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1.1: Investigating Static Forces in Nature: The Mystery of the Gecko Physical Science Module

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Preface

What Is the NanoLeap Physical Science Module?

The NanoLeap project represents an approach for teachers to introduce the exciting world of nanoscale science and technology to their classes by integrating interdisciplinary research with traditional science concepts. Investigating Static Forces in Nature: The Mystery of the Gecko is a three-week module that replaces and supplements part of a unit that is normally taught at the beginning of a physical science course. It addresses National Science Education Standards \mathrm{(NSES)}^1 in Science as Inquiry, the Nature of Science, and Physical Science including the topics of static forces, measurement, size and scale, and adhesion. It also extends some of the basics of atomic structure.

While considering the question of adhesion, students learn about the properties of surfaces and the measurement of force interactions. They then apply these concepts at the nanoscale level. Through studying a curious natural phenomenon (How a gecko adheres to a ceiling?), students gain an understanding of forces, adhesion, surface contact, small size and scale, surfaces close-up, instrumentation, and weak atomic interactions. The central question that students will consider throughout the module is: "What factors affect the strength of the contact forces between interacting surfaces?"

Why NanoLeap?

NanoLeap: Exploring the Mystery of the Gecko models the way scientists think as they study a reallife phenomenon by asking the same types of questions that biologists, chemists, and engineers have been asking for years. This NanoLeap module is intended to motivate students to study a real-world phenomenon and at the same time to give them a better understanding of the role that nanoscale science and technology plays in an ever-changing world. The module provides students with opportunities to develop skills in experimental design that are often a major emphasis in state science assessments.

Curriculum Fit

Whether a physical science course begins with chemistry topics or physics topics, NanoLeap: Exploring the Mystery of the Gecko fits easily into the curriculum. The module engages students actively in the processes of experimental design, utilizing metric measurements and conversions, and exploring properties of matter. Pilot-test teachers suggested that it would be beneficial for students to have prerequisite knowledge about scientific notation and basic atomic structure prior to beginning this module.

^1National Research Council (1996). National science education standards. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Traditional Sequence Proposed NanoLeap Placement
1. Scientific Method/Measurement 1. Introduction to Scientific Method, Measurement

2. Description of Motion

(Velocity/Acceleration)

2. NanoLeap: Exploring the Mystery of the Gecko (Observation, Interpretation, Forces [including electrical, atomic] adhesion, size/scale, modeling, experimentation, instrumentation, drawing conclusions) The module replaces or supplements Scientific Method and Forces (Net Forces/Friction)
3. Forces (Net Forces/Friction)

3. Description of Motion

(Velocity/Acceleration)

4. Forces to Explain Motion (Newton’s Laws) 4. Forces to Explain Motion (Newton’s Laws)

Learning Cycle and Assessments

The module employs a modified “Five E” learning cycle where observations and questions are developed in the Engage phase. Investigations are based on new understandings of concepts during subsequent learning experiences in the “Explore, Explain, and Elaborate phases.” The Evaluate phase is conducted at the conclusion of the module. Student formative assessments, designed to help teachers make effective instructional decisions, are embedded within each lesson (e.g., reflection journals to assess learning and identify questions and misconceptions early). The summative essay assessment is evaluated using rubrics designed to help students and teachers understand expectations and measure performance against specific criteria.

The following table contains the lesson sequence organized by the learning cycle and lesson objectives. This table also includes how each lesson aligns with the National Science Education Standards, the NanoLeap Big Ideas and Essential Understandings, and Multiple Choice Summative Assessment Items.

Learning Cycle Lesson Title Objectives NSES Content Standards Addressed NanoLeap Big Ideas/Essential Understandings
Engage Lesson 1: How Can a Gecko Walk on a Ceiling? Make observations, predictions, and interpretations of how the gecko’s foot interacts with surfaces

History and Nature of Science:

Nature of Scientific Knowledge

Formulate questions that might be used for further investigations

Science as Inquiry:

Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry

Identify questions and concepts that guide scientific investigations

Explore Lesson 2: What Do We Mean When We Speak About Surfaces in Contact?

