The National Center for Earth and Environmental Nanotechnology Infrastructure (NanoEarth), partnered with the Virginia Tech (VT) College of Science, and the VT Nanoscience Degree Program for a High School Teacher Professional Development Workshop this June. Initiated in 2018, the annual high school science teacher professional development workshop spans over three days at Virginia Tech. This year, NanoEarth led a day on “Nano-Enabled Solutions to Big Problems Related to Human Health and the Environment”.

Nanoscience research can be found in electronics, medicine such as the COVID-19 vaccines, climate change mitigation, environmental monitoring and cleanup, and material fabrication. Six teachers spent the day learning about nanomedicine, environmental nanoscience, functional nanomaterials, and nanotechnology instrumentation and innovation. Specific topics introduced to the teachers included nanostructures, superhydrophobicity, micro/nanoplastics, nano-enabled water treatment, electromagnetism, and careers in nanoscience.

Participants learned about these key nanoscience concepts through lectures, hands-on activities, and demonstrations. Following a tour of the Nanoscale Characterization and Fabrication Laboratory (NCFL), participants spent the afternoon engaging in a scanning electron microscopy demonstration. After completing the day, teachers were given resources for continuing education at home and in the classroom, including instruction textbooks, nanoscience hands-on demonstration kits, and access to online learning modules.