Nanotechnology is an emerging technology, and it is regarded as the basis for the next industrial revolution. In developing countries, nanotechnology promises to solve everyday challenges, such as the provision of potable water, reliable energy sources and effective medication. However, there are several challenges in the exploitation of nanotechnology. One of the notable challenges is the lack of adequate knowledge about how materials behave at the nanoscale. As nanotechnology is relatively new, the current generation of scientists have not had the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of the technology at an early stage. Young students who are at the primary school level may follow the same trajectory if they are not exposed to the technology. There is a need to lay a strong foundation by introducing nanoscience and nanotechnology to students at the primary school level. It is during the early stages of child development that students master basic concepts for life long learning. Nevertheless, many primary school children, particularly those in developing countries are missing the chance of learning about nanoscience and nanotechnology because it is regarded as being abstract and complex. In this paper, we argue that despite the complexity of nanoscience and nanotechnology, science centres can be used as one of the platforms for exposing young students to the discipline. We use a case study of a museum-based science centre as an example to illustrate that young students can be exposed to nanoscience and nanotechnology using tactile and hands-on experience. The early engagement of primary school children with nanoscience and nanotechnology is important in raising the next generation of scientists who are firmly grounded in the discipline.
Journal of Science Education and Technology – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 19, 2017
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