Compare the amount of surface contact (real contact) to total unit area (apparent contact)

Science as Inquiry:

Understandings about scientific inquiry

Mathematics is essential in scientific inquiry.

Mathematics’ tools and models guide and improve the posing of questions, gathering data, constructing explanations, and communicating results.

Forces

Electrical and magnetic forces are the most important of the fundamental forces at the nanoscale level.

Adhesion, the attractive force between two unlike materials, is dependent upon the total area of contact between the materials' surfaces.

Understand that different textures of surfaces have different contact ratios
Explore/ Explain Lesson 3: What Are Your Ideas About Small Sizes? Classify and compare objects in different size ranges to have a better understanding of objects at the nanoscale

Science as Inquiry:

Understandings about scientific inquiry

Mathematics is essential in scientific inquiry.

Mathematics’ tools and models guide and improve the posing of questions, gathering data, constructing explanations, and communicating results.

Physical Science:

The structure of atoms

Measurement and Size

Imaging and measurement tools allow for detection, characterization, and manipulation of nanostructures.

Nanoscience is the study of the structure of atoms and molecules with at least one dimension roughly between 1 and 100\;\mathrm{nanometers.}

The size of a single atom or small molecule is measured at the nanometer scale.

Understand relative size of objects at different scales
Describe nanotechnology, some of its applications, and the positive as well as negative impacts of this technology to someone who is not familiar with the subject.

History and Nature of Science:

Science as a Human Endeavor

Scientists have ethical traditions.

Scientists value peer review, truthful reporting about the methods and outcomes of investigations, and making public the results of work.

Interdisciplinary Nature of Nanoscale Science

The nature of nanoscale science, technology, and engineering is interdisciplinary.

The understanding of the properties and interactions of atoms and molecules may lead to advances in biology, chemistry, and physics.

Ethical and Social Issues of Nanoscale Science and Technology

Social interactions can occur between scientific and engineering communities and society.

It is the responsibility of scientists and practitioners to communicate information necessary for the public to make informed decisions.

Explain/ Elaborate Lesson 4: What Do We Learn When We Look More Closely? Explain how size, structure, and scale relate to surface interactions

Science as Inquiry:

Understandings about scientific inquiry

Mathematics is essential in scientific inquiry.

Mathematics’ tools and models guide and improve the posing of questions, gathering data, constructing explanations, and communicating results.

Forces

Electrical and magnetic forces are the most important of the fundamental forces at the nanoscale level.

Adhesion, the attractive force between two unlike materials, is dependent upon the total area of contact between the materials' surfaces.

Describe the function of compliant surfaces in regards to adhesion (what happens when a surface of an object is applied to the surface of another object)
Explore Lesson 5: What Types of Forces Can Hold Objects Together? Describe what happens when a surface of an object is applied to the surface of another object

Science as Inquiry:

Abilities Necessary to Do Scientific Inquiry

Formulate and revise scientific explanations and models using logic and evidence

Forces

Electrical and magnetic forces are the most important of the fundamental forces at the nanoscale level.

Adhesion, the attractive force between two unlike materials, is dependent upon the total area of contact between the materials' surfaces.

Adhesion mechanisms include: mechanical interlocking, interdiffusion, surface reaction, capillary action, suction, and intermolecular forces.

Characterize different methods of adhesion
Evaluate applicability of different methods to explain gecko adhesion
Explore/Explain

Lesson 6: How MUCH Force Is Needed to Make an Object Stick?

What Factors Affect the STRENGTH of Force Acting on an Object?

Describe that a net force of zero is necessary for objects to adhere to a surface (wall or ceiling)

Physical Science:

Motion and Forces

Objects change their motion only when a net force is applied.

Whenever one object exerts force on another, a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction is exerted on the first object.

Identify different variables and the constants that affect adhesive forces
Explain how the amount of adhesion changes when the conditions of the surfaces change
Elaborate Lesson 7: How Do We Measure Forces at the Nanoscale Level? Why Is Merely Looking not Enough? Compare and contrast model probe instruments with those that are used to make measurements of electric and magnetic forces at the nanoscale (AFM, MEMS)

Science as Inquiry:

Understandings about scientific inquiry

Scientists rely on technology to enhance the gathering and manipulation of data.

