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Nanotechnology Experiences for Teachers and Students, Student Experiences and Outcomes

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors

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Brandon Sorge Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis

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Grant Fore Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis

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Mangilal Agarwal

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The Nanotechnology Experiences for Students and Teachers (NEST) program aimed to increase nanotechnology content knowledge, scientific research knowledge, and understanding of nanotechnology among high school students while fostering career readiness in nanotechnology-related fields. The program, offered for four consecutive summers with a two-week session each summer, included the following experiences: research experience and knowledge of careers in nanotechnology, hands-on laboratory experiences in inquiry-based science and the engineering design process and discover innovative technologies all while generating awareness and interest in emerging workforce opportunities. In total, 123 students [F=50, M=73; White=29; African American/Black=41, Hispanic=13, Asian=30, Other=10) participated in the program. The program was focused on recruiting students from low-income and underrepresented populations.

This paper details the two-week intervention as it progressed over the course of four years. A formative and summative mixed-methods program evaluation was conducted to better understand and promote practices that increased students' motivations and capacities to pursue careers in fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM). Each year, both the implementation and evaluation teams reviewed findings and discussed relevant changes to the program the following year. While each year of NEST included an introduction to nanotechnology, visits to existing laboratories, and hands-on activities, we detail where there were successes and failures, changes made to the program each year, and the associated student-level outcomes. For example, early findings found outcome issues related to race/ethnicity and content knowledge gains below expectations.

As more focus was placed upon student-centered inquiry-based instruction and the use of notebooks, with less breadth and more depth in content coverage, students showed greater mastery of the nanotechnology content. While annual student content knowledge showed statistically significant (p

Sorge, B., & Fore, G., & Agarwal, M. (2022, August), Nanotechnology Experiences for Teachers and Students, Student Experiences and Outcomes Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

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