Lesson 8: To Stink or Not to Stink?


  • Understand that the study of the unique phenomena at the nanoscale could vastly change our understanding of matter and lead to new questions and answers in many areas, including health care, the environment, and technology.
  • Evaluate the benefits and risks of a particular nanotechnology application.
    • effects on personal health?
    • effects of nanoscale waste on the environment?
  • Present a well-supported argument to support a recommendation.

This lesson will incorporate a visit to the laboratory of Dr. Kristin Wustholz at The College of William and Mary (http://www.lasertastic.com/). Dr. Wustholz manufactures nanoparticle silver in her laboratory and uses it to assess the authenticity of Colonial Era artwork. Using nanoparticle silver, testing can be done on a single grain of paint pigment. A technique known as Raman Spectroscopy is used to confirm the composition of the pigment.


In this lesson students discuss the negative consequences that may result from the introduction of a new technology. Then the problem-based learning statement is introduced. The students return to the real-world problem that was introduced in Lesson 2 - Should our school require athletes to wear uniforms that have antibacterial properties created using nanosilver? Students research the problem from the perspectives of the various stakeholders using Paul's Reasoning (http://education.wm.edu/centers/cfge/_documents/curriculum/teachingmodels/reasoningweb.pdf)
and the William & Mary Research Model (http://education.wm.edu/centers/cfge/_documents/curriculum/teachingmodels/researchmodel.pdf). Stakeholder positions are presented at a mock school board meeting.

Video reference in lesson plan:

From: http://www.agiene.com/activewear/


Talking Nano DVD Set http://talkingnano.net/for-educators/


Articles for Student Research:

Silver Cycle: New Evidence for Natural Synthesis of Silver Nanoparticles

Nanosilver: A New Name -- Well-Known Effects
Popular Nanoparticle Causes Toxicity in Fish, Study Shows
Common Nanoparticles Found to Be Highly Toxic to Arctic Ecosystem
Knocking Nanoparticles Off The Socks
Chemicals' Study Pinpoints Threat to Workers' Lungs

Useful Websites:


Other Useful Online Videos:

Website by Lori Andersen, 2012