Middle- and high-school students in the Tri-Cities area will soon be seeing life in a whole new way as school district teachers learn how to implement portable scanning electron microscopes.
This summer Heritage University and its partners trained teachers on how to use SEMs in the classroom as part of Project NANO, a program that provides sixth- through 12th-grade students with hands-on experience in using research-grade equipment. The high-powered SEMs use a beam of electrons that magnifies objects up to 300,000 times on screen, allowing students to see objects that are invisible to the naked eye. The technology is so powerful it can reveal the chemical composition of objects. SEMs also provide a large depth of field that can show surface details and spatial arrangements of an object, a function traditional classroom microscopes cannot do.
Project NANO was developed by M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Nanoscience Instruments Inc. and Portland State University. Funding from Battelle Corporate Contributions allowed Heritage to provide the teacher training in partnership with Columbia Basin College, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and the Center for Science Education at PSU. The goal is to have nearly every middle- and high-school student in the Tri-Cities area participating in the program within the next five years.
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