Skip to main content

Nano Bite: March 2014

Welcome to the March Nano Bite, the monthly e-newsletter for the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net).

Upcoming Activities!
→  Good Luck with Your Upcoming NanoDays Events
The nationwide week of festivities (March 29 - April 6) about nanoscale science, technology, and engineering is just around the corner. The NISE Network wishes those planning NanoDays events and activities great success.

Important update: You may have received the wrong ammeter in your NanoDays 2014 physical kit! Due to an ordering mix-up, the wrong ammeter may have been included with the Exploring Properties-Electric Squeeze activity. Replacement ammeters have been shipped out to all NanoDays 2014 physcial kit recipients so keep an eye out for this new arrival [more info].
2014 NanoDays Events - We value your feedback!
  • For event organizers: NanoDays reports are due May 1st [go to NanoDays Report]
  • For volunteers: This year we're asking that volunteers of NanoDays events take a few minutes to share their own experiences and feedback by completing a brief survey by April 18th [go to Volunteer Survey
Get Involved
  • Are you hosting an upcoming NanoDays event at your institution? We know organizing a NanoDays event is a team effort and we want to recognize all those responsible – museum educators, graduate students, scientists, volunteers, industry partners, and more! Send us a picture of your 2014 NanoDays team (be sure to have everyone in the photo sign a release form) and send it our way! Submit your team photos to
Promote Your NanoDays Event
  • Have you taken advantage of the online resources available to you in helping to publicize your nano educational activities? Visit the Promotional Materials and NanoDays Promotional Materials (Package) web pages for more information.
  • Join the NanoDays 2014 discussion on social media
    • Include #nanodays @nisenet in your NanoDays tweets
    • Highlight nano on your Facebook page by posting NISE Net's (short ~30 sec) Nano and Me videos and information about your event
    • Get connected with your NanoDays event partners through LinkedIn and stay connected with the latest in nanotech news
Professional Development: March Online Brown-Bag Conversations
Please join us for these free online discussions; just click on the links below to RSVP. All brown-bag conversations are archived online and available for viewing.
Partner Highlight
The Power of HI-Nano
Author credit: Frank Kusiak from Lawrence Hall of Science and Ahia Dye from 'Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai'i

If you ever find yourself on Hawai'i, aka The Big Island, make your way to Hilo and the beautiful and engaging 'Imiloa Astronomy Center.

'Imiloa is the premier learning center to explore the culture and science of Mauna Kea, whose peak houses the world's most extensive array of telescopes. NISE Net was very excited when they decided to take on NanoDays and with the combination of their dedicated staff and NISE Net's NanoDays kits, it is now a place where NanoKits deepen one's connection to Hawai'i. 

If you do nano outreach, you've probably experienced the following: the NanoDays Kit provides the science served up on a platter, but sometimes it's just really difficult to get visitors to connect with the content. Presenting nano without any context is difficult. We may unintentionally localize nano science, or any science content, to convey an idea by connecting it to a local phenomena. 'Imiloa is taking it a step further by presenting STEM content through Hawaiian cultural connections and common local experiences. They are creating an array of nano activities with these underlying principles: community-relevancy and fun. They call the series of activities "HI-Nano."

The name for the NanoKits came about serendipitously...To learn the inspiration behind "HI-Nano" and the numerous connections 'Imiloa is making for its visitors between nano, nature, and Hawai'ian culture, read the full Partner Highlight!

Find out more about 'Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai'i by visiting, or contact Frank Kusiak of Lawrence Hall of Science, and the Southwest Regional Hub Leader.
What Else?

 NISE Net Annual Partner Survey. The NISE Network’s online annual survey was created to learn more about the experiences of participants in NISE Net and how the Network might better support their activities. Many of you have participated over the past couple of years (thank you!), so we thought you might be interested in some of the results. We'll be highlighting different findings from the 2013 survey over the next few months in the Evaluation and Research Findings blog on
Featured evaluation and research findings about partnerships: 72% of respondents said that their organization partnered or collaborated with other organizations to engage the public in nanoscience, engineering, and technology. The most common types of partnerships listed were among universities or colleges, K-12 schools, and museums or science centers [read full Evaluation and Research blog post].
Introducing the 2014 Team-Based Inquiry (TBI) Cohort.
The 2014 Team-Based Inquiry cohort, a subset of mini-grant recipients, is off and running. TBI was developed in 2010 by the NISE Net as a tool for helping those without formal training in evaluation to use data collection, evaluative thinking, and data-based decision making to inform their work and more effectively achieve their goals. The TBI process involves an ongoing cycle of inquiry: question, investigate, reflect, and improve.

Twenty fantastic participants from 10 institutions across NISE Net will be learning about TBI and this practical approach for using evaluation to improve their informal education experiences. The cohort will practice TBI by prototyping a possible future NanoDays activity and improving their institution’s 2014 mini-grant projects. Interested in TBI? Check out the TBI guide and support materials here. If you have any questions, please contact Sarah Cohn from the Science Museum of Minnesota.

In a recent American Alliance of Museums weekly update, the NISE Net's TBI approach was highlighted as a practical tool in Making Evaluation Practices Work in Real-Time!

2014 MRS Spring Meeting - San Francisco, CA - April 21-25, 2014
The Materials Research Society is playing a major role in bringing together the educaiton, research, and industrial communities together at this year's 2014 MRS Spring Meeting. The NISE Network will be hosting a booth; stop by, say hello and register to participate in the NISE Network as a science collaborator! Join us during coffee breaks for hands-on activities and demonstrations, and make sure to attend the student mixer (Monday, April 21st) for the chance to catch up with colleagues and make new friends!
And for those science enthusiasts interested in science writing, take advantage of a free, one-day Science Writing Workshop co-sponsored by NISE Net that will help to provide you with the knowledge and skills to take your writing to the next level. Applications accepted until March 20th (note: you do not need to be registered for the Spring Meeting to attend this workshop).

Just released - updated version of DIY Nano App for iPhone/iPad! Developed by the Lawrence Hall of Science, this app is a great interactive tool for learning more about nano science at home! [Download app]

Upcoming Conferences and Meetings
Nano Throughout the Year
A list of nano activities for use throughout the year is available on the NISE Net’s list of seasonal activities. Spring is right around the corner and so are these upcoming events.
NanoDays Trivia
*Answer located at bottom of newsletter*

For which activities can the digital or physical NanoDays kit materials be used outside of NanoDays?

    a) Cart demonstrations/brief table top activities   
    b) K-12 outreach activities (e.g., classes, after school programs, field trips, science fair)
    c) Special events (e.g., family events, chemistry events, family nights, festivals)
    d) Science camps (daily, weekly, seasonal)
    e) Outreach activities with ongoing community partners (e.g., libraries, scouts, Boys & Girls club)
    f) Professional development (for museum staff, school teachers, college students)
    g) Longer museum programs (e.g., forums, classes, labs, science club)
    h) Longer term display of materials in public spaces (e.g., within exhibits, on the museum floor)
    i) Lesson activities within college courses
    j) All of the above

Follow the NISE Net on Social Media!

Read the Nano Bite e-newsletter online at /newsletter/nano-bite-march-2014.

*Trivia answer:
For which activities can the digital or physical NanoDays kit materials be used outside of NanoDays? Answer: All of the above!

Forward this message to a friend