On the use of analogy to connect core physical and chemical concepts to those at the nanoscale
Nanoscale science remains at the forefront of modern scientific endeavors. As such, students in chemistry need to be prepared to navigate the physical and chemical concepts that describe the unique phenomena observed at this scale. Current approaches to integrating nanoscale topics into undergraduate chemistry curricula range from the design of new individual nano courses to broad implementation of modules, experiments, and activities into existing courses. We have developed and assessed three modular instructional materials designed to explicitly connect core physical and chemical concepts to those at the nanoscale. These modular instructional materials aim to be readily adapted to existing curricular format and have been designed based on an educational framework for analogy. The findings from a qualitative study involving undergraduate chemistry students indicate that analogical transfer from core physical and chemical concepts to those at the nanoscale can be facilitated through the use of these instructional materials. Conceptual challenges as well as evidence for analogical transfer are provided herein, along with recommendations for instructor implementation and future work.