Prairie Nanotechnology is currently developing a series of interesting and affordable sample kits for use in teaching about materials analysis and nanoscience, complete with lesson plans. These could be suitable for either college or high school classrooms, or also facilites and labs training people in the use of materials characterization techniques. We are also working on some nice nanoscience models for classroom use as well as the research lab.
As the cost of some education-oriented instruments is dropping radically with advanced manufacturing techniques (such as 3D printing), rather sophisticated instruments may soon be much more affordable, even for high schools. For example, some groups have dropped the cost of parts for an atomic force microscope to under $500, with hopes of going even much lower soon. We'll be following this closely. It is believed that this lowering of the cost barrier will lead directly to exponential growth of the number of AFMs used in nanoscience education at the college and high school level worldwide.
More information on these activities will be coming soon. Please feel free to contact us if you're interested in what we've described, or if you have other suggestions. We'd love to hear from you!