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Posted: March 25, 2007

Nanotechnology teacher education program bears fruit

(Nanowerk News) Fuel-cell-powered balsa-wood cars are propelling Heritage High School students in Broadland, Illinois into the age of nanotechnology. An article in today's The News-Gazette.com "Students' cars to illustrate power of nanotechnology" describes the results of what teachers learned at a Nanotechnology Teacher Enhancement Program at the University of Illinois last summer and brought back to their classrooms.
In January, 2006, the Champaign Community Unit School District #4 was awarded a $250,000 grant for a project called the Champaign Unit 4 Nano-Technology Teacher Enhancement Program (CU4NTEP). The school district was collaborating with the Center for Nanoscale Chemical-Electrical-Mechanical Manufacturing Systems (Nano-CEMMS) at the University of Illinois and several other organizations on the project.
In June and July 2006, teams of high school mathematics, science, and career/technical education teachers from several Illinois schools participated in a two-week hands-on Summer Institute – part of the overall CU4NTEP aimed at developing more rigorous mathematics and science curricula that are aligned with challenging state and local academic content standards and with standards expected for post-secondary study in engineering, mathematics, and science.
During the first week of the Institute, teachers were introduced to nanotechnology through demonstrations and presentations. They toured nano research facilities and work directly with nanoscientists in a cleanroom, using nanotechnology processes to complete a project. During week two, teachers shared ideas as they develop nanotechnology learning modules for their classrooms, including higher-order thinking skills, hands-on experiences, the incorporation of reading across the curriculum, the adaptation of instruction to a variety of learning styles, as well as the development of appropriate assessments to measure student understanding.
Nano-CEMMS is now accepting applications for the 2007 CU4NTEP SUmmer Institutes for Teachers.
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