This article provides a review of empirical research into nanoscience and -technology (NST) education at the secondary school level with regards to (a) teaching strategies or laboratory experiments implemented and evaluated for their impact on student learning about nanotechnology aspects, (b) concept inventories and methods used to assess students’ conceptual understanding, as well as (c) students’ conceptions and learning difficulties. A database search was used to identify corresponding studies published over the last decade (2012-2021) of which eleven were included in the synthesis for further analyses after screening for eligibility. The analysis revealed that learning difficulties regarding NST topics such as the differentiation between size and scale, the surface area to volume ratio or size dependent properties are widely prevalent among learners according to the current state of the literature. While our analysis identified emerging perspectives for future research with regards to the development of psychometrically characterized concept inventories in particular and empirical investigations into students’ learning progressions on nanoscience concepts in more general, a huge effort has already been put into the development of teaching concepts or laboratory experiments suitable for secondary school classrooms.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.