SCIENCE OF INNOVATION: Anti-Counterfeiting Devices - A Science Perspective (Grades 6-12) Print

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

A Science 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

 

The 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 1-2 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 necessary to 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 processes involved include 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 investigate how the size of a particle might change some of the properties it exhibits.

       To introduce SOI: Anti-Counterfeiting Devices and the concept of nanoparticles, print out the nanoruler, made available by the Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley at the following website: http://nanozone.org/nanoruler_print.htm. Have students work in pairs or small groups to measure items around the room in nanometers to get an idea of the scale at which the researchers in the video are working.

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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 8.

 

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 nanotaggants because….

       The nanotaggant identifiers are made of gold because….

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

       The nanotaggants differentiate counterfeit products from authentic ones by….

       Patents enable a patent-holder to….

 

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 size of a particle affects some of its physical properties – including color, solubility, attraction to other particles, and so on – and how these properties help serve a purpose. Guide students to understand that because work with nanoparticles is not feasible for the classroom, they could model the impact of how size affects a material’s properties using more common materials. 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.

       How does particle size affect the solubility of a substance?

       How does particle size affect the color of a substance?

       How does particle size affect inertia, or resistance to motion?

 

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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 materials that come in different particle sizes, such as sugar (rock, table, powdered, etc.), salt (rock, sea, table, etc.), corn meal (coarse ground to fine ground), magnetic particles or materials of different sizes, or foam balls of different sizes. The foam balls might be particularly good for experiments related to inertia or air resistance. In this inquiry, students might also use pan balances, water, beakers, stirrers, and lights for examining absorption and refraction.

 

Open Choice Approach(Copy Master pages 8-9)

Groups might come together to agree on one question about how the size of a nanoparticle might affect its physical properties, or each group might explore something different. Encourage students to use particles of other materials as models for nanoparticles. They might also make comparisons among different kinds of particles. Students should brainstorm to form a plan they would have to follow in order to answer the question. Work with students to develop safe procedures that control variables and enable them to gather valid data. Encourage students with prompts such as the following:

       The materials we will use are....

       The variable we will test is….

       The variables we will control are….

       The steps we will follow are….

       To conduct the investigation safely, we will….

 

Focused Approach(Copy Master pages 9–11)

The following exemplifies how students could investigate how the size of a soluble particle affects the rate at which it dissolves (rate of dissolution).

1.     After students examine the materials you have available to test a material’s solubility, ask them questions such as the following to help them envision their investigation.

       What materials do we need to make a solution?

       What is the solute? What is the solvent?

       What variable do we want to test? That is, what will we change?

       Which variables will we have to hold constant?

       How many variables should we allow to vary at a time?

       How can we measure solubility?

2.     Students might use sugar with different particle sizes as their solute and water as their solvent. The variable that would change would be the type of sugar. The amount of sugar, the volume and temperature of the water, and the stirring procedure would be the variables being controlled. Use prompts like these to guide them in their thinking:

        By mixing the sugar and water, we are creating solutions because….

        We might stir the solutions either by…. or by….

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        The best way to hold stirring rate constant is….

        The best way to hold the water temperature constant is….

        To conduct the investigation safely, we will….

3.     Students might measure the rate of dissolution by timing how long it takes for the visible sugar to disappear in each container. They could create a graph of particle size against time for all of the particles to completely dissolve. Use the following prompts to guide students in their thinking.

        In our solutions, the larger particles took a longer/shorter time to dissolve in water because….

        Decreasing the particle size makes the particles dissolve faster/slower because….

        When we graph our results, we need to plot….

4.     Students might continue their investigation by varying the temperature of the solvent. They might also think about what the solvent might be for a particular purpose. For example, an oil-based solvent might be more useful to some applications.

 

Media Research Option

Groups might have questions that are best explored using print media and online resources. Students should brainstorm to form a list of key words and phrases they could use in Internet search engines that might result in resources that will help them answer their questions. Review how to safely browse the Web, how to evaluate information on the Internet for accuracy, and how to correctly cite the information found. Suggest students make note of any interesting tangents they find in their research effort, for future investigation. Encourage students with prompts such as the following:

        Words and phrases associated with our question are….

        The reliability of our sources was established by….

        The science and math concepts that underpin a possible solution are….

        Our research might feed into an engineering design solution such as….

        To conduct the investigation safely, we will….

 

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….

 

As evidencedby the time it took the sugar particles to completely dissolve, we claim that larger particles take longer to dissolve than smaller particles because it took an average of 1.45 minutes longer for the larger particles to dissolve. This happened because the surface area of the smaller particles was greater than the surface area of the larger particles, allowing the smaller particles to dissolve more quickly than the larger particles when they came into contact with the water.

