Staff training materials for Nano & Society workshop. The workshop focused on preparing museum educators to engage the public in conversations about the relationship between nanotechnology and society. Workshop participants learned new hands-on activities, full-length programs, and ideas for facilitating visitor experiences in the Nano mini-exhibition. The workshop provided specific training and skill-building in nano and society content, conversation facilitation, and improving and learning from professional practice (Team Based Inquiry).
Nano & Society
This guide is focused on “three big ideas” that can provide a framework to help museum staff and visitors feel empowered to reflect on the relevance of nanotechnology in their lives through open-ended conversation. The guide considers how new nanotechnologies may affect people and the societies they live in and create. The three big ideas are illustrated with related videos and hands-on activities and further explored through very brief case studies of three nanospecific technologies, providing further examples of conversations that might occur on a museum floor.
Improv exercises empower educators to facilitate positive, learning conversations with visitors. Incorporating improv exercises into staff and volunteer training helps create a supportive and upbeat environment for educators to practice and strengthen essential skills. Included are tips on how to lead improv exercises with your staff and guides for 13 separate improv activities you can use.
"Exploring Nano & Society - You Decide!" is a hands-on activity in which visitors sort and prioritize cards with new nanotechnologies according to their own values and the values of others. Visitors explore how technologies and society influence each other and how people’s values shape how nanotechnologies are developed and adopted.
"Exploring Nano & Society - Tippy Table: is an open-ended conversational experience in which visitors have additional blocks to place on the tippy table component of the Nano Mini-Exhibition. Conversations around where visitors place these new blocks lead them to explore how technologies and society influence each other and how nanotechnologies are part of a bigger system.
"Exploring Nano & Society - Space Elevator" is a open-ended conversational experience in which visitors imagine and draw what a space elevator might look like, what support systems would surround it, and what other technologies it might enable. Conversation around the space elevator lead visitors to explore how technologies and society influence each other and how people’s values shape the ways nanotechnologies are developed and adopted.
"Exploring Nano & Society - Flying Cars" is a hands-on activity in which visitors imagine and build a flying car out of small foam pieces. Conversations around this process lead visitors to explore how technologies and society influence each other and how nanotechnologies are part of a bigger system.
Nano Around the World is a card game designed to get participants to reflect on the potential uses of nanotechnology across the globe. Players each receive three cards: a character card, a current technology card, and a future technology card. They are asked to assume the role of their character to find nanotechnologies that might benefit them.
These 'Do It Yourself' Nano activities and experiments allow families to experience and learn about nanoscale science, engineering, and technology at home or on the go! They are are designed to be done in the comfort of your own home. Each activity includes lists of widely available, inexpensive materials, step-by-step instructions, and detailed explanations. Go ahead, give 'em a try!