Q: How much time is needed for the curriculum?

A:  It takes about 15-20 hour to complete the curriculum. Click here to view curriculum structure.

Q: Can I join at any time during the school year?

A:  Yes, but the registration for the free curriculum offer, with purchase of kit materials, is only available during April 2014. The curriculum can be used anytime in 2014.



Q: What are the primary benefits of i-MWM?

A: Making our content available in a mobile access format will

  • enable students to use multimedia learning tools to study complex spatial, time- and size-dependent phenomena, which are fundamental to nanoscience.
  • allow students to study and review materials at their own pace and follow their own progress.
  • make assessment data available to teachers/parents instantly so they can intervene more effectively to meet the needs of diverse learners.

Q: Is i-MWM a curriculum supplement?

A:  i-MWM can be used either as a supplement or incorporated as an integral part of the STEM curriculum in grades 6-12.

Q: Where does i-MWM content come from?

A: i-MWM is based on a highly successful national STEM program called Materials World Modules (MWM) (open in separate window). MWM was launched at Northwestern University in 1993 with funding from the National Science Foundation. The program consists of 16 modules on crosscutting materials and nanotechnology topics and a series of interactive simulations, games and modeling tools to help students visualize and grasp the nanoscale.

Q: How is the module structured?

A: The module is designed to teach four fundamental nanotechnology concepts: Size-Dependent Properties, Measurement and Tools, Size and Scale and Surface Area-Volume Ratio. The thematic focus for this unit is “Solar Energy”.

See a full description of module activities and suggested curriculum structure.

Q: Why have you chosen these four concepts for this module?

A:  Based on our 20 years of content development and decades of teaching at the university level, it is our experience that these concepts can effectively prepare students to understand complex spatial (3D), size- and time-dependent phenomena that underlie advanced STEM study. The four concepts were refined and tested by the National Center for Learning and Teaching in Nanoscale Science and Engineering (NCLT) – an NSF-funded center for the integration of nano concepts into the U.S. STEM curriculum based at Northwestern.

Q: Will students still perform hands-on activities?

A: Yes! Students will work together to perform hands-on inquiry and engineering design projects, supported by online resources.

Q: How will students use mobile devices inside and outside the classroom or a structured learning environment?

A: i-MWM is designed to help students and teachers/parents make the most of their time together. In class or a structured learning environment, students will use online modeling and data analysis tools to support their hands-on activities. Outside the classroom, students can use various multimedia tools (animations, simulations, tutorials, and games) to prepare for class or review what they have studied. When students are better prepared, they can participate more fully in classroom learning.



Q: What is the goal of the iMWM?

A: Our primary goal is to provide a  media-rich, nano-based integrated curriculum for teachers/parents. We want to create an interactive, immersive media to enable anytime, anyplace learning, and stimulate new educational practices through the use of mobile devices and online platforms.

Q: What else do you hope to accomplish via i-MWM?

A: Help students learn the four core nanoconcepts using the i-MWM program and see how the elements of the i-MWM curriculum function together as an integrated learning system. We will examine:

  • How using interactive multimedia learning technology can enhance cognition of complex concepts (e.g. spatial, time-and size-dependent phenomena);
  • How personalizing the learning experience can engage and support individual learners more effectively;
  • How using online tools can enhance the hands-on practice of scientific inquiry and engineering design in their learning environment;
  • How using “Energy” as a topic can provide compelling relevance, motivate learning, and provide a variety of application contexts;
  • How mobile access and real-time assessment feedback will help teachers/parents meet the needs of diverse learners.



Q: Will this help my child with math skills?

A: Yes! i-MWM can be used in any STEM classroom, including math. Nanoscience and nanotechnology have many exciting linkages to math, general science, biology, chemistry, physics, environmental science and engineering.

Q: For which grade levels is this appropriate?

A: Grades 6-12

Q: How do I sign up and buy the i-MWM curriculum?

A: Click here to register.



Q: What assessment materials are available?

A. Pre- and post-tests based on science and more specifically nanoscience content are available. The pre-test is considered a measure of baseline knowledge and the post-test is used to measure gain as an outcome of the use of the i-MWM module.

Item analysis (for each question) will also be performed, pre- and post-tests.

The assessments are approximately 30 questions each and require about 30-40 min to complete.   In addition, there are embedded quizzes for the student throughout the activities.

Q: How will data be collected? Will it mean extra work for me?

A:  All assessments will be performed online. Students will enter their own responses. These responses will be automatically linked via student (or user) ID for pre- and post-test purposes. The teacher/parent only needs to set aside time before and after the module is administered to conduct the testing.

Q: What about privacy? How will data be handled and shared?

A: Privacy is assured for student participants by the assignment of a unique student/user ID that links to the individual student/user but is anonymous when submitted for analysis.



Q: Will I receive any prior orientation?

A: Yes! If you register for the curriculum and purchase the kit materials, an optional orientation will be provided, that will include introduction to nanotechnology and inquiry & design practices.

Q: What ongoing support will I receive?

A:  i-MWM content developers and participating nanoscientists will be available to answer your questions and provide support. Click here to learn more about the benefits of joining i-MWM.

Q: Does i-MWM offer any instructional content for teachers/parents?

A: Yes! The concepts being taught are both fundamental and far-reaching. Teacher notes are available for online download at the beginning of each activity.

© Interactive Materials World Modules (i-MWM)

i-MWM is a project under Northwestern University.
Northwestern University is a private, not-for-profit (501.C3), nonsectarian,
coeducational institution, created by Charter by the State of Illinois in 1851.
Materials Research Institute, Northwestern University. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..