SCIENCE OF INNOVATION: Anti-Counterfeiting Devices - An Engineering Perspective (Grades 6-12)

Objective:


Framework for K–12 Science Education: ETS1.A: Defining and Delimiting an Engineering Problem, ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions, ETS2.A: Interdependence of Science, Engineering, and Technology, ETS2.B: Influence of Engineering, Technology, and Science on Society and the Natural World


Introduction Notes:


Science of innovation

Anti-Counterfeiting Devices

An Engineering Perspective (Grades 6–12)

 

Lesson plans produced by the National Science Teachers Association.

Video produced by NBC Learn in collaboration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office
and the National Science Foundation.

 

Background and Planning

 

About the Video

In this video, Dr. Jeremy Wilson, a researcher in anti-counterfeiting technologies at Michigan State University, discusses ways to differentiate between counterfeit products and authentic products, in an effort to combat an illegal industry that costs the global economy hundreds of billions of dollars annually. The video focuses on how Dr. Evangelyn Alocilja contributed to Wilson’s research with her expertise in nanotechnology, which she had used in her own research to detect bacteria and other contaminants in food. Alocilja’s and Wilson’s collaboration resulted in the development of anti-counterfeiting devices that use gold “nanotaggants,” which contain specific protein sequences that could be used to identify products. A product can be tested for the nanotaggant, and if it is not present, the product is deemed counterfeit. Dr. Alocilja has received several patents for this technology, which enables both protection of new ideas and the sharing of these ideas with other scientists and engineers.

 

0:00       0:14       Series opening

0:15       1:03       Introduction to counterfeit products

1:04       1:39       Dr. Wilson and the Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection Program at MSU

1:40       2:04       Dr. Alocilja and her nanosensor research at MSU

2:05       2:53       Use of nanotaggants in anti-counterfeiting technology

2:54       3:31       Discussion of how gold is used in nanotaggants

3:32       4:13       Coding of gold particles for anti-counterfeiting purposes

4:14       4:37       Other uses for coded gold particles

4:38       5:08       Patenting the gold nanotaggants and biosensor inventions

5:09       5:36       Summary

5:37       5:51       Closing credits

 

Language Support

To aid those with limited English proficiency or others who need help focusing on the video, make the transcript of the video available. Click the Transcript tab on the side of the video window, then copy and paste into a document for student reference.

 

Framework for K–12 Science Education

ETS1.A: Defining and Delimiting an Engineering Problem

ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions

ETS2.A: Interdependence of Science, Engineering, and Technology

ETS2.B: Influence of Engineering, Technology, and Science on Society and the Natural World

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Emphasize Innovation

 

Innovation Process

Collaboration

An important part of the innovation process is collaboration that brings together expertise from different disciplines to solve a problem or create a new solution to one. Dr. Wilson is an expert in the area of counterfeit products and understands what is required to prevent their circulation, while Dr. Alocilja is an expert in nanotechnology and the properties of nanoparticles used for different purposes. Combining their expertise resulted in the development of a new technology that is safe and undetectable by the consumer yet detectable for someone looking for counterfeit products, and that can be used with a variety of consumer goods.

 

Dr. Alocilja has been granted several patents related to her research in gold nanotaggants and biosensors. She has also started a company to develop biosensors for use in the food and water safety industry. She notes that nanotaggant technology is developing so rapidly and is so versatile that new applications could be developed within very short time periods of one or two years.

 

Take Action with Students

Ask each student to write down one or two of his or her best skills or fortés—the ability to play a musical instrument, a sport or game he or she excels at, or a talent or ability he or she has. Group students according to similarities, and have them define a problem they might be able to solve by collaboratively using their abilities or talents. Allow each group a few minutes to present their results.

 

Innovation and STEM

The innovation highlighted in SOI: Anti-Counterfeiting Devices incorporates many aspects of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). For example, required science knowledge includes an understanding of the properties of matter and choosing materials that will not degrade, are nontoxic, and that are able to carry a protein sequence code. Math concepts involve the measurement of the size and concentration of the nanotaggants that make them successful anti-counterfeiting devices. Starting with a vision and relying on science and math knowledge, this technology prevents monetary losses of billions of dollars every year. The engineering design process involved includes identifying the problem, specifying the requirements for a solution, describing the system they are impacting, and designing and testing multiple solutions to the problem.

