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Physical Science

Investigating Static Forces in Nature: The Mystery of the Gecko

                      Lesson 1                          Lesson 5
                      Lesson 2                          Lesson 6
                      Lesson 3                          Lesson 7
                      Lesson 4                          Lesson 8
NanoLeap logo  

Entire Compilation—Lessons 1-8
+ Physical Science Student Journals
(PDF 1.5 Mb)
+ Physical Science Teacher Guides (PDF, 2 Mb)



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.
+ Preface, Learning Objectives, Standards, & Big Ideas
(PDF 150 Kb)
+ Materials Sheet (PDF, 109 Kb)

  Gecko foot  
Lesson 1: How Can a Gecko Walk on the Ceiling?
Students will:

Make observations and interpretations of how the gecko's   foot interacts with surfaces
Formulate possible adhesive methods that might be   considered for further investigations
+ Teacher Guide (PDF, 68 Kb)
+ PowerPoint (PPT, 373 Kb)
+ Student Journal (Word, 3 Mb)
+ Tricky Feet (WMV, 5.8 Mb)
+ NanoSize Me (QT, 4.7 Mb)

  Gecko climbing on ceiling  
Lesson 2: What Do We Mean When We Speak About Surfaces in Contact?
Students will:

Compare the amount of surface contact (real contact) to   total unit area (apparent contact) at the macro level
Understand that different textures of surfaces have different   contact ratios
+ Teacher Guide (PDF, 55 Kb)
+ PowerPoint (PPT, 1.2 Mb)
+ Student Journal (Word, 4.6 Mb)

  tread of tennis shoe  
Lesson 3: What Are Your Ideas About Small Sizes?
Students will:

Classify and compare objects in different size ranges to   have a better understanding of objects at the nanoscale
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
+ Teacher Guide (PDF, 261 Kb)
+ PowerPoint (PPT, 531 Kb)
+ Student Journal (Word 649 Kb)
+ NanoScale Me (Flash Movie, 244 Kb)
+ National Geographic Article

  screen shot of Nanosize Me interactive with varying increments of measurement and corresponding icons  
Lesson 4: What Do We Learn When We Look More Closely?
Students will:

Explain how size, structure, and scale relate to a surface   features
Describe the function of compliant surfaces with regard to   adhesion (what happens when a surface of an object is   applied to the surface of another object)
+ Teacher Guide (PDF, 629 Kb)
+ PowerPoint (PPT, 10.7 Mb)
+ Student Journal (Word, 2.3 Mb)

  Spatula shaped tips on the end of a gecko seta  
Lesson 5: What Types of Forces Can Hold Objects Together?
Students will:

Explain the properties of an adhesive
Describe what happens when the surface of an object is   brought into contact with the surface of another object
Characterize different methods of adhesion
Evaluate applicability of different methods to explain gecko   adhesion
+ Teacher Guide (PDF, 248 Kb)
+ PowerPoint (PPT, 326 Kb)
+ Student Journal
(Word, 177 Kb)
+ Student Handout (Word, 174 Kb)

  diagram of water on plate vs. water on paper  
Lesson 6: How MUCH Force Is Needed to Make an Object Stick?
Students will:

Explain that a net force of zero or greater is necessary for   objects to adhere to a surface (wall or ceiling)
Identify different variables and the constants that affect   adhesive forces
Explain how the amount of adhesion changes when the   conditions of the surfaces change
+ Teacher Guide (PDF, 139 Kb)
+ PowerPoint (PPT, 957 Kb)
+ Student Journal
(Word, 2.3 Mb)

  Testing transparent tape adhesion  
Lesson 7: How Do We Measure Forces at the Nanoscale Level?
Students will:

Compare and contrast model probe instruments with those   that are used to make measurements of electric and   magnetic forces at the nanoscale (AFM, MEMS)
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
+ Teacher Guide (PDF, 364 Kb)
+ PowerPoint (PPT, 2 Mb)
+ Atoms PPT (PPT, 807 Kb)
+ Student Journal (Word, 934 Kb)
+ NanoLeap into AFM (QT, 150 Kb)

  A mystery box used to model an atomic force microscope probing a surface  
Lesson 8: How Can a Gecko Walk on a Ceiling?
Students will:

• Describe the attractive forces between and within molecules   that cause the gecko to adhere to a vertical surface
Describe how a large number of small forces (van der   Waals interactions) at the nanoscale level can add up to   macroscopic forces
Describe how a gecko can adhere to a ceiling by drawing   on learning experiences throughout module
+ Teacher Guide (PDF, 270 Kb)
+ PowerPoint (PPT, 878 Kb)
+ Student Journal (Word, 359 Kb)
+ Peer Review Checklist
(Word, 154 Kb)
+ Hot Spots
+ Charge Simulator

  Artists rendition of spatula shaped tips on a gecko seta on a surface at the nanoscale  
Principal Investigators:
John Ristvey, McREL
Christine Morrow, SMART Bridges

John Ristvey, McREL
Christine Morrow, SMART Bridges
Deb Aruca, McREL
Dr. Marni Goldman, Stanford University
Dr. Beth Rajan-Sockman, Inspired   Instruction

Content Specialist/Remote Access:
Dr. Mike Deal, Stanford University

Dr. Mike Deal, Stanford University
Professor Fred Goldberg, San Diego
  State University
Dr. Marni Goldman, Stanford University
Professor Daniel Schwartz, University of   Colorado, Boulder

Dr. Beth Rajan-Sockman, Inspired   Instruction

Dr. Elisabeth Palmer, ASPEN Associates
NanoLeap A Team Teachers and

Sonia Ellsworth, Century HS, MN,
Chris Nichols, Castleview HS, CO
Frank Nosal, Eaglecrest HS, CO
Tom Vix, Rushford-Peterson HS, MN
John Olson, St. Paul Public Schools, MN
Sally Heise, District 11, CO
Shannon Strong, Sterling HS, CO

Field Test Teachers:
Lisa Allen, Thomas Anderson, Georgia Bennett, Penny Blue, Derick Budke, Jessica Greenfield, Becky Haack, Emily Haag, Robin Henderson, Megan Inslee, Elizabeth Niklewicz, Robin Peterman, Joseph Price, Amy Schumacher, Joe Shellhammer, Barry Siegwart, Roger Spears, Cheri Tajchman, Maria Torres

Lisa Maxfield, McREL

Judy Counley, McREL