took a look at how particles make up solids, liquids and gases.
Allen, a retired teacher, also mentioned how many jobs are waiting in the nanotechnology field.
“There are jobs available for all education levels,” Allen said. “There are people from all different fields. Nano science isn’t just chemistry or biology. It’s all sciences.”
Allen and Thomason also said it was always good to get kids looking at anything in the STEM area.
“Science is overlooked right now,” said Thomason. “We want to get more integration with STEM and science. Kids are our future, and we want to get them interested in the world out there and realize that there’s a world beyond Dalton, Georgia.”
By Lindsey Derrick, Dalton Public Schools Contributor