 

Take Action with Students

       Using the Design Investigations section of Facilitate Inquiry as a guide, encourage students to design an anti-counterfeiting device for a type of product that was mentioned in the video or one they are familiar with, such as accessories, clothing, or electronics. As a class, set up constraints within which students will design their anti-counterfeiting devices, such as providing a limited selection of materials with which to work, constructing a device that adheres to the object but does not interfere with the object’s purpose/appearance, and designing a device not visible or obvious to the consumer.

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       Lead a discussion that explains that a system is a group of interrelated parts that are put together to perform a function. Cars are systems whose function is to transport people and other objects from one place to another. The function of an educational system is to increase knowledge for people within a community. Some of its parts are students, teachers, knowledge, computers, buildings, pencils, and books. Relate this to the anti-counterfeiting industry, which can be thought of as a system whose function is to decrease the number of counterfeit products that are on the market. In groups, have students brainstorm to form a list of the parts of an anti-counterfeiting system. Some examples might include the products that might be counterfeited, the researchers developing the anti-counterfeiting technology, the technology itself, law enforcement officials who catch counterfeiters at work, and so on.

       As an introduction to the video, have students list some of the anti-counterfeiting devices with which they might already be familiar, such as watermarks on checks and paper money or labeling on brand-name products.

 

Facilitate Inquiry

Encourage inquiry using a strategy modeled on the research-based science writing heuristic. Student work will vary in complexity and depth depending on grade level, prior knowledge, and creativity. Use the prompts liberally to encourage thought and discussion. Student Copy Masters begin on page 9.

 

Explore Understanding

Some students might own or have with them some of the products that are most frequently counterfeited: handbags, cell phones, name-brand clothing, and tennis shoes, among others. In small groups, have students display some of the items and consider the origin and authenticity of each. Encourage students to discuss the clues that might identify a product as an authentic name brand or a knockoff, and what strategies they might employ to ensure their products are authentic. Spark discussion with prompts such as the following.

       Authentic products can be identified by….

       Counterfeit products (knockoffs) can be identified by….

       These identification methods are reliable/unreliable because….

       Some important criteria for anti-counterfeiting methods are….

       People might choose to purchase counterfeit products because….

       Manufacturing and purchasing counterfeit products circumvents the innovation cycle in that….

 

Show the video SOI: Anti-Counterfeiting Devices and encourage students to jot down notes while they watch. Continue the discussion of counterfeit product identification, using prompts such as the following:

       When I watched the video, I thought about….

       The experts in the video were inspired to create nanotaggant because….

       The nanotaggant identifiers are made of gold because….

       The size of the nanotaggants is important to their use because…

       The nanotaggants delineate counterfeit products from authentic ones by….

       Patents enable a patent-holder to….

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Ask Beginning Questions

Stimulate small-group discussion with the prompt: This video makes me think about these questions…. Then have groups list questions they have about how the researchers involved in the project addressed the problem of counterfeit products with their design. Ask groups to choose one question and phrase it in such a way as to be researchable and/or testable. The following are some examples.

       Why is an anti-counterfeiting device designed to be undetectable by consumers?

       What are the best types of anti-counterfeiting devices that cannot be duplicated?

       What types of anti-counterfeiting strategies are easily identifiable by authorities, but not to counterfeiters?

 

Design Investigations

Choose one of the following options based on your students’ knowledge, creativity, and ability level and your available materials. Actual materials needed will vary greatly based on these factors as well.

 

Possible Materials

Allow time for students to examine and manipulate the materials you have available. Doing so often aids students in refining their questions, or prompts new ones that should be recorded for future investigation. In this inquiry, students might use a collection of identical pairs of objects, such as product boxes, old hand-held electronics, articles of clothing, pairs of shoes, or lunch bags. They might also use different types of pens and markers, stickers, paper, aluminum foil, fine threads of various colors, microscopes, hand lenses, and/or UV lights.

 

Open Choice Approach(Copy Master page 9)

Groups might come together to agree on one question for which they will explore the answer, or each group might explore something different. Students might work in groups to design an anti-counterfeiting device for one of a pair of objects and then exchange items with another group to figure out which object is the authentic item. Students should brainstorm to form a plan within the constraints established by the class. Encourage students with prompts such as the following:

       The materials we will use include….

       The constraints we will meet in constructing our anti-counterfeiting device are….

       We will record our process of including the device in/on the authentic item by….

       We think that… might be a good way to mark an object because….

       To conduct our investigation safely, we will….

 

Focused Approach(Copy Master pages 10-11)

The following exemplifies one way students might design an anti-counterfeiting device for one of a pair of objects and then exchange items with another group and try to figure out which object is the authentic item.

1.     Use questions such as the following to help students focus their anti-counterfeiting design discussions.

       How might we create a device that is invisible to the consumer?

       What kinds of devices might be visible, but still effective?

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       What tools might be used to detect our device?

       How does the size of the device impact its effectiveness?

2.     Allow time for groups to examine all of the materials available to them. Encourage them to think creatively about their anti-counterfeiting device designs. As students work, remind them to make detailed drawings of their devices in their notebooks. As groups decide on their materials, focus their thinking with the following or similar prompts:

       We could use _____ to make our device because….

       We are not going to use _____ because we think it/they will….

       If we do _____, it might be detected by….

       Our device might be visible, but that’s OK because….

3.     Once students have designed and constructed their anti-counterfeiting devices, they should trade items with another group and become detectives to determine which of their partner group’s objects are genuine and which are counterfeit. Set a time limit in which students have to discover each other’s anti-counterfeiting devices. Have groups give each other feedback on how they might improve the effectiveness of their design.

4.     Extend the investigation by having students redesign their original device or by combining strategies seen as effective by the entire class. Use these or similar prompts to spark thinking:

       Our device was/was not effective, because….

       Changes we could make to our device include….

       Some ideas we got from the other group’s design are….

       We will improve our original design by….

       The changes that we make will improve the function of our original anti-counterfeiting device by….

 

Make a Claim Backed by Evidence

Students should analyze their data and then make one or more claims based on the evidence their data shows. Encourage students with this prompt: As evidenced by… we claim… because….

An example claim might be:

As evidenced bythe unsuccessful design of our anti-counterfeiting device, we claim that intricate labels are not effective anti-counterfeiting devices because the differences between the real and counterfeit items’ labels can be easily detected.

 

Compare Findings

Encourage students to compare their ideas with others, such as classmates who investigated a similar – or different – question or design, or with material they found in their textbooks or on the Internet, or heard from an expert they chose to interview. Remind students to credit their original sources in their comparisons. Elicit comparisons from students with prompts such as:

       My ideas are similar to (or different from) those of the experts in the video in that….

       My ideas are similar to (or different from) those of my classmates in that….

       My ideas are similar to (or different from) those that I found on the Internet in that….

 

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Students might make comparisons like the following:

My ideas are similar to those of the experts in the video in that the experts in the video were looking for a different way to identify counterfeit products for products that already had labels, so they must have known that the labels could be replicated.

 

Reflect on Learning

Students should reflect on their understanding, thinking about how their ideas have changed or what they know now that they didn’t know before. Encourage reflection, using prompts such as the following:

       The claim made by the expert in the video is….

       I support or refute the expert’s claim because in my investigation….

       When thinking about the expert’s claims, I am confused as to why….

       Another investigation I would like to explore is….

 

Inquiry Assessment

See the rubric included in the student Copy Masters on page 12.

 

 

Incorporate Video into Your Lesson Plan

 

Integrate Video in Instruction

Real World Connection:   Use the link that follows to discuss the anti-counterfeiting strategies used by the United States Department of the Treasury for its currency. Have volunteers state which of these they are familiar with and/or have watched cashiers look for when purchasing a product. http://www.moneyfactory.gov/anticounterfeiting/securityfeatures.html

 

Compare and Contrast:  Use the video at the beginning of a class when DNA sequencing is being discussed. Focus on the segment from about 3:32 to 4:13, where the synthetic DNA coding of gold nanotaggants for identification purposes is explained. Then direct students to the Human Genome Project website at the URL below, which describes DNA forensic identification. In groups, have students discuss what they find to compare and contrast the identification of products using synthetic DNA bases with the identification of species and individuals using authentic DNA base sequences.

http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/elsi/forensics.shtml

 

Using the 5E Approach?

If you use a 5E approach to lesson plans, consider incorporating video in these Es:

Explain:   As students watch the video, have them focus their attention on the characteristics of the nanotaggant technology. For example, the nanotaggants are made of gold, they are microscopic, they are coded with synthetic DNA bases, and so on. Discuss the engineering concept of how structure is related to function, and have students complete the T-chart below to relate the structure or characteristic of the technology to the function it serves in making the technology effective. One characteristic might serve more than one function. An example is given to get students started.

