KEYWORDS: Nanotechnology, Microscopes, Optical microscopes, Microscopy, Electron microscopes, Scanning electron microscopy, Mathematics, Scientific research, Scanning transmission electron microscopy, Standards development
The program Project NANO (Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Outreach) enables middle and high school
students to discover and research submicroscopic phenomena in a new and exciting way with the use of optical and
scanning electron microscopes in the familiar surroundings of their middle or high school classrooms. Project NANO
provides secondary level professional development workshops, support for classroom instruction and teacher curriculum
development, and the means to deliver Project NANO toolkits (SEM, stereoscope, computer, supplies) to classrooms
with Project NANO trained teachers. Evaluation surveys document the impact of the program on student’s attitudes
toward science and technology and on the learning outcomes for secondary level teachers. Project NANO workshops
(offered for professional development credit) enable teachers to gain familiarity using and teaching with the SEM.
Teachers also learn to integrate new content knowledge and skills into topic-driven, standards-based units of instruction
specifically designed to support the development of students’ higher order thinking skills that include problem solving
and evidence-based thinking. The Project NANO management team includes a former university science faculty, two
high school science teachers, and an educational researcher. To date, over 7500 students have experienced the impact of
the Project NANO program, which provides an exciting and effective model for engaging students in the discovery of
nanoscale phenomena and concepts in a fun and engaging way.