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Quantum Dots: Bringing Nanoscience And Engineering Into The High School Classroom

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

ERM Potpourri

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1016.1 - 13.1016.14



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Paper Authors

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Emily Wischow Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Lynn Bryan Purdue University

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Shanna Daly Purdue University Orcid 16x16

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

Quantum Dots: Bringing Nanoscience and Engineering into the High School Classroom Abstract

This study traces the lesson design process for a professional development initiative on nano- education. In particular, a lesson on quantum dots is traced throughout the iterative design process based on a learning performances framework combined with design-based research. Teacher feedback, pre- and post-tests covering conceptual information, and researcher field notes were used as the primary sources of data. From these data, themes were identified, and actions were taken to address each of these feedback themes to better correspond to the learning goals identified for the lesson.


The face of science, engineering, and technology is rapidly changing. The biggest trends are also the smallest, as nano-scale phenomena prove to be more and more important in a wide range of applications. However, we still have yet to include these nano-scale phenomena in our secondary science curricula, leaving students unprepared to enter important careers in nanoscience, engineering, and technology.

Professional development efforts are one way to combat this issue. This study focused on curriculum design for a particular professional development program geared towards science teachers in grades 7-12. This professional development program was run through the National Center for Learning and Teaching in Nanoscale Science and Engineering (NCLT) at Purdue University in summer 2007. This was the third year of the program, and another professional development institute will take place in summer 2008.

To address the design of lessons for professional development and future classroom use, the researchers used an iterative design process structured around learning goals and performances, basing revisions on teacher feedback and conceptual understanding. This paper will trace the iterative lesson design process, describing teacher feedback, assessments of conceptual understanding, and actions taken to improve the lesson based on this data.

Review of Literature

Nano-scale phenomena are playing a greater and greater role in every aspect of contemporary scientific research. Nanoscience, engineering, and technology (NSET) have wide-ranging applications in medicine, defense, development of electronics, environmental science, and materials science, to name a few.1-3 It follows from this information that we will need many more workers in the nano-industries; one estimate suggests that the United States will need two million workers in NSET fields in the next decade alone.4

At the same time, the United States is experiencing the need for drastic reforms in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. U.S. students do not measure up

Wischow, E., & Bryan, L., & Daly, S. (2008, June), Quantum Dots: Bringing Nanoscience And Engineering Into The High School Classroom Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4297

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