New techniques and tools provide new evidence to guide inquiry and new methods to gather data, thereby contributing to the advance of science.

Science and Technology: Abilities of Technical Design

Students should be introduced to the roles of models and simulations in these processes.

Measurement and Size

Imaging and measurement tools allow for detection, characterization, and manipulation of nanostructures.

Scientific instruments can be used to characterize and measure properties of objects, their structure and surfaces, even if the objects cannot be seen.

Magnetic and electric forces at the nanoscale level, such as van der Waals forces can be measured experimentally.

Model how instrument probes can be used to characterize surface interactions
Describe how the topography of a surface relates to adhesion
Interpret graphs of forces at the nanoscale level
Consider the new evidence about surface topography and seta adhesive forces to evaluate remaining methods of gecko adhesion

Science as Inquiry

Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry

Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and models

Evaluate Lesson 8: How Can a Gecko Walk on a Ceiling? Describe the attractive forces between and within molecules that cause the gecko to adhere to a vertical surface

Physical Science: Motion and Forces

The electric force is a universal force that exists between any two charged objects. Opposite charges attract while like charges repel

Physical Science: Structure of Atoms

Matter is made of minute particles called atoms, and atoms are composed of even smaller components.

Properties of Matter

Surface interactions can dominate and changes in properties can arise at the nanoscale.

Electrical and magnetic forces affect properties of materials, specifically physical and mechanical.

At the nanoscale level, a large fraction of an object's atoms or molecules are exposed at its surface; therefore, the object’s properties are dominated by surface interactions.

Forces

Electrical and magnetic forces are the most important of the fundamental forces at the nanoscale level.

Adhesion mechanisms include: mechanical interlocking, interdiffusion, surface reaction, capillary action, suction, and intermolecular forces.

Intermolecular forces act at the nanoscale.

Van der Waals forces are the only attractive intermolecular forces between two nonpolar, neutral objects.

Interdisciplinary Nature of Nanoscale Science

The nature of nanoscale science, technology, and engineering is interdisciplinary.

The understanding of the properties and interactions of atoms and molecules may lead to advances in biology, chemistry, and physics.

Measurement and Size

Imaging and measurement tools allow for detection, characterization, and manipulation of nanostructures.

Magnetic and electric forces at the nanoscale level, such as van der Waals forces, can be measured experimentally.

Describe how a large number of small forces (van der Waals interactions) at the nanoscale level can add up to macroscopic forces

Physical Science: Motions and Forces

Most observable forces such as those exerted by a coiled spring or friction may be traced to electric forces acting between atoms and molecules.

Overview of Instructional Materials

Teacher Guides

The teacher guides contain background information, suggested procedures, instructional strategies, guiding questions, and connections to previous and subsequent lessons. The teacher guides are formatted in a landscape view. This allows the teacher to correlate between the teacher guide, the PowerPoint slide, and student journal. Each lesson contains the student objectives, a preview of highlights—“At a Glance for the Teacher”, vocabulary, estimated teaching time, materials for activities, demonstrations, and Web site URL addresses. The text of the guide is structured such that background information and pedagogy are in italics and suggested teacher script is in bold. Some questions from the student journal are embedded in the script and are underlined to note formative assessment checkpoints to check for students’ understanding of lesson objectives. These questions are mapped to the student learning objectives.

Additionally, the teacher guides use icons to draw attention to specific items.

Important: A star notes special content or pedagogy that can significantly enhance student understanding based on pilot-teacher input.

Vocabulary: A scroll notes vocabulary terms. Please see the end of each lesson in the teacher guide for definitions.

Time Savers: A lightning bolt notes a suggestion for a time saver. If you are running short on time, use these suggestions to optimize your time.

Student PowerPoint Slides

This module uses PowerPoint slides to guide instruction. In addition to the slides that frame the lesson’s content, additional slides for each lesson include a flowchart so that students can be reminded of previous lessons as well as a slide entitled “Making Connections.” The “Making Connections” slides include questions that assist teachers in formatively assessing student understanding.

