Dr. Louie’s group is always happy to participate in community outreach and education! Educational materials are provided here for free use and modification. To provide feedback with any suggestions for improvement, please email slouie@uh.edu.

Children’s Museum of Houston

Water treatment using titanium dioxide nanoparticles

This project was developed by M.S. student Sergio De La Fuente, Ph.D. student Sheyda Shakiba, and Clements High student Jennifer Yuan, as an activity for Earth Day and STEM events at the Children’s Museum of Houston and is continually being improved. The activity demonstrates water treatment (dye removal) using photocatalytic nanoparticles. Students compare dye removal by the nanoparticles (under a nail salon UV lamp for indoor events, or the sun for outdoor events) to a control (dark) sample. We gratefully acknowledge the staff at the Children’s Museum for hosting training workshops as part of the “Portal to the Public Network” (PoPNet) program to improve the activities and facilitation.

Tips: It would be ideal to immobilize the TiO2 to a surface, so that the treated water will appear visually clear. We are working on how to accomplish this while still having the reaction proceed quickly (within 2 min). In the meantime, we have coupled this activity with a flocculation and filtration experiment, where the students flocculate the nanoparticles with kitchen supplies (alum and gelatin) and then remove them in a sand filter.
Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles - Activity Description
Facilitator Document – coming soon

Wetland microcosm for water purification

This project was developed by undergraduate researchers Sairah Samma, Odalys Najera, and Gokul Nair, as an activity for Earth Day events at the Children’s Museum of Houston and high school recruitment events at UH. The activity demonstrates the water filtration capability of the sediments in a 3-gal wetland model. The protocol to construct and operate the microcosm is shared here: Wetland Bin Construction Instructions

Tips: To attract visitors to the activity, we grew native flower seedlings and created an activity for children to plant the seedlings in a peat pot, then water their seedling with the filtered water.

High School Outreach

Earth Day Poster – Environmental Careers

This poster was prepared by Dr. Louie for a high school Earth Day event to give a broad overview of how careers in a wide range of sectors (engineering/industry, research, government, law, nonprofit) can all contribute to solve environmental problems. The poster fits on a standard 36″ x 48″ tri-fold poster board.
Poster (pptx)
Poster (pdf)

High School Researchers

High school students are welcome to contact Dr. Louie if interested in volunteer research opportunities or mentorship for environmental projects.  Example activities include developing our outreach demo activities and assisting graduate students with laboratory measurements.
Please contact Dr. Louie (slouie@uh.edu) with inquiries.