On September 14th, MEM-C welcomed 16 students and 7 parents from the Seattle homeschooling community for our inaugural “MEM-C Day.” Members of the Cossiart, Golder, Reed, and Xiao groups guided the students through hands-on laboratory activities aimed at giving students macroscopic representations of concepts involved in nanoscale research.
The outreach event was organized by Prof. Matthew Golder, Prof. Andrea Carroll, and MEM-C Education and Training Fellow Sarah Zeitler who is a PhD student in the Golder lab. The Golder group kicked off the event with a polymer activity in which students made slime and had the chance to alter the recipe and observe the effects of different recipes on the properties of the polymers they created.
The Reed group helped students create rainbow bookmarks by depositing an ultra-thin layer of clear nail polish on bookmarks the students decorated – the thickness of film remaining on each bookmark resulted in iridescent rainbow colors overlaying the students’ creations.
The Xiao lab guided students through building crystal structures from toothpicks and mini-marshmallows and making student messages written in “invisible” ink appear on a piece of paper. Heating the paper drives off water molecules remaining in the dried ink, altering the spectral properties of the dried ink and making the message appear.
The Cossiart lab wrapped up the event by giving students a chance to work with gold nanoparticles – they added reagents to alter the environment of the gold particles, creating solutions with new colors and properties.