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The Power of Graphene

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(Full teacher resource documents are included in the PDF)

Lesson Focus
Lesson focuses on graphene and its electrical properties and applications.  Students learn about nanotechnology and how engineers can harness the differences in how materials behave when small to address challenges in many industries. Students work in teams to hypothesize and then test whether graphene is an electrical conductor or insulator.  They build a simple circuit using everyday items, and create a graphene sample using soft pencils on paper.  They observe what they see, extrapolate to broader applications, present their ideas to the class, and reflect on the experience.

Lesson Synopsis
The "Power of Graphene" lesson explores graphene and its electrical properties and applications at the nano scale.  Students work in teams to test graphene using a simple circuit set up and consider how this remarkable material is impacting many industries.  Teams evaluate their test results, develop new theoretical applications for graphene, present their ideas to the class, and reflect on the experience.

Age Levels:   8-18

Objectives

  • Learn about nanotechnology.
  • Learn about graphene.
  • Learn about circuits, insulators, and conductors.
  • Learn how engineering can help solve society's challenges.
  • Learn about teamwork and problem solving

Anticipated Learner Outcomes
As a result of this activity, students should develop an understanding of:

  • nanotechnology
  • graphene
  • circuits, insulators, and conductors
  • teamwork

Lesson Activities
Students explore nanotechnology and the material graphene in terms of its ability to conduct electricity and its impact on many industries and products.  Students test graphene to see if it will be an insulator or conductor in a simple circuit, and develop hypothetical applications for graphene that would revolutionize a product or system. Teams present their ideas to the class and reflect on the experience.

Resources/Materials

  • Teacher Resource Documents (attached)
  • Student Resource Sheet (attached)
  • Student Worksheets (attached)

Alignment to Curriculum Frameworks
Curriculum alignment sheet is included in the 
PDF.

NISE Network Activities
Related educational programs and activities designed for use in informal education settings. Courtesy of the 
Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net).