It's a small world: Nanotechnology for educators

FLATE and NACK (Nanotechnology Applications and Career Knowledge) partnered with Nanomaterials & Nanomanufacturing Research Center (NNRC) and the Center for Molecular Delivery at the University of South Florida's College of Engineering to offer a one-day workshop on nanotechnology-based curriculum and resources. Bringing nanotechnology into your classroom—the theme of the workshop—reflected a broad effort by National Science Foundation Centers of Excellence to integrate cutting-edge technology into the K-12 and community college curriculum.

The workshop was conducted by Robert Erhman, director of education & outreach services at NACK, and held at NNRC at USF. It highlighted key topics pertaining to vacuum engineering, available nanotechnology-related resources from NAKE and USF, and provided effective strategies for integrating nanotechnology into the classroom.

At the workshop, Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE provided an in-depth overview about career and educational resources available in Florida, and underlined resources posted on FLATE’s Made in Florida website. “The workshop provided K-12 and Florida state college educators and administrators a hands-on introduction to nano science and technology, and is a good example of the professional development activities FLATE supports throughout Florida" Barger said. FLATE staff together with professors and instructors from the USF College of Engineering also provided classroom activities and nanotechnology insights for the attendees.

Participants witnessed nanotechnology demonstrations, toured the USF Nanotech laboratory, and were introduced to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) principles used to develop and measure low pressure-controlled environments that are used in micro, membrane and nanotechnologies. Ms. Robin Little, engineering curriculum co-coordinator for D.L. Jamerson Elementary School in Pinellas County indicated the ideas she gained from the workshop “will help teachers continue to integrate engineering and math principles into all of our subjects throughout all of our K-5 grade level classrooms.”

Looking to the future, FLATE will work with workshop participants to develop, incorporate, and share nanotechnology lesson plans and provide a stipend for development. For more information, contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at, or visit

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