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Educational Outreach: From Ithaca to
Los Angeles

To broaden its educational impact, and to better connect with predominately minority serving school districts, the Center for Nanoscale Systems (CNS) has established several educational outreach satellite sites across the nation, which are hosted either by CNS investigators who are located at nearby universities and colleges or by other educational partners in urban areas. In the Los Angeles area, CNS senior investigator David Tanenbaum ( Pomona College) leads one such satellite. Prof. Tanenbaum has hosted and supported three weekend workshops for high school physics teachers that were organized in partnership with the Whittier Union High School District to reach teachers who work with a 78% Hispanic population of students. Two of these workshops were held at Whittier in order to ensure high attendance rates from these teachers. Tanenbaum has also opened a CNS supported equipment lending library at Pomona College that distributes “hands-on” science activity kits, which have been developed by CNS personnel in partnership with high school physics teachers, to local teachers for use in their classrooms for discovery based learning. Fifteen different activity kits have been developed to date, with more to come, and the Ponoma site currently has 12 copies of eight of the most popular of these for loan to teachers in the LA region. The participating teachers first learn about the use of these kits either during the CNS workshops or, in some cases, during their attendance at the three week Summer Institute that CNS holds at Cornell annually for physics teachers. To date, three Los Angeles teachers have attended the Summer Institute, and three will be attending in 2006.

(Left) CNS senior investigator David Tanenbaum hosts a workshop for Los Angeles area teachers at Pomona College.

(Right) CNS Cornell graduate student Markus Brink helps teachers learn about teaching electrical circuits using the CNS hands-on teaching activity kit “Water Analogy to Electric Circuits.”

[Director of Educational Outreach Monica Plisch and the CNS team]

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