Student Journals

The student journal functions as an archive of the students’ written response to activities, probing questions, graphing, and diagramming. Therefore, students will find their journals useful as study guides. It is suggested that the teacher regularly collect the student journal for formative assessment and for grading. Some questions are underlined to note formative assessment checkpoints to check for students’ understanding of lesson objectives.

Direct Vocabulary Instruction Strategy

When introducing new vocabulary to students, teachers can help students learn the meaning by following the steps below.

  1. Present learners with a brief explanation or description of a new term. For example: “Adhesive: A substance that can stick to another object.”
  2. Then, present learners with a nonlinguistic representation of the new term or phrase. This could be a drawing, an artifact, or even acting out the meaning of a word.
  3. Ask learners to generate their own verbal description of “adhesive.”
  4. Ask learners to create their own nonlinguistic representation of “adhesive.”
  5. Periodically ask learners to review the accuracy of their explanations and representations.

Adopted from: Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D. J., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Resources for Definitions

The module’s definitions are adopted/adapted from one or more of the following sources:

Bellairs, A. (1970). The life of reptiles. Universe Books: New York, NY.

Mathematics in Nanoscale Science and Engineering. (2002). Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics. Retrieved August 23, 2006, from www.ipam.ucla.edu/programs/nano2002/

Merriam-Webster OnLine. (2006). Retrieved August 23, 2006, from http://www.m-w.com/

Oxford English Dictionary: OED OnLine. (2006). Retrieved August 23, 2006, from http://www.oed.com

Ramig, J.E., Bailer, J., & Ramsey, J.M. (1995). Teaching science process skills. Good Apple: Torrance, CA.

Ratner, M. & Ratner, D. (2003). NanoTechnology: A gentle introduction to the next big idea. Pearson Education, Inc.: New Jersey.

Big Ideas in Nanoscale Science Essential Understandings
Fundamental Concepts and Principles Students will understand:

Properties of Matter

Surface interactions can dominate and changes in properties can arise at the nanoscale.

  1. Electrical and magnetic forces affect properties of materials, specifically physical and mechanical.
  2. At the nanoscale level, a large fraction of an object's atoms or molecules are exposed at its surface; therefore, the object’s properties are dominated by surface interactions.

Forces

Electrical and magnetic forces are the most important of the fundamental forces at the nanoscale level.

  1. Fundamental forces are usually classified as being strong, weak, gravitational, and electromagnetic (electrical and magnetic). All other forces are subcategories of these classifications.
  2. Adhesion, the attractive force between two unlike materials, is dependent upon the total area of contact between the materials' surfaces.
  3. Adhesion mechanisms include: mechanical interlocking, interdiffusion, surface reaction, capillary action, suction, and intermolecular forces.
  4. Intermolecular forces act at the nanoscale.
  5. Van der Waals forces are the only attractive intermolecular forces between two non-polar, neutral objects.

Energy

The flow of energy in large part drives processes of change in biological and chemical systems.

  1. Energy is a fundamental quantity that every physical system possesses; it determines how much work the system can be made to do, or how much heat it can exchange. Simply put, a system's energy enables the system to produce change.
  2. Kinetic energy is that energy associated with the motion of an object while potential energy is the stored energy associated with the relative position or configuration of the system's components and the forces between them.
  3. Any change in the relative position or configuration of the system's components will either increase or decrease the system's potential energy. The system will strive to a position or configuration where the energy is at a minimum.
  4. Van der Waals and other intermolecular forces result in changes in distances and configurations between surfaces at the nanoscale, leading to adhesion and a lower energy for the system.

Measurement and Size

Imaging and measurement tools allow for detection, characterization, and manipulation of nanostructures.

  1. Nanoscience is the study of the structure of atoms and molecules with at least one dimension roughly between 1 and 100\;\mathrm{nanometers.}
  2. Scientific instruments can be used to characterize and measure properties of objects, their structure and surfaces, even if the objects cannot be seen.
  3. The size of a single atom or small molecule is measured at the nanometer scale.
  4. Magnetic and electric forces at the nanoscale level, such as van der Waals forces can be measured experimentally.
  5. Nanoscale science, technology, and fabrication sometimes require cleanroom environments.

