Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Nanites and the big picture.

Today A came up to me after I had put G down for his nap and said, "Mom, what are nano's"? Hmmm? You mean our Apple nano? "No, you know, nano's, nanotechnology." (he just turned 4!) Um, how do you know about nano's? "You mean nanites, mom." So how do you know about them?

I discovered that when he was playing on National Geographic Kids for the 10 minutes it took me to get G to sleep, he had found a game, learned how to play it, and was trying to figure out why the nanites were in the blood trying to fight viruses. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. So our naptime today was spent researching online together to find information about nanotechnology for kids. Not much out there for the preschool set. Ha. We did find a few articles and visual diagrams that were interesting and we could print out.

"Nano" comes from the Greek word for dwarf. In measurement, "the prefix "nano" means one-billionth. So, 1 nanosecond is one-billionth of a second, and 1 nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. A human hair is about 80,000 nanometers wide."

We found some fun info at Nanooze, a kids science magazine, and at Science News For Kids. A spent the rest of the afternoon, talking about everything and pretending he was a scientist with a microscope.

We were out chatting with a neighbor this afternoon, and he ran up and kept asking her about nanites and nanotechnology. She wasn't sure that she heard correctly, so I explained, yes, he is really talking about nanotechnology. It always seems funny to see how people react to very young children talking about things that they would never expect them to. I love that kids can get excited by ideas and concepts presented in science and technology and find a way to apply it to their reality. I know that he doesn't fully understand the big picture (well, with nanotechnology I probably don't either), but that he finds something interesting, wants to explore it further, and wants to talk about it and share it with other people is cool.

When his dad got home, they were chatting ... imagine if all of the little grains of sand in the whole sandbox were nanites but that they all fit into just ONE grain of sand ... So perhaps he does get it.

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