 

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:

 

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       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….

 

Students might make comparisons like the following:

My findings on the rate of dissolving were similar to those found by the other groups in the class although we all tested different solvents and solutes.

 

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 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….

       A slower rate of dissolving might be advantageous when….

       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

Bellringer:  On a day when your lesson focus is on DNA structure and bases, play the video as students are getting settled. As they watch the video, have students pay particular attention to the discussion of the sequencing of the gold particles with DNA bases for the purposes of counterfeit product identification. Use this as a springboard to discuss how DNA sequences might also be used to identify organisms, i.e., species, parentage, and so on.

 

Homework:  Have students watch the video again in class, paying special attention to the materials used in the nanotaggant solution, and noting that gold is highlighted as being particularly useful for this application because of its properties. For homework, have students research the chemical and physical properties of gold, and describe why each property makes gold suitable to include in the packaging of a product, a food item, or a pharmaceutical. Also, ask students to describe what it is about the atomic structure of gold that gives it the properties that it has. To take this idea a step further, students might investigate if other elements and compounds with similar chemical and physical properties might also work as nanotaggants.

 

 

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Using the 5E Approach?

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

Explore:  Replay the video segment from 4:14 to 4:37 in which Dr. Alocilja discusses the potential for nanotechnology in the future, describing the rate at which the technology is developing and its versatility. In groups, have students brainstorm to form a list of possible applications for which nanotaggant identification might be useful, such as anti-theft mechanisms, substance control, and the prevention of counterfeiting of documents. Along with their suggestions, students should also describe what characteristics of the nanotaggants match with the application to make it suitable.

 

Elaborate:  Students might be interested in exploring the interactive website “The Scale of the Universe” at http://scaleofuniverse.com/ to compare the size of a nanometer to other units of measure.

 

Connect to … Technology

The video discusses the technology that is used to decrease the incidence of counterfeit products in the marketplace. Point out that technology has also increased the ways in which counterfeit products are produced and distributed. Counterfeit products are made available on the Internet. Counterfeit technologies include computer design, printing, and the testing and creation of counterfeit pharmaceuticals. Have a brief discussion introducing students to these ideas. In groups, have students conduct an Internet search on counterfeiting technologies and, based on what they find, describe what types of counterfeiting strategies would not have possible with available technologies just decades ago.

 

Prompt Innovation with Video

After students watch the video, have them research patents associated with biometric identification. 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

 

 

 

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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….

 

 

 

 

Copy Master: Open Choice Inquiry Guide for Students

 

Science of Innovation: Anti-Counterfeiting Devices

Use this guide to investigate a question about how particle size affects one or more of a material’s physical properties. 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 are….

       The variable we will test is….

       The variables we will control are….

       The steps we will follow are….

       To conduct the investigation safely, we will….

 

Record Data and Observations

Record your observations. Organize your data in tables or graphs 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 relationship between the variables.

 

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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….

       A slower rate of dissolving might be advantageous when….

       Another investigation I would like to explore is….

 

 

 

Copy Master: Focused Inquiry Guide for Students

 

 

Science of Innovation: Anti-Counterfeiting Devices

Use this guide to investigate how the particle size of a material affects its solubility. Write your lab report in your science notebook.

 

Ask Beginning Questions

How does particle size of a material affect the rate at which it will dissolve in a solvent?

 

Design Investigations

Brainstorm with your teammates about how to answer the question. Write a procedure that controls variables and allows you to gather valid data. Add safety precautions as needed. Use these prompts to help you design your investigation.

       The materials we will use are….

       The variable we will change is….

       The variables we will keep the same are….

       We will measure solubility by….

       To conduct the investigation safely, we will….

 

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Record Data and Observations

Organize your observations and data in a table. The table below is an example of how you might organize your data.

 

                                    Sugar Particle Size vs. Time to Dissolve

 

Sugar Particle Size

Time (minutes) to Dissolve

Trial 1

Trial 2

Trial 3

Average

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graph the Data

Plot your data on a graph like the one below. Remember that the independent variable, or the variable you tested, is plotted on the x-axis and the dependent, or responding, variable is plotted on the y-axis. Label the axes of your graph and give your graph a title.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 relationship between the variables.

 

My Evidence

My Claim

My Reason

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compare Findings

Review the video and then discuss your results with classmates who did the same or a similar investigation or with those who did a very different type of investigation. 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….

       A slower rate of dissolving might be advantageous when….

       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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