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Dr. Mary Satterfield, Director

Email: summerinstitute@nist.gov
Phone: 301-975-5364

National Institute of Standards and Technology
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SPIE teachers

SPIE Conference 2012

SPIE Teachers

SPIE Conference 2012

SPIE Teachers

SPIE Conference 2012

SPIE Teachers

SPIE Conference 2012

Microscopy for STEM Educators - SPIE Conference 2012

Sound interesting? Stay Tuned for the 2013 Session or contact Mary Satterfield for more information!


Designed to introduce teachers of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to advanced microscopy and the merits of incorporating microscopy into the classroom, a session, “Microscopy for STEM Educators,” was presented at the SPIE SCANNING Microscopies meeting as part of the 2012 Defense Security + Sensing Symposium. The session consisted of seminars on the use of microscopy and related techniques for forensics studies of cultural artifacts as well as case studies of advanced microscopy use in the classroom. In a follow-on session teachers used table-top scanning electron microscopes to examine material they had brought with them.

Teachers are a fundamental component in the ability of our nation to prepare the next generation to be innovators in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). With the U.S. commitment of nearly $20B over the past 10 years in nanotechnology [www.nano.gov] and the resulting nanomanufacturing that will be developed, the future of our nation relies on a well-trained workforce. Having the opportunity for an introduction to analytical techniques traditionally only available in the laboratory and unprecedented images of everyday materials, expanded teachers’ understanding of what is possible in the laboratory and classroom.

The session for STEM educators was designed to provide the attendees with a wealth of information regarding the successful incorporation of microscopy into STEM programs. The session was composed of four presentations that provided information from various applications to spur the imagination of the teachers and students to available resource development. The presentations were:

  • Forensic practice in the field of protection of cultural heritage, Marek Kotrly, Ivana Turkova, Institute of Criminalistics Prague, Czech Republic
  • Science and art at the nanoscale, Baratunde A. Cola, Georgia Institute of Technology; Kelly Voss, Renee Gaither, Tucker High School; Jamila Cola, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • The National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network's Education and Outreach Programs: understanding size and scale and the tools of nano, Nancy Healy, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Integrating research and advanced microscopy into the high school curriculum, David Becker and Craig Queenan, Bergen County Technical Schools, New Jersey

The STEM teachers were encouraged to bring real-world samples of interest for examination using one of the table-top SEMs. Sample preparation was limited to attachment to the specimen holder using conductive tape or conductive glue and specimens were typically viewed uncoated. Teachers from multiple counties and school districts in Maryland examined objects including dandelion seeds, butterfly wings, and small whelk shells.

Following the Microscopy for STEM Educators session teachers had the opportunity to visit the Exhibit Hall where more than 500 suppliers of optics, lasers, image processing, spectroscopy, infrared systems, and optoelectronic components were present. Teachers were encouraged to ask questions and take advantage of the handouts.

Educational outreach programs held at science conferences, such as this session, provide an opportunity to introduce teachers to cutting-edge science, and possibilities to use that technology in the classroom. The technique of finding ways to translate research and technology into the classroom mirrors the format utilized by the NIST Summer Institute for Middle School Science Teachers. As an added advantage, interactions among scientists and teachers provide role models and resources that teachers can use in the classroom.

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