This article describes the design and the evaluation of a student lab program on the topic of nanoscience and technology (NST), mainly focusing on Nanoscience and its applications. The program was designed for students in grades 8-10 and was part of a larger outreach program of the Collaborative Research Center ‘Function by Switching’ at Kiel University. The Model of Educational Reconstruction (MER) served as a framework for the research-based design of the student lab.
We aimed to develop an authentic science activity in the area of NST in order to support scientific inquiry learning and to provide a deeper understanding of scientific topics.
154 secondary school students from grade eight to ten of seven different secondary schools participated in this study.
Design and methods
A pre-post questionnaire with six subscales on students’ perceptions of the Nature of Science (NOS), Scientific Inquiry (NOSI) and the involved scientists (NOST) in the area of nanoscience and nanotechnology was applied.
Results show that the applied explicit and reflective approach embedded in the nanoscience content significantly improved the participating students’ perceptions of NOS, NOSI and NOST facets. After the lab visit, students’ answers corresponded to a more adequate perception of today’s science and scientists. Some gender differences in learning gains were also detected.
The study served its main purpose which was to investigate a well-balanced strategy to develop authentic out-of-school-learning environments with a focus on NOS/NOSI/NOST. Testing students’ perceptions of the nature of nanoscience provided insights into students’ worlds and served as feedback for the lab program. The outcomes of this study might help to better understand and further develop authentic (nano) science programs in out-of-school settings and science outreach programs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch in Science & Technological Education
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)393-418
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 02.10.2019

    Research areas

  • Nature of Science (NOS), Nature of Scientific Inquiry (NOSI), Out-of-school learning, student lab

ID: 924755