Interdisciplinary Nature of Nanoscale Science

The nature of nanoscale science, technology, and engineering is interdisciplinary.

  1. The understanding of the properties and interactions of atoms and molecules may lead to advances in biology, chemistry, and physics.

Ethical and Social Issues of Nanoscale Science and Technology

Social interactions can occur between scientific and engineering communities and society.

  1. It is the responsibility of scientists and practitioners to communicate information necessary for the public to make informed decisions.
  2. A sound understanding of nanoscience can help to inform public policy.

Engage

Student Learning Objectives:

  • Make observations and interpretations of how the gecko’s foot interacts with surfaces
  • Formulate possible adhesive methods that might be considered for further investigations

At a Glance for the Teacher:

  • Frayer Model: “What Are Your Ideas About Nanoscale Science?”
  • Observations of NanoSize Me and Tricky Feet videos
  • Comparison of observations and interpretations
  • Observations of gecko images

Note: Some questions from the Student Journal are underlined as formative assessment checkpoints for you to check students’ understanding of lesson objectives.

Estimated Time: 45-60\;\mathrm{Minutes}

Vocabulary: Adhere, Adhesion, Interaction, Interpreting, Macroscale, Mechanism, Nanoscale, Observing, Qualitative Observing, Quantitative Observing, Surface

Refer to the end of this Teacher Guide for definitions.

Materials:

  • PowerPoint for Lesson 1
  • Student Journal for Lesson 1
  • Videos NanoSize Me and Tricky Feet found at: http://www.mcrel.org/nanoleap/multimedia/index.asp
  • Computer with LCD projector
  • Multiple colors of pens or pencils (optional)
  • Optional: live geckos, aquarium, and crickets for an in-class introduction one week prior to the module.

Slide #

Student Journal Page #

Teacher Background Information and Pedagogy

"Teacher Script"

Slide 1

Introduction to NanoLeap

Student Journal Page: 1–1

Student Journal Page: 1 - 2

Slide 2

Student Journal Page: 1–2

Students will use a Frayer Model (Student Journal) to organize their thoughts about nanoscience. The Frayer model (Frayer, Frederick, and Klausmeier, 1969) is a word categorization activity that helps learners to develop their understanding of \mathrm{concepts}^2. Once students have had a chance to write down their thoughts, elicit student responses and record them on the board. Listen carefully to their answers, but do not provide feedback at this time. Acknowledge students answers by saying “Thank you for the comment.” While students may not have much to report at this time, they will build upon and revise their responses in future lessons using this graphic organizer. Explain to students that throughout the module, they will be building upon what they now know to a deeper understanding of nanoscale science and technology.

1. Prior to showing the video, have students begin the Frayer Model by recording a definition of “Nanoscale Science” using their own words in the upper-left box.

"We will begin our journey to the Nanoworld with a video. Before we do this, let’s complete the chart in which you can record what you know about nanoscale science by listing examples and non-examples."

2. Play the NanoSize Me video. During the video, students may record notes in the “Information” box of the Frayer Model. Video available at: http://www.mcrel.org/nanoleap/multimedia/index.asp. The purpose of the video is for student awareness of nanoscale science applications. It is not necessary for students to completely understand the content of each of the examples. However, some field test teachers recommended pausing the video and checking students’ understanding by listening to student questions if time allows.

3. Following the NanoSize Me video, have students modify their Frayer Model responses.

“We will continue our journey to the Nanoworld with another video. In this module, we will be studying forces that are dominant at macro (visible world) and nanoscale (unseen world). The nanoscale is an extremely small scale, measurements can be made with the unit ‘nanometer,” which is one billionth of a meter.”

4. Show the thirty-second video “Tricky Feet.” After showing the video, begin the script and PowerPoint slide. Video available at: http://www.mcrel.org/nanoleap/multimedia/index.asp. For the purposes of assessing prior knowledge, ask the scripted question below prior to Slide 2.

Ask the students:

“How do you think these animals are able to crawl on walls and ceilings? (Elicit student responses and have students record responses in their journal.) Scientists have been puzzled about this for hundreds of years, and only recently have they come up with possible explanations. Their new ideas came from measuring devices that can examine the gecko at a scale close to the size of individual atoms. That level is called nanoscale.”

