January 2018 marked the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s creation of science fiction, and the creature that has become a “living” legend. There are countless retellings of the original story that the then only 20-year-old Shelley wrote. The image of the monster is alive and well today in toys, TV, you name it - but what about the science behind this tale and the relevant connections to responsible innovation that still resonate today?
This past year was busy and successful, as hundreds of NISE Network partners across the country participated in Network projects! It’s exciting to have so many organizations dedicated to engaging people in their local communities in learning about current STEM research. Here are some of our favorite Network moments of 2017, together with some indicators of the impact we achieve working together.
Darrell Porcello, University of California, Berkeley
The DIY Nano app has recently been named one of the top 60 education apps available by the UK tutoring site Tutora, which scored high marks in the category for children ages 6-10 years. DIY Nano provides free, easy to use, hands-on activities at your fingertips. Each activity includes material lists, step-by-step instructions, and detailed explanations. DIY Nano is available for iPhones and iPads.
In 2017, the American Chemical Society (ACS) celebrated the 30th anniversary of one of our most successful outreach campaigns, National Chemistry Week. With a new theme each year, the overall goal of the program is to show the general public how chemistry is involved in every aspect of our daily lives, and so topics have ranged from chemistry in art, in food, in the movies, and in sports.
David Sittenfeld, Emily Hostetler, Susan Heilman, Angela Damery, and Becky Smick from Museum of Science; and Thor Carlson, Science Museum of Minnesota
Our ChemAttitudes activity developers have been working closely with their partners from the project research team through a process called design-based research. Read their reflections about their experiences in testing, refining, and revising their creations as part of this national project to improve informal learning about chemistry.
The Children’s Science Center, located in Fairfax, Virginia, provides Family Science Nights of interactive exhibits and hands-on activities to its Northern Virginia elementary schools. Every Tuesday and Thursday, the Center’s van rolls out filled with 12 activities designed to coincide with the curriculum taught in the communities’ schools. The activities, all manned by volunteers, were created to cater to all ages and minds in the school. Each school year, activities are updated and replaced to continue to broaden the scope of multiple STEM related subjects offered.
After a year of renovations, the St. Charles Parish Library Planetarium reopened to record crowds with help from NISE Net's Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkit in time for the 2017 solar eclipse. Since reopening, staff have integrated the kit's activities into the curriculum and improved upon them in some cases. In addition to some local media attention leading up to their eclipse event, planetarium faculty were also invited to speak at a local elementary school about observing the sky, which included a portable star project and several hands-on activities.
Rae Ostman, Arizona State University and Victoria Fiordalis, Sciencenter
NISE Net is partnering with Arizona State University and partners across the country to celebrate the anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein! This 200-year-old story explores themes of human creativity, societal responsibility, and scientific ethics. Your organization can participate in the nationwide birthday party for Frankenstein by downloading a free digital activity kit from http://www.nisenet.org/frankensteinkit .
NISE Net partners in the Valley of the Sun celebrated the 2017 solar eclipse in a big way! In a pre-eclipse party, almost 900 people visited the Arizona Museum of Natural History, co-hosted by Arizona State University, to help build excitement and awareness of the event in the Phoenix metro area. On August 21, the School of Earth and Space Exploration at ASU hosted a Solar Eclipse 2017 viewing event at the Tempe campus where thousands of participants turned up to view the partial eclipse through solar telescopes and solar-safe glasses, watch live NASA coverage, engage with interactive displays, and talk with ASU researchers about the science behind the eclipse.