The Future is
N.E.A.R. program is a customized education research
experience designed to offer
students a glimpse into the exciting world of nanotechnology
and research. The program offers its students an
opportunity to gain 21st century skills that will
prepare them to become successful leaders in a
technological global society. The program
fundamentals of nanotechnology, engineering research, and
higher level thinking and application of knowledge to high
school students while cultivating their interest in
engineering, problem solving and life-long learning.
Identify nanotechnology and its related mathematical
and scientific components as a necessary field of
cultivating student learning and preparing students to
become competitive, productive members of a 21st century
Justifying a Need: Why Engineering
Research in High School?
Global competition, the rapid advance of new and emerging
technologies, and a shrinking national workforce make it
imperative that our students are prepared now more than ever
to succeed in today's world.
One of the latest emerging technologies is Nanotechnology.
Most of the research in this field is currently being
performed at the university and corporate levels.
Organized approaches to true research can be such an
educational tool. It is often a real eye-opener for one who
has never endeavored into the unknown. It is an arena where
failure is an option...and often encouraged. Failure can be
such an awesome tool. In the right context and environment,
with the right support and guidance, failure creates
character and desire. It is not the failure that matters,
it is what was learned, applied and adapted from that
failure that does.
How often can an
inventor or engineer state that their product was designed,
prototyped and manufactured correctly on the first try
without revision? Or state that their outcome was directly
in line with their predictions from the beginning?
Much of the educational world today takes students through
an activity where the outcome is known, expected, and
prepared. While there is merit to the approach, it is not
enough to spark a true understanding of genuine problem
solving. There becomes opportunities to skip steps to get
to the end or to cheat to get an answer. Students find
these methods rather easily and thus the activity has lost
much of its student creativity and exploration.
In the research
world, there is no room for cheating, for skipping steps, or
saying, "I've seen this before and I know the answer." The
students are left to create, solve, and try again. Their
original goals are often abandoned for new ones as their
research leads them from their original path and leads them
to something deeper and closer to the results they are