5. Ask students to explain the characteristics of observations and interpretations. See explanations for each in the Characteristics of Observations and Interpretations. Have students complete the chart in their journal. Make sure students have included similar responses to those in the chart below. Provide some examples from everyday life in addition to the definition at the end of the Teacher Guide.

Characteristics of Observations and Interpretations—Sample Responses

Observations Interpretations

Makes use of senses

Makes use of instrumentation (when possible)

Uses illustrations and labels

Are statements and not questions

Qualitative: Description of characteristics

Quantitative: Numeric or measurements

Explains how/why based on what you scientifically observe

May show diagrams or illustrations of how you think something works

Bases explanation on scientific observation, experience, or something learned earlier (extant data)

Are statements and not questions

Slide #

Student Journal Page #

Teacher Background Information and Pedagogy

"Teacher Script"

6. Once the chart is completed, have the students classify the statements about the frog in their Student Journals. Emphasize the difference between qualitative and quantitative observations. Students complete the responses to the journal questions on page 1–2. “For the picture of the frog above, label the following as observations (O), interpretations (I), or questions (Q).”

Answer Key :

The frog is green. (O-Qualitative)

Why is the frog on the person’s arm? (Q)

The frog is ready to jump. (I)

The frog is slimy. (I)

The frog has 2 eyes. (O-Quantitative)

The frog is hungry. (I)

Slide 3

Student Journal Page: 1–3

7. Have the students make observations of the gecko images.

“We are going to begin our investigation by making some observations of a gecko at the macroscale level. Write down as many observations as you can based on the images that you see on this slide. Look for similarities and differences among the images. Record your observations on the left side of the chart in your journal.”

Circulate around the room and assist students with questions. If students ask, state that the gecko in image 1.2 is on a vertical surface, while the geckos on images 1.1 and 1.3 are upside down on a horizontal surface. Students may have questions about the surface of image 1.3. Ask students to take a closer look at the feet on this image in order to describe the surface. This can be an interpretation listed in their journal.

Note to teacher: The gecko is adhering to glass in image 1.3.

Slide 4

Student Journal Page: 1–3

Optional

8. Ask the students:

“Now that you have made observations about the gecko and the surfaces, it is time to write down some interpretations of these images. Record your interpretations on the right side of the chart.”

The degree of inquiry from these observations and interpretations can be adjusted with the degree of response prompted by the teacher. If students do not describe the surface in their observations, you may want to ask them what kind of surfaces the gecko is adhering to.

9. Have students work in groups to make comparisons—this can be optional if you are running out of time. If so, proceed to step 10.

Optional: “Working in small groups, exchange and share your observations and interpretations with others in your group. Devise a system for keeping track of each other’s responses in your Student Journals. Note any similarities.”

Once students have had a chance to make some individual observations, allow them to gather into a small group to compare their observations. Have the students report out using white boards with two columns: Observations and Interpretations. Spend about 5-10\;\mathrm{minutes} on this sharing out.

Encourage students to include any new observations and interpretations made by their classmates that they themselves did not make. Provide different colored pencils or pens so that students can differentiate between their own observations and interpretations and those of their classmates. For instance, students could use one color for their own observations, and another color for their own interpretations. A third color could indicate observations made by other students, and a fourth color for others’ interpretations.

Slides 5–6

Student Journal Page: 1–4

10. Allow students time to observe images. Then, begin debriefing students with the questions on Slides 5 and 6

1. What do the images have in common?

Each image has a gecko that is “sticking” or “adhering” to a surface. In the second image, the gecko is hanging on the smooth underside of a piece of transparent surface. Since the surface is clear, it may not be a direct observation; however, students might interpret this.

2. What do you observe about the surfaces and textures in these images?

In the field test, some students said that the surface appears to be “smooth,” while others said “rough.” Some field test students identified the substances as wood, plastic, or glass.

3. What do you interpret about how the gecko’s foot interacts with the surface?

4. What questions do you have or additional information do you need to know in order to understand what makes a gecko adhere to surfaces?

