Traditional science classroom activities rely on topics and experiments that are distant from the forefront of scientific research. As a result, students view science as stagnant and far removed from real life. Through a National Science Foundation-funded Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program, we at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) work with secondary teachers to transform cutting-edge research in nanoscale science and engineering into curriculum that is appropriate for middle- and high-school classrooms. This benefits everyone involved: teachers learn about innovative science and the process of research; UW MRSEC personnel learn about science education and the state of today's schools; and students get to test and engage with new curriculum about breakthrough research. This past summer our RET participants conducted research on and developed curriculum about “smart” papers with microencapsulation technology, fuel cells, nano biosensors and liquid crystals, glassy metals, and Wells models.