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High school teachers workshop

JULY 15-19


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UNM-Los Alamos offered the SORONA Teacher Workshops in Applied Technologies developed for high school teachers. SORONA, standing for Solar, Robotics, and Nanotechnology, is a week-long immersion in hands-on learning about careers in these three rapidly growing STEM (science, technology, engineering & mathematics) disciplines.

Professional development activities with technical content are much needed in our region. The SORONA workshops address this need by providing participants with curriculum and activities that can be implemented at their schools - activities that students actually love! Teachers cannot be expected to teach new STEM topics when they, themselves may not be comfortable with the subject matter. SORONA empowers teachers to introduce students to these STEM career options. The focus of these summer workshops is to use a strong project-based component involving interdisciplinary thematic instruction. Workshop participants enjoyed a variety of hands-on interdisciplinary activities with a focus on STEM and collaborated on how to make these happen in their individual schools.

Participants explored the STEM components of these three rapidly emerging areas as well as tie-ins to language arts and social studies. We encourage SORONA participant teachers to present what they have gained in these workshops at their local high schools during faculty meetings. They have our program support to participate in an applied science integrated thematic instruction component as part of their year-long curriculum. This, along with a stronger project-based approach will help solidify an awareness of potential future career pathways for our students.

Check this web site soon for information about the 2014 SORONA Teacher Workshops in Applied Technologies! We hope to see you there!

What Participants Said


The 2013 SORONA Teacher Workshops description


Instructor: Don Davis, Professor of Applied Science, UNM Los Alamos

In this workshop, participants will learn about producing energy from the sun- Photovoltaics, and how to integrate this important area of green energy production into their curriculum. Participants will build astand-alone portable solar array with real-world components and will work on hands-on experimental projects. This training is extremely valuable and will build teachers’ expertise as instructors. Photovoltaics kits will be provided to the participants.

SORONA Solar Lecture
Sample Solar Lesson Plans


Instructor: Don Davis, Professor of Applied Science, UNM Los Alamos

This is a hands-on workshop, in which participantswill learn to build and program robots that perform a variety of tasks. Robotics is extremely popular with students, as they gain important STEM skills through this highly interdisciplinary area of study. We will also discuss important aspects of managing a successful robotics class in every area from activities, to material management and ordering, to assessment. Each participant will receive a complete robotics kit to start off their program.

SORONA Robotics Lecture
Sample Robotics Lesson Plans


Instructors: Ben Hansen, Professor of Nanotechnology & Engineering, UNM Los Alamos and David Phillips, Professor of Nanotechnology, UNM Los Alamos

This is a two-part workshop emphasizing both nano simulation & fabrication. Participants will complete computational labs to determine various stable carbon arrangements and to modelsilver nanoparticles. The workshop will also cover various processes used in fabricating a typical MEMS sensor. Participants will be introduced to fabrication techniques such as deposition, photolithography, etching, photoresist strip and lift-off. This workshop will give participants the opportunity to perform one or more of these techniques to obtain hands-on experience with MEMS fabrication.

Sample Nano Lesson Plans



Solar and Robotics:

Don Davis is an Assistant Professor of Applied Sciences at UNM-Los Alamos as well as a teacher at Los Alamos High School. Davis has extensive experience in both secondary and post-secondary STEM education. He heads the solar energy and robotics programs at UNMLA and the Pre-Engineering program at Los Alamos High School. He has a background in Industrial Process Engineering. Davis is a national Presidential Awardee for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and was Los Alamos Public Schools 2011-2012 Teacher of the Year. Don Davis is also a mentor for the Los Alamos High School FIRST Robotics Challenge Team.



David H. Phillips is a manufacturing engineer with degrees in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University and Materials Science and Engineering from Ohio State University. Mr. Phillips' teaches Manufacturing Measurement and Process Control as part of the Nano Technologies tract at UNM-LA. Mr. Phillips' graduate work, using X-ray computed tomography (CT) to study the evolution of density gradients during the dry pressing and sintering of technical ceramic powders, led him into a career using, developing and building CT scanners for industrial and medical use. Mr. Phillips is also a mentor for the Los Alamos High School FIRST Robotics Challenge team and the Young Adult Ski Patrol at Pajarito Mountain.

Dr. Ben Hansen received his degree in Materials Science with a minor in Mechanical Engineering from CalTech, where we studied Metallurgy and Quantum Mechanics. He followed this up with several years of virtual work creating computer models of metal deformation at LANL. He now splits his time between helping students "see" into the mirco and nano scales and teaching macro scale engineering.



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