In a blog post to the Department of Energy’s website on November 23, Rita Baranwal, assistant secretary for the Office of Nuclear Energy, commended recent virtual lesson projects from the Office of Nuclear Energy and the Nuclear Energy Tribal Working Group to increase STEM opportunities for Native American tribes.
The spotlighted lesson discussed in the article focused on a 3D-printed clip that turns a smartphone or tablet into a microscope with the ability to magnify items by 100 times. The Office of Nuclear Energy shipped nearly 1,000 of these microscope clips to students across the country, many of them going to U.S. tribal communities.
Baranwal said that several groups of students from Santa Fe and the Pueblo of Picuris and Navajo Tribes in New Mexico conducted virtual lesson plans on the smartphone microscope. She described some of the activities in which students used their phones to investigate microscopic structures of everyday objects and how this can introduce these students to materials science and nuclear energy.
“The earlier we can engage kids in STEM,” Baranwal said, “the better chance we have in building our future workforce, and from what I’m seeing at STEM events across the country, our future looks very bright.”