"Exploring Tools - Special Microscopes" is a hands-on activity in which visitors use a flexible magnet as a model for a scanning probe microscope. They learn that SPMs are an example of a special tool that scientists use to work on the nanoscale.
Scanning Probe Microscopy: "Feeling What You Can't See at the Nanometer Scale" (Elementary, Middle, and High School curriculum lesson)
Students simulate the function of a scanning probe microscope.This activity works best in groups of 3 students. Scanning Probe Microscopes (SPMs) of various types trace surface features by movement of a very fine pointed tip mounted on a flexible arm across a surface. SPM enables resolution of features down to ~1 nm in height, allowing imaging of single atoms under ideal conditions. In this activity, students will use their index finger as a probe to scan unseen objects.
NanoFabulous, an exhibition developed by the University of Maryland, College Park Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) is on display at Port Discovery Children’s Museum in Baltimore, MD. The exhibit is designed to help children and their families understand how scientists and engineers discover and invent new materials from nanoscale building-blocks.
"Exploring Tools - Mystery Shapes" is a hands-on activity in which visitors use their sense of touch to investigate hidden objects. They learn that researchers use special tools, including scanning probe microscopes, to detect and make images of nanoscale objects.