Lesson Plan 3: What does it take to be a nanoscientist?


  • To learn about what it is like to be a nanoscientist.
  • To explore the personal traits of scientists and how these traits contribute to a successful career in science.
  • To allow students an opportunity to explore their own personal traits and abilities and potential careers that use those traits and abilities.

Synopsis of Lesson:

The lesson opens with a video clip of an African American nanoscientist who discusses how he became a scientist. Students learn about psychological strength and intrinsic motivation as examples of personal traits of successful scientists. Web resources are used for students to identify their own personal traits and abilities as well as careers that utilize them. Students create a product that details a career of interest to them to share on a class wiki page.

From http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/secretlife/


Useful Links:

http://www.driveofyourlife.org/ Website that allows students to independently explore careers and their interests.
http://pbskids.org/dragonflytv/scientists/index.html Dragonfly TV resource.
http://pbskids.org/dragonflytv/scientists/scientist65.html Another Dragonfly TV resource.
http://energy.gov/articles/10-questions-nanoscientist-seth-darling Interview with a nanoscientist.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Weiss_%28nanoscientist%29 Wikipedia article about a nanoscientist, Paul Weiss

Extension Idea => use a habits of mind checklist to have students see which ones each scientist exhibits.
Traits of Scientists

  • Intrinsically motivated
  • Risk taker
  • Autonomous
  • Unconventional
  • Original
  • Persistent
  • Looks at unusual details
  • Independent
  • Playful
  • Rational
  • Interest in art/humanities
  • Energetic
  • Curious
  • Intellectual courage
  • Daring
  • Self-disciplined
  • Comfort with ambiguity
  • Willingness to modify explanations
  • Cooperation
  • Respect and trust for the thinking process
  • honesty

Website by Lori Andersen, 2012