Supplemental Instructional Materials
Design a series of 8 self-contained nanoscale science and technology lessons for grades 6 - 12 based on curricula strands and standards that support the science curriculum already in place. Each classroom teacher will choose when to use these stand-alone lessons to complement their teaching timeline, style and strengths. The lessons will consist of a 8-minute 3D CGI animated DVD for each segment, accompanied by a complete interactive digital student workbook, teacher's and parents’ study guides.
Proof of Concept
The proof of concept package, funded in part by the National Science Foundation award #CTS-023628, and a cooperative agreement with NASA #NCC-01-0203 awarded to the Texas Engineering Experiment Station subcontract #68371, and targeted towards grades 6 - 8, includes:
- 20-minute Proof-of-Concept DVD – 3D animated video combining two lesson/adventures: Welcome to the NanoLoft and DNA the Blueprint of Life?
- Interactive digital student workbook – features four ‘rooms’ (the Research Laboratory, the NanoLoft, the DNA room, the Nanotechnology room) with information, exercises, games, sound-bites, out-of-the-box imagination, songs, etc.
- Teacher Guide – Step-by-step explanation of DVD, previewing hands-on exercises and discussions, post-viewing hands-on exercises and discussions, a walk through the student workbook, suggested quizzes, experiments, and decks of NanoCards ©.
- Parents Guide – Brief introduction to the subject matter with ongoing updates from the support web site.
- Support web site with two components – One section for the general public and one section that is password accessible by participants in the project. Online assessments and surveys will be entered automatically in databases that can export to Excel or Access for monitoring of results.
Beta-testing and Evaluation
The proof of concept was beta tested in the 2003 -2004 school year at 11 middle schools and two high schools in the Houston area as well as Holy Trinity School, Louisville, Kentucky. The results of the outside evaluation, conducted by Southwest Educational Development Laboratory in Austin, Texas, were very positive.
The 2004 -2005 beta-testing was conducted at Meyzeek STEM Magnet Middle School, Louisville, Kentucky, and Roehm Middle School, Berea, Ohio. Approximately 250 7th and 8th grade students participated in the assessment. See the student preference and usability results. Academic results indicate a 10% to 59% gain in understanding in almost all areas.
The 2005 - 2006 beta-testing was conducted in two entire school districts in two states. Spring Independent School District, Spring, Texas, and Mobile County Public School System, Mobile, Alabama. These districts incorporated various components of the NanoKids materials into the 8th grade science curriculum. There were 28 middle schools, 58 teachers, and 9000 students involved in this final phase of testing. Unlike the previous two years, the academic progress of 1100 individual students were tracked by both the Rice research team and the school districts.
The evaluation of the data collected was compiled by Professor George M. Bodner of Purdue University. The outcomes are very promising including clearly demonstrated closing of learning gaps between ethnic groups and gender on several questions.