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Characteristic of nanotaggant technology

Function

Microscopic

Makes it undetectable to the consumer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elaborate:  Each of the articles listed below describes the problem of counterfeiting in one of the categories of products that are mentioned in the video. After watching the video, have small groups read the articles to learn more about how counterfeiting takes place and its effects in each of these categories:  clothing, electronics, and pharmaceuticals. Have students consider how the counterfeit objects are created, what impact they have when they are released into the market, and how gold nanotaggant technology might impact each of the three categories. After each group has discussed and recorded its ideas, have the groups present their information to the whole class.

       “Counterfeit Gap Joins Counterfeit Gucci,” Los Angeles Times, Feb. 2012 http://articles.latimes.com/2012/feb/03/business/la-fi-cheap-fakes-20120204

       “The Serious Risks from Counterfeit Electronic Parts,” Forbes, Jul. 2012 http://www.forbes.com/sites/ciocentral/2012/07/11/the-serious-risks-from-counterfeit-electronic-parts/

       Bad Medicine,The Economist, Oct. 2012

http://www.economist.com/node/21564546

 

Connect to … Math

How tall is….? To help students relate the size of a nanoparticle to objects that they experience every day, they will measure the height of objects they are interested in and convert the measurements to nanometers. Objects they choose can range from very small to very large. If there is a microscope available to measure very small things, like a human hair for example, that would be helpful. Students might measure their own heights, a desk, or the length of a pencil, as well as research the heights of local buildings, including the school. Measurements should be made or obtained in standard SI units, such as millimeters, centimeters, and meters. With the knowledge that a nanometer is 1/1,000,000,000 m, students can convert their measurements. Students might also us scientific notation to express their results. An extension of this activity might be to ask the question: How many of the gold particles mentioned in the video, which range from 10–30 nanometers high, would have to be stacked to be as tall as…?

 

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Prompt Innovation with Video

After students watch the video, have them research patents associated with anti-counterfeiting devices. They can do so with an Internet search on Google.com/patents using search terms such as the following. If time is limited, point students toward the following patents.

 

Primary Search Terms

Authentication

Verification

Identification

Security

Genuine

Counterfeit

Tampering

Adenine-Cytosine-Guanine-Thymine

DNA Sequence

Analyte

Conductive polymer

Conductive nanoparticle

Biosensor

Nanosensor

Additional Search Terms

Protection

Fake

Fraudulent

Replica

Detection

 

 

 

Patent Examples

5,312,762      Method of measuring an analyte by measuring electrical resistance of a polymer film reacting with the analyte

5,491,097      Analyte detection with multilayered bioelectronic conductivity sensors

5,656,448      Dipstick immunoassay device

6,537,802      Method and apparatus for the detection of volatile products in a sample

7,785,717      Fluorescent ink compositions comprising functionalized fluorescent nanocrystals

7,950,584      Package security having a static element and a dynamic element

8,304,061       Laminated identification document

 

Suggest students read abstracts of patents that attract their attention. Then hold a discussion about how various innovators are improving on the process. Use prompts such as the following:

       This patent is for _____, which is related to the invention shown in the video by….

       This patent describes _____, which differs from the invention shown in the video in that….

       I think doing/making _____ would be an innovation because….

 

 

 

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Copy Master: Open Choice Inquiry Guide for Students

 

Science of Innovation: Anti-Counterfeiting Devices

Use this guide to investigate a question about how to design an anti-counterfeiting device for a commonly counterfeited product, such as an electronic device, an article of clothing, or a pharmaceutical. Write your lab report in your science notebook.

 

Ask Beginning Questions

The video makes me think about these questions….

 

Design Investigations

Choose one question. How can you answer it? Brainstorm with your teammates. Write a procedure that controls variables and makes accurate measurements. Add safety precautions as needed.

        The materials we will use include….

        The constraints we will meet in constructing our anti-counterfeiting device are….

        We will record our process of including the device in/on the authentic item by….

        We think that… might be a good way to mark an object because….

        To conduct our investigation safely, we will….

 

Record Data and Observations

Record your observations. Organize your data in tables and/or drawings, as appropriate.

 

Make a Claim Backed by Evidence

Analyze your data and then make one or more claims based on the evidence your data show. Make sure that the claim goes beyond summarizing the investigation.

 

My Evidence

My Claim

My Reason

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compare Findings

Review the video and then discuss your results with classmates who investigated the same or a similar question. Or do research on the Internet or talk with an expert. How do your findings compare? Be sure to give credit to others when you use their findings in your comparisons.

