IEN Helps Teachers Bring Nanotechnology into the Classroom
May 17, 2023 —
The Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology (IEN) Office of Education and Outreach participated in the 2023 National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) conference, held in Atlanta on March 23-25, 2023. The NSTA is a community of science educators and professionals committed to best practices in teaching science and STEM and its impact on student learning.
During the conference, the IEN team, along with the National Nanotechnology Coordinating Office (NNCO) from Washington, D.C., shared the many opportunities available to educators to learn about and teach nanotechnology to their students. IEN also provided an optional tour of its micro- and nanofabrication cleanroom and its Materials Characterization Facility for conference attendees. During the tour attendees got a firsthand view of the work that takes place, the capabilities of the facility, and notable research accomplishments.
“Partnering with organizations like the NSTA gives us an opportunity to teach educators how they can incorporate nanotechnology in their classrooms,” said Mikkel Thomas, IEN’s associate director for education and outreach. “Since the conference was held in Atlanta, we were able to not only share the many programs we have with them but also showcase our facilities.”
As part of its mission to prepare the workforce of the future, IEN offers opportunities for educators to learn about and teach nanotechnology. This includes the Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program for high school teachers and technical college faculty a paid opportunity to experience the excitement of nanotechnology research and share this experience in their classrooms. In addition, the Summer Nanoscience Institute for Middle School Teachers (NanoSIMST) is a five-day workshop in which teachers will learn about nanoscience, develop lesson plans, and receive hands-on activities that bring nanoscience into the classroom.
In addition, high school teachers that participated in IEN’S Summer 2022 RET program shared their experiences with attendees by presenting a talk at the conference. The RET program was funded by the National Science Foundation and is part of a larger program within the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI).