Research Experience Gives Teachers Know-How, Tools & Support for Classroom Learning

Achievement date: 

Five teachers who participated in a Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program at the Nanosystems Engineering Research Center (NERC) for Nanomanufacturing Systems for Mobile Computing and Mobile Energy Technologies (NASCENT) have implemented educational modules developed there in their own classrooms. The NSF-funded NERC is headquartered at the University of Texas at Austin.


These math and science teachers introduced the modules to 6-8th grade students at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, helping NASCENT to prepare a more diverse next generation of leaders in the STEM fields. Teachers will use the classroom to test the lesson plans, and improved versions will be made available on


The RET program allows middle and high school teachers to work alongside graduate students at NASCENT’s labs, provides funds for classroom supplies and equipment, and gives access to lectures and workshops about the Center’s main thrusts and the resources it makes available for K-12 education. The program helps teachers design and implement educational modules related to nanomanufacturing.

One teacher used linear equations in a 9th grade algebra class to teach about hydrophobic materials and surface tensions. Others included a photolithographic module for 6th graders, an introduction to electrical engineering through computer science and microcontrollers for 7th graders, and a computer simulation project for 8th graders.