Karen Noordhoff

Date of Award

Summer 10-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Curriculum and Instruction


Curriculum & Instruction

Physical Description

1 online resource (xx, 662 pages)


Science teachers -- In-service training, Nanoscience -- Study and teaching (Elementary), Nanoscience -- Study and teaching (Secondary), Nanotechnology -- Study and teaching (Elementary), Nanotechnology -- Study and teaching (Secondary), Pedagogical content knowledge




The Next Generation Science Standards represent a significant challenge for K-12 school reform in the United States in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines (NSTA, 2012). One important difference between the National Science Education Standards (NRC, 1996) and the Next Generation Science Standards (Achieve, 2013) is the more extensive inclusion of nanoscale science and technology. Teacher PD is a key vehicle for implementing this STEM education reform effort (NRC, 2012; Smith, 2001).

The context of this dissertation study is Project Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Outreach (NANO), a secondary level professional development program for teachers that provides a summer workshop, academic year coaching and the opportunity for teacher participants to borrow a table-top Phenom scanning electron microscope and a research grade optical microscope for use in their classrooms. This design-based descriptive case study examined the thinking of secondary teachers in the 2012 Project NANO cohort as they negotiated the inclusion of novel science concepts and technology into secondary science curriculum.

Teachers in the Project NANO 2012 summer workshop developed a two-week, inquiry-based unit of instruction drawing upon one or more of nine big ideas in nanoscale science and technology as defined by Stevens, Sutherland, and Krajcik (2011). This research examined teacher participants' metastrategic thinking (Zohar, 2006) which they used to inform their pedagogical content knowledge (Shulman, 1987) by focusing on the content knowledge teachers chose to frame their lessons, their rationales for such choices as well as the teaching strategies that they chose to employ in their Project NANO unit of instruction. The study documents teachers various entry points on a learning progression as teachers negotiated the inclusion of nanoscale science and technology into the curriculum for the first time. Implications and recommendations for teacher professional development are offered.

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