Understanding undergraduate students' conceptions of a core nanoscience concept: Size and scale

Gregory Light*, Su Swarat, Eun Jung Park, Denise L Drane, Emma DeCosta, Thomas O Mason

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

The rapidly growing field of nanoscience and nanotechnology calls for the inclusion of general nano-education in our educational agenda. Student understanding of one of the key concepts in nanoscience, size and scale, serves as a prerequisite for students' learning of more advanced nanoscale science and technology. This paper presents the findings of a small-scale qualitative study with students studying nanoscale science aimed at exploring the ways they understand the idea of "size and scale". Results suggest wide variation in the way students understand this concept. The study identifies a preliminary typology of student conceptions of size and scale as it relates to macro and sub-macro phenomena along three key dimensions. In addition, the research identified a critical paradigmatic experience which appears to play a role in hindering the development of more complex and sophisticated understanding at each level of conception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Inaugural International Conference on Research in Engineering Education, ICREE
StatePublished - Dec 28 2007
EventInaugural International Conference on Research in Engineering Education, ICREE - Honolulu, HI, United States
Duration: Jun 24 2007Jun 27 2007

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Inaugural International Conference on Research in Engineering Education, ICREE

Other

OtherInaugural International Conference on Research in Engineering Education, ICREE
CountryUnited States
CityHonolulu, HI
Period6/24/076/27/07

Keywords

  • Conceptual understanding
  • Nanoscience
  • Science education
  • Size and scale

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)

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    Light, G., Swarat, S., Park, E. J., Drane, D. L., DeCosta, E., & Mason, T. O. (2007). Understanding undergraduate students' conceptions of a core nanoscience concept: Size and scale. In Proceedings of the Inaugural International Conference on Research in Engineering Education, ICREE (Proceedings of the Inaugural International Conference on Research in Engineering Education, ICREE).