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The Big Ideas of Nanoscale Science and Engineering: A Guidebook for Secondary Teachers

by: Shawn Y. Stevens, LeeAnn M. Sutherland, and Joseph S. Krajcik

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Given the ability of nanoscience and nanotechnology to exploit the unique properties that matter exhibits at the nanoscale, the research resulting from these emerging fields is poised to dramatically affect everyday life. In fact, many widely used electronic, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and textile products already employ nanotechnology. With the support of the National Science Foundation, scientists, educators, researchers, and curriculum developers have achieved a rough consensus on what the key concepts—or “big ideas”—of nanoscience might be for middle and high school science students:

• Size and Scale
• Structure of Matter
• Forces and Interactions
• Quantum Effects
• Size-Dependent Properties
• Self-Assembly
• Tools and Instrumentation
• Models and Simulations
• Science, Technology, and Society

This volume provides in-depth discussions of each big idea. Nine additional chapters examine learning goals and how to reach them, students’ likely misconceptions, and ideas for integrating nanoscale science and engineering with traditional science content. An appreciation of nanoscience will help students understand fundamental science concepts across disciplines. Also, learning the enormous implications of the extremely tiny nanoscale phenomena will pique students’ interest in the study of 21st-century science and at the same time motivate them to learn traditional science.

NSTA Press produces classroom-ready activities, hands-on approaches to inquiry, relevant professional development, the latest scientific education news and research, assessment and standards-based instruction.

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