[ Case study ]

Nano School transforms a school of the future into a graduate high school for nanotechnology and molecular science. It delivers the curricula, technologies and teacher training to make nanoscience a coherent curricular focus throughout high school. Students will graduate with an advanced understanding of nanoscience at the foundation of their education, preparing them to pursue the field professionally. Students gain molecular literacy by hands-on modeling and experimentation. From fullerenes and carbon nanotubes to nanoparticles and nanowires, they design nano-devices on computer screens and explore their behaviors and properties. They understand the links between what these devices can do and their underlying molecular and atomic interactions. Students investigate, for example, why carbon nanotubes (see image) are stronger than steel, but much lighter.

Nano School provides the support science teachers need to deliver multidisciplinary curriculum, concept integration, innovative modeling techniques, and hands-on projects in nanotechnology. Working in teams, teachers use interdisciplinary modules, helping students to build upon concepts from one science domain to another as they advance in their education. Cutting-edge frontier science usually does not reach secondary education for many decades. In 1989, the image on the left heralded the dawn of modern nanotechnology for the public. Scientists used an atomic force microscope to position 35 xenon atoms to spell their corporation’s name. Only twenty years later, nanoschool offers a comprehensive curriculum centered around the revolution in nanotechnology and its promise, thus accelerating the pace by which advanced knowledge is taught in classrooms.