Allow students to work in their groups to make a list of topics they would need to know more about in order to understand what is happening.

“We will be investigating many of these questions in future lessons.”

Note: You may want to use the flow chart on slide 8 to show future lesson topics related to their questions.

Slide 6

Student Journal Page: 1–4

5. What are some possible methods for the gecko to adhere to a surface?

Possible answers from the pilot test include: suction cups, sticky feet, glue, sharp claws

6. Describe how you made your observations in today’s lesson.

Observations: a. eyes, b. visible, c. gravity

7. What variables affect the force between the animal and the surface?

Students might state: distances apart, mass, surface-area contact, moisture, cleanliness

Slide 7

Student Journal Page: 1–4

11. Students might have questions about the gecko in the images. If so, you may provide information similar to what is described in the script. Debrief the groups’ responses by recording them on the overhead, white/chalk board, or chart paper. These should be kept for the essay assessment at the end of the module. Student responses regarding the possible methods of gecko adhesion will vary. Some may include the following: claws, suction, friction, water, secretion (glue-like substance), Velcrolike substance on the foot, or static electricity. It is all right if students don’t mention all of these at this time; however, many of these have already been considered (and evaluated) by scientists.

At the end of each lesson, hold a short discussion with questions from the “Making Connections” slide. These questions are intended to be used by the teacher as a formative assessment and to allow students to connect key information to what was learned in previous lessons.

“Geckos are small reptiles found in the tropics. They are often observed in the strangest places, because they stick to just about anything. Geckos are known for their remarkable wall-climbing ability. The method for adhesion is not well established. How do you think the gecko adheres to a vertical surface or a ceiling?”

“Making Connections: The questions here are a chance for us to discuss what was learned during this first lesson.”

  1. “Describe one or two ideas that you learned during this lesson.”
  2. “How do you think the gecko sticks to the ceiling?”
  3. “What should we explore next?” (If students suggest something outside the scope of the module, encourage them to try some of these ideas at home.)

“In the next set of lessons, we will investigate this phenomenon to better understand how the gecko adheres to a surface.”

Slide 8

12. The pilot-test teachers highly recommend using this flow chart at the end and/or beginning of each lesson. The end of each lesson contains this flow chart that provides an opportunity to show students the “big picture” and where they are in the lesson sequence. The following color code is used:

Yellow: Past Lessons

Blue: Current Lesson

Green: Next Lesson

White: Future Lessons

“In the next lesson, you will take a closer look into the role that the amount of contact between two surfaces is to better understand what is happening.”

^2Barton, M. L., & Jordan, D. L. (2001). Teaching reading in science: A supplement to the second edition of teaching reading in the content areas teacher's manual. Aurora, CO: Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.

Appendix: NanoLeap Physical Science Vocabulary

Adhere

  1. To hold fast or to stick
  2. To bind to

Adhesion

  1. The attraction exerted between the surfaces of objects. Can be either mechanical (e.g., suction, microinterlocking, friction) or intermolecular (e.g., electrical and magnetic)
  2. Objects in contact: steady or firm attachment of objects

Interaction

  1. Mutual or reciprocal action or influence (contact)
  2. How one thing affects another

Interpreting

To explain or tell the meaning of

Macroscale

  1. The length scale that is observable with the unaided eye
  2. The description of objects and actions at a size visible to the unaided eyes

Nanoscale

  1. The scale between systems of a few atoms and continuum systems
  2. The description of objects and actions that occur at sizes of 1-100\;\mathrm{nanometers}. (the size of a few atoms)

Observing

Using human senses and/or instruments to recognize, note, or describe a fact or occurrence, often involving measurement with instruments

Qualitative Observing

When someone describes an object or phenomenon using their own senses (e.g., seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, tasting)

Quantitative Observing

When someone measures an object or phenomenon using an instrument other than their own senses (e.g., ruler, scale, thermometer, etc.)

Surface

The exterior or boundary of an object, immediately adjacent to the air or empty space, or to another body

Investigating Static Forces in Nature: The Mystery of the Gecko

Lesson 1: How Can a Gecko Walk on a Ceiling?

Teacher Guide

© 2009 McREL

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Feb 23, 2012

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