        My ideas are similar to (or different from) those of the experts in the video in that….

        My ideas are similar to (or different from) those of my classmates in that….

        My ideas are similar to (or different from) those that I found on the Internet in that….

 

Reflect on Learning

Think about what you found out. How does it fit with what you already knew? How does it change what you thought you knew?

        The claim made by the expert in the video is….

        I support or refute the expert’s claim because in my investigation….

        When thinking about the expert’s claims, I am confused as to why….

        Another investigation I would like to explore is….

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COPY MASTER: Focused Inquiry Guide for Students

 

Science of Innovation: Anti-Counterfeiting Devices

Use this guide to design an anti-counterfeiting device for one of a pair of objects that would help a consumer identify the authentic item. Write your lab report in your science notebook.

 

Ask Beginning Questions

How is an anti-counterfeiting device designed to be undetectable to the consumer?

 

Design Investigations

Brainstorm with your teammates about how to answer the question. Write a procedure that describes your plan. Draw pictures to illustrate your designs. Add safety precautions as needed. Use these prompts to help you design your investigation.

       The materials we will use include….

       The constraints we will meet in constructing our anti-counterfeiting device are….

       We will record our process of including the device in/on the authentic item by….

       We think that… might be a good way to mark an object because….

       To conduct our investigation safely, we will….

 

Record Data and Observations

Organize your notes and other information in a table. The table below is a simple example of how you might record your design process and note the effectiveness of your solution after it has been tested by another group.

 

Design Process

 

Drawing(s) of our anti-counterfeiting device(s)

Design features of our anti-counterfeiting device(s)

Function of each design feature

How each design feature achieved its function

How we might redesign our anti-counterfeiting device(s)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Make a Claim Backed by Evidence

Analyze your data and then make one or more claims based on the evidence shown by your data. Make sure that the claim goes beyond summarizing the investigation.

 

My Evidence

My Claim

My Reason

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compare Findings

Review the video and then discuss your results with classmates who did the investigation using the same or a similar system or with those who did the investigation using a different system. Or do research on the Internet or talk with an expert. How do your findings compare? Be sure to give credit to others when you use their findings in your comparisons.

       My ideas are similar to (or different from) those of the experts in the video in that….

       My ideas are similar to (or different from) those of my classmates in that….

       My ideas are similar to (or different from) those that I found on the Internet in that….

 

Reflect on Learning

Think about what you found out. How does it fit with what you already knew? How does it change what you thought you knew?

       The claim made by the expert in the video is….

       I support or refute the expert’s claim because in my investigation….

       When thinking about the expert’s claims, I am confused as to why….

       Another investigation I would like to explore is….

 

 

 

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Copy Master: Assessment Rubric for Inquiry Investigations

 

 

Criteria

1 point

2 points

3 points

Initial question

Question had a yes/no answer, was off topic, or otherwise was not researchable or testable.

Question was researchable or testable but too broad or not answerable by the chosen investigation.

Question clearly stated, researchable or testable, and showed direct relationship to investigation.

Investigation design

The design of the investigation did not support a response to the initial question.

While the design supported the initial question, the procedure used to collect data (e.g., number of trials, control of variables) was not sufficient.

Variables were clearly identified and controlled as needed with steps and trials that resulted in data that could be used to answer the question.

Variables

Either the dependent or independent variable was not identified.

While the dependent and independent variables were identified, no controls were present.

Variables identified and controlled in a way that results in data that can be analyzed and compared.

Safety procedures

Basic laboratory safety procedures were followed, but practices specific to the activity were not identified.

Some, but not all, of the safety equipment was used and only some safe practices needed for this investigation were followed.

Appropriate safety equipment used and safe practices adhered to.

Observations and data

Observations were not made or recorded, and data are unreasonable in nature, not recorded, or do not reflect what actually took place during the investigation.

Observations were made, but were not very detailed, or data appear invalid or were not recorded appropriately.

Detailed observations were made and properly recorded and data are plausible and recorded appropriately.

Claim

No claim was made or the claim had no relationship to the evidence used to support it.

Claim was marginally related to evidence from investigation.

Claim was backed by investigative or research evidence.

Findings comparison

Comparison of findings was limited to a description of the initial question.

Comparison of findings was not supported by the data collected.

Comparison of findings included both methodology and data collected by at least one other entity.

Reflection

Student reflections were limited to a description of the procedure used.

Student reflections were not related to the initial question.

Student reflections described at least one impact on thinking.

 

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