While the field of nanotechnology is not new, it may be an unchartered territory for many high school science teachers.
NVC’s Nanotechnology program hosted a one-week workshop in mid-June for teachers, which was conducted by the NCLT (Nanotechnology Center for Learning and Teaching at Northwestern University and supported by the National Science Foundation.
Nanotechnology involves understanding and controlling matter at the scale of a nanometer (nm), or one billionth of a meter. To put this in perspective, a sheet of paper is about 100,000 nm thick.
In addition to teaching and learning kits the participants received, they also were given a $500 stipend.
Qiaoying Zhou, Ph.D., NVC Nanotechnology coordinator, said 13 teachers participated and were engaged and energetic in learning about how nanotechnology can be adapted in the classroom.
Dr. Matthew Hsu of NCLT said Northwest Vista has a unique opportunity to reach younger students and teachers because it has advanced equipment that students don’t typically get to practice with until graduate school. He added NVC also has partnerships with area universities to excel students faster in the field.
Carole Henry of Southwest High School was amazed at NVC’s Nanotechnology program and the workshop.
“I’m blown away with all that I have learned in these four days,” she said. “I can’t believe I lit a light bulb with spinach. I wish school was still in session so I can bring this information to my students. I didn’t know all the careers that exist in nanotechnology.”
Nanotechnology has numerous applications; including the diagnosis and treatment of diseases; the production of safer and better preserved food; and the creation of electric vehicles.
Almost all consumer products in our lives today, such as smart phones, flat screen TV’s, and even our clothing involve nanotechnology. It’s estimated that this field will generate two million jobs by 2015 and account for 5 percent ($5 trillion) of the Gross Domestic Product by 2020.