In her position as Program Director for Education and Outreach at Penn State University's Center for Nanoscale Science, Kristin Dreyer's initiatives reach a wide range of audiences. For NanoDays 2015, she planned three different events targeting children and families (through a festival-style NanoDays at a local museum), research colleagues (through a weekly café), and grade 6-12 teachers (through a teacher workshop). Working to leverage the intersection of these events, Kristin recruited graduate student volunteers who could commit to participating in all three events to achieve "bigger picture" broader impact goals.
Partner Highlight: Real-World Examples of NISE Net's Team-Based Inquiry (TBI) - Tulsa Children’s Museum Shares Their Evaluation and Capacity Building Project
Opening less than two years ago, Tulsa Children’s Museum's Discovery Lab hosted their organization’s first Nano Camps last summer. This newest camp program was supported by a NISE Net mini-grant and staff also participated in the 2014 Team-Based Inquiry (TBI) Cohort to help them evaluate and improve the program.
Partner Highlight: Real-World Examples of NISE Net's Team-Based Inquiry (TBI) - Maryland Science Center Shares Their Evaluation and Capacity Building Project
In 2014, Maryland Science Center was awarded a NISE Net mini-grant and was invited to participate in the 2014 Team-Based Inquiry Cohort, which was made up of 20 staff from 10 NISE Net partner institutions, providing cohorts with in-depth TBI professional development training both virtually and in-person. As part of their mini-grant project, Maryland Science Center created a new stage program presented on their museum's demonstration stage introducing audiences to nanoscale science and engineering, supported by a training session on nanotechnology for staff and volunteers.
NISE Net Partners Learn-by-Doing the MOS "Sharing Science Workshop & Practicum" with Grad Students in Boston
NISE Network partners flew in from southern Mississippi, Montana, California, North Carolina, Ohio, and New York to participate in the Network's "Sharing Science Workshop & Practicum," a professional development program in nanoscale informal science and education for early career researchers, with the goal of implementing their own professional development workshop at their institution in the coming year.
The University of Vermont (UVM) Physics Department and ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center have a long collaborative relationship, through which the NISE Network has provided an excellent framework to help strengthen and deepen. Although an institution of formal learning, UVM values and contributes to informal education in the surrounding community. Recently, the UVM Physics Department and ECHO received a NISE Net mini-grant to develop a daylong event outside the purview of NanoDays.
Partner Highlight: The Leonardo Conducts Team-Based Inquiry on their All-Girls Nano-Themed Summer Camp!
If you want to do something big, you’ve got to think small! Yes, you read that right—we’re talking atomic level tiny. Female scientists and engineers lead this all-girls camp into the amazing world of nanoscience using art, technology, and even games. Campers also developed their own activity to share with their friends and family at home. STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) is what we are all about here at The Leonardo!
The Imaginarium Science Center in Fort Myers, Florida was awarded a 2014 NISE Net mini-grant and used the funding to expand and enhance their current nano exhibit, the Nano Lab. This expansion was designed to complement the NISE Net Nano mini-exhibition they received earlier this year and to incorporate additional NISE Net resources into a unique exhibit experience for their visitors.
“The mini-grant allowed us to dedicate exhibit space to an exciting and progressive topic. In the past two years, the number of visitors to our museum has increased significantly. The Nano Lab is one of the changes that we think has contributed to our recent successes.” - Sarah Von Williamsen, Imaginarium Science Center
'Doctor Know', the Arizona Science Center’s newest mobile game, opens with a vivid, yet darkly humorous, animation about the history of medical diagnosis and treatment. We watch the painful evolution of a “healers” practice from ancient Greece to Medieval times to modern medicine. It concludes by introducing your mission and the game’s scope of learning: you are a doctor and you will diagnose and treat many patients based on available tools and technology. The player learns about the human body’s interconnectedness in regards to health at multiple scales.
Are you thinking about applying for a 2015 NISE Network mini-grant? Then keep two important things in mind: 1) applications are due October 1, 2014 and 2) there are four years worth of examples for you to draw from as you brainstorm project ideas! That’s 179 successful projects all completed by fellow NISE Net partner museums and research centers. Check out the comprehensive list of mini-grant projects at http://nisenet.org/mini-grants.
For more inspiration, here are some mini-grant projects from the extraordinary and exotic Midwest Region: Ann-Arbor Hands-On Museum, Saint Louis Science Center, and Bootheel Youth Museum.