Review by Dana Villamagna, Common Sense Education | Updated June 2013
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DIY Nano

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Turn kids into budding nanoscientists who explore the tiniest things

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Teachers say (2 Reviews)
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2-5 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Each activity includes detailed info on time and materials.

Cons: Some of the activities use unusual materials.

Bottom Line: Scientist-reviewed videos and activities relate nanoscience to everyday life.

DIY Nano is an easy, useful teacher resource for hands-on science activities and experiments related to nanoscience. Teachers can use it for a broad study of nanoscience, beginning with the video "Intro to Nano," or incorporate it into another science topic such as gravity and present how gravity relates to nanoscience in a video. You can also select experiments based on specific topic or interest. The especially helpful thing about these experiments is they all list the required materials, prep, activity, and cleanup times, as well as step-by-step directions. Some of them -- such as the smelly balloons experiment -- are just simply fun ways to get kids interested in the science of small things. Do them in small groups or in front of the whole class (especially those containing messier or more obscure ingredients) and then watch the related videos suggested for each experiment.

 

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DIY Nano is a science app that introduces nanotechnology to kids in ways that are both cool and understandable. This uncluttered, well-designed app includes DIY activities and experiments, as well as short videos about topics like materials used in nanotechnology, "nano" and nature, and how nanotechnology affects everyday life. Kids tap on well-categorized, labeled videos to watch them (each just a few minutes long) or choose from the more than 10 activities or experiments. The activities and experiments each include a materials list (some items may be more complicated to acquire and messier than others), instructions, and detailed explanations of why they do what they do. Kids can also visit Whatisnano.org from within the app for even more nanotechnology-related information.

The only small critique is that many of the ingredients or tools needed for the experiments aren't typically found in the average classroom. Still, DIY Nano is complete starter resource for future nano-enthusiasts.

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Kids can gain real enthusiasm for all things nano by watching the informative, sometimes funny, videos and doing the activities on DIY Nano. This scientist-reviewed, easy-to-use app can help kids begin to understand the tiniest things in science, technology, nature, and even "nanomedicine." Students can learn nano-related science and engineering vocabulary, as well as simple lessons about biology, chemistry, substance properties, and the measurement of billions of tiny things when brought together or separated. Through the experiments, kids also practice following directions, investigation, and applying information. With videos about everything from nanocoatings to talking about a billionth of a meter to experiments about how gummy shapes are built via chemistry, DIY Nano is an ingeniously simple app about a complex topic.

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Overall Rating
4

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
4

Informative, sometimes-funny videos have just enough depth to keep kids engaged while not overwhelming them with too much detail. The well-done activities provide hands-on, real-world engagement. Almost all require some adult assistance.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
4

Well-done videos as well as excellent activities help kids learn nanoscience. Even if kids don't have the materials to do the activities, they can learn from reading the directions and explanations.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
4

Extension activities and experiments are laid out with easy directions, excellent photo illustrations, and a well-designed user interface for both the activity and video selections.  


Common Sense Reviewer
Dana Villamagna Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Whitney K. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Lamoille North S.U.
Hyde Park, VT
4
Quick science leads to artistic endeavors

I run a nano size after school program, two days a week for 9 year friends of my 9 year old daughter. We perused the videos and activities, jointly deciding on which activities to bring to our group. Although it purports use of household items, I did have to run to the store for diaper rash ointment and nail polish. We all reviewed the instructions prior to the activity, I helped with the first attempt and let them continue to make the experiment multiple times. They quickly wanted to move onto other nano studies.

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