Freeport Public Schools became the first school district on Long Island to have its “Introducing Nanotechnology into the High School Curriculum” proposal approved by the Center of Functional Nanomaterials (CFN) at Brookhaven National Laboratory.
“This partnership with Brookhaven National Labs will provide our students with real-world experiences in the growing field of nanotechnology and enable them to explore college and career paths in areas of advanced science research beyond the typical high school classroom,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham.
As part of the approved curriculum, students in Edward Irwin’s science research class at Freeport High School will produce nanoparticles. Irwin will take the nanoparticles to Brookhaven and, together with the scientists at CFN, will conduct experiments using scanning electron microscopy, small angle x-ray scattering and dynamic light scattering equipment to determine the sizes of the nanoparticles. Students will observe Irwin perform the various experiments and interact with Brookhaven scientists via teleconferencing.
Nanotechnology is the science of particles that are about 10 billionths of a meter in size. Though the particles are very small, their properties are unique, which makes them useful in a wide range of applications encompassing healthcare, clean water and energy, cancer therapy, cosmetics and clothing. By the end of the year, the market for nanotechnology products will be worth more than $26 billion, requiring two million workers and approximately six million supporting positions, according to Dr. Vincent Pereira, district science coordinator.
To make science more relevant to district students and prepare them for the 21st century workforce, the district plans to introduce the main concepts and properties of noble metal nanoparticles into the 5-12 grade science curriculums.