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Forum Week 2023 ~ Exploring Nanotechnology

Last week, CMS students participated in Forum Week 2023, an annual tradition at CMS where all regular classes are suspended and we dive into a specific theme. Local experts in the field are invited to present and offer hands-on experiences for the students. Field trips are an integral part of the week, exposing students to places in the community that relate to the week's theme. The theme is kept a secret from both the students and parents until the first day of Forum Week.

This year's theme was Nanotechnology. Students took the whole week learning about nanotechnology and the impact that it has had on our lives. The week began with an introduction of nanotechnology by Joe Muskins, the Education Coordinator for the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois, followed by hands-on activities of 3D printing, and "moving a wall". The afternoon included both Mr. Muskins and Adam Poetzel (Senior Instructor, Curriculum and Instruction, University of Illinois) engaging the students in a laser graphing activity.

Day two involved an all-day trip to the University of Illinois, beginning at Beckman and ending at MNTL. Students viewed the BugScope, and took a peak at an MRI. The day concluded with a visit to MNTL where we checked out the "dirty donut" and viewed the cleanrooms (and tried on the cleanroom bunny suits).

Silver and gold nanoparticles were the focus on Thursday morning with Dr. Lili Cai (Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, University of Illinois), followed by an afternoon discussing quantum mechanics with Dr. Shaloo Rekheja (Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, University of Illinois). Activities included checking out the atomic detail of common objects, and investigating colors and how they relate to LEDs.

On the last morning of Forum Week, Brian Cunningham, Professor and the Intel Alumni Endowed Chair in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois, and his team of students came and presented three modules demonstrating uses of nanotechnology: optics, biology and detection. Students then took what they had learned throughout the week and made posters for parents and school guests to see.

To say the students gained valuable insight into the field of nanotechnology during Forum Week is an understatement. The following photo gallery is only a visual representation of how much our students learned and enjoyed our week in Nanotechnology.

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