A few building blocks is all it takes to stimulate scientific curiosity in students, says François Grey.
Many will agree that academic hands-on projects are more effective than long lectures in enticing students’ interest. A practical approach is best suited in particular for interdisciplinary subjects such as nanotechnology, and can help breaking the ice between fellow students in a classroom, and foster learning. In our May issue of In the classroom, François Grey tells us how he has used a hands-on approach to engage students of the summer school LEGO2NANO, held annually at Tsinghua University, in learning about nanotechnology. He challenged student teams to come up, in a week time, with a prototype atomic force microscope that could be used in Chinese schools – with a maximum budget of US$1000. Lego blocks were used among other cheap components, and students were inspired to develop their creative skills. On the back of the success of LEGO2NANO, François is also involved in the launch of a more permanent initiative, called Lifelong Learning Lab, aimed at fostering creativity in the classroom.
Read François Grey’s article, Creativity unleashed, for free on the Nature Nano website.