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Supporting Secondary Teachers As They Implement New Science And Engineering Curricula: Case Examples From Nanoscale Science And Engineering Education

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Think Outside the Box! K-12 Engineering Curriculum

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1102.1 - 14.1102.23



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Paper Authors

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Kelly Hutchinson Purdue University

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Lynn Bryan Purdue University

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George Bodner Purdue University

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

Supporting Secondary Teachers as they Implement New Science and Engineering Curricula: Case Examples from Nanoscale Science and Engineering Education Abstract

As is the case for most engineering content, nanoscale science and engineering (NSE) content is often new territory for secondary teachers. Teachers not only have to develop new content knowledge, but they also have to consider how they will teach the new content, where it will fit in the existing curriculum, and what aspects of the new content will be the most interesting and accessible to their students. This paper reports some of the barriers that teachers faced when they implemented new content into their curricula, as well as some of the ways that a professional development (PD) program supported teachers in this challenge. This topic is applicable not only to NSE, but also to K-12 engineering as programs try to support teachers in implementing engineering curricula into their science courses.


The National Nanotechnology Initiative defined nanotechnology as “the understanding and control of matter at dimensions between approximately 1 to 100 nanometers, where unique phenomena enable novel applications.”1 Many special properties occur on the nanoscale, such as optical and magnetic properties that are dependent upon particle size.2 The development of nanotechnology comes about through the blending of multiple science and engineering disciplines (e.g., biology, chemistry, physics, materials engineering, chemical engineering, and bioengineering) on the nanometer scale. Because of this convergence, Foley and Hersam argued that the impact of nanoscale science and engineering (NSE) will be broader than any other technological revolution.3 It is predicted that nanotechnology will affect nearly every type of manufactured good over the next ten years, being incorporated into 15% of global manufacturing output totaling $2.6 trillion by 2014.3 It has also been estimated that there will be 2 million jobs created in the areas of NSE by 2015 worldwide, including the creation of 0.8-0.9 million jobs in the United States. In addition to the 2 million NSE jobs, there will be 5 million more jobs created in nanotechnology-related fields. The projected impact of NSE on the economy in the 21st century suggests that there exists an urgent need to educate the future work force of scientists, engineers, and technologists, as well as the general public, about this emerging field.4

As a way to educate the future work force in NSE, the National Center for Learning and Teaching in Nanoscale Science and Engineering (NCLT) was created “to develop the next generation of leaders in nanoscale science and engineering teaching and learning, with an emphasis on NSEE [nanoscale science and engineering education] capacity building, providing a strong impact on national science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.” One initiative of the NCLT is a professional development program designed to facilitate 7-12 grade science teachers’ development of NSE content knowledge and integration of NSE concepts into the current secondary science curricula. Teachers who participate in the NCLT’s professional development program were required to integrate at least one NSE lesson during the school year following the summer professional development institute.

Hutchinson, K., & Bryan, L., & Bodner, G. (2009, June), Supporting Secondary Teachers As They Implement New Science And Engineering Curricula: Case Examples From Nanoscale Science And Engineering Education Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5700

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