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Incorporating Nanoscale Science And Engineering Concepts Into Middle And High School Curricula

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Innovative K-12 Engineering Programs

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.873.1 - 12.873.20



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Paper Authors

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Shanna Daly Purdue University Orcid 16x16

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Kelly Hutchinson Purdue University

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Lynn Bryan Purdue University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Incorporating Nanoscale Science and Engineering Concepts into Middle and High School Curricula


This study is a first step in the investigation of the issues involved with incorporating nanoscale phenomena concepts in the middle- and high-school curricula. During a two-week summer workshop held by the National Center for Learning and Teaching Nanoscale Science and Engineering (NCLT) at Purdue University, lessons and activities on nanoscale phenomena as well as suggestions for incorporation into curricula and the relationship of these activities to both National and Indiana State Standards were presented and discussed. At the completion of the experience, the twelve participating teachers created lesson plans that they intended to use in their classrooms as a result of their experiences at the workshop. The lesson plans were collected and serve as the qualitative data contributing to this study. They allow for an in-depth exploration of where and how nanoscale phenomena concepts can be incorporated into current middle- and high-school curricula. Analysis of the data reveals difficulties in this incorporation and guides further development of the NCLT professional development experience.


As the impetus for teaching nanoscale phenomena in middle- and high-school classrooms grows,1,2,3 the question becomes how this integration is to take place. Literature that answers these questions are sparse and unspecific, thus a need exists for investigation. As a means to facilitate the inclusion of nanoscale science and engineering in secondary school classrooms, the National Center for Learning and Teaching in Nanoscale Science and Engineering (NCLT) has formed.1 This work of this center includes the development of classroom materials, the offering of professional development opportunities, and research on both aforementioned tasks as well as student conceptions and capabilities of understanding nanoscale phenomena. The nanoscale materials and opportunities are designed to impact national Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education, therefore allowing an efficient integration into current science curricula.

Defining Nano The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) defines nanotechnology as “the understanding and control of matter at dimensions of roughly 1 to 100 nanometers, where unique phenomena enable novel applications. Encompassing nanoscale science, engineering and technology, nanotechnology involves imaging, measuring, modeling, and manipulating matter at this length scale.”2 The National Science Foundation (NSF) emphasizes many of the special properties that occur on the nanoscale and call one nanometer “a magical point on the dimensional scale.”3 This dimension holds its power because it exists as a maximum of one world and a minimum in the other. Nanoscale science and engineering exists in a transitional place where properties move from the dependence on bulk materials to isolated atoms.

Nano in the Middle- and High-School Science Curricula Various recent literature called for the need of a science curricula revolution and suggested that integrated science courses, which allow students to explore cross-disciplinary concepts, are a

Daly, S., & Hutchinson, K., & Bryan, L. (2007, June), Incorporating Nanoscale Science And Engineering Concepts Into Middle And High School Curricula Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2416

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