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Nano Bite: November 2014

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

  • NISE Net News and Announcements - Apply Today, Don't Delay for Your NanoDays 2015 Physical Kit (Deadline Dec. 1st); How Can You Use Evaluation To Improve Your Informal Education Programs (Without Having and Evaluator on Staff)?
  • Upcoming Events! - Stay Connected! Join One of Our Free Online Brown-Bag Conversations
  • Featured on the Website - Team-Based Inquiry Training Videos
  • Partner Highlights - The Leonardo Conducts Team-Based Inquiry on their All-Girls Nano-Themed Summer Camp!
  • Nano in the News - Nanotechnology in Food: More than a Question of Taste
Apply Today, Don't Delay for Your NanoDays 2015 Physical Kit
You have just one more month to apply for a NanoDays 2015 Physical Kit, applications are due December 1st! NanoDays 2015 will be held from March 28 through April 5, 2015 and is a great opportunity to get involved in nano-related public outreach activities. Find more information on how to apply for a physical kit and general FAQs.

How Can You Use Evaluation To Improve Your Informal Education Programs (Without Having an Evaluator on Staff)?
Developed by the NISE Network, Team-Based Inquiry (TBI) is an approach to empowering professionals to get the data they need, when they need it, in order to improve their products and practices and create successful educational experiences. NISE Net has designed a professional development package of TBI materials, including a series of TBI training videos and the Team-Based Inquiry Guide, to support museum practitioners in learning about and using TBI in their own institutions and practice.

Still want to learn more? Join us for the upcoming Online Brown-Bag Conversation on Team-Based Inquiry on Tuesday, November 4th from 2pm-3pm ET!

Stay Connected! Join One of Our Free Online Brown-Bag Conversations

Team-Based Inquiry Stories - NISE Network Partners Share What Works (and What Doesn't!)
Tuesday, November 4, 2014: 2 pm - 3 pm ET

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This online brown-bag conversation is designed to help partners better understand what TBI is and how it can be used in any institution and for any type of project or question. Hear NISE Net partner experiences with evaluation, how obstacles were handled, and how their work has been impacted from their TBI project.

Exhibit Small Talk - Engaging Various Audiences with the Nano Mini-Exhibition
Wednesday, November 12, 2014: 2 pm - 3 pm ET

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The Nano mini-exhibition was designed to have a wide reach making the exhibition welcoming and accessible to as many people as possible. During this conversation, we'll highlight NISE Net resources available around audience engagement and the Nano mini-exhibition, and share how partner host sites have utilized and adapted resources to create uniquely engaging opportunities for their distinctive audiences.

For more discussion on the mini-exhibition, visit the mini-exhibition blog on

The International Year of Light 2015 - What's Nano about Light?
Thursday, December 4, 2014: 3 pm - 4pm ET
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Join us for a conversation about the International Year of Light (IYL) 2015 where you'll learn about light-related activities, programs and videos developed by the NISE Network that are perfect resources for integrating IYL festivities into your programming. We'll also discuss scientific organizations that would make great partners for International Year of Light events, should you want to host an event!

Engaging Younger Audiences with Nanoscale Science
Thursday, December 11 , 2014: 2pm - 3pm ET

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When engaging different audiences, such as younger audiences including children ages 3-8, it is important to target your message in a language that is both understandable and engaging for that age group. Join us as NISE Net partners discuss their experiences working with younger audiences, which NanoDays activities they have found work best and why, how they've incorporated nano into their existing programming, as well as lessons learned while presenting on nanoscale science.
  • Team-Based Inquiry Training Videos - This series of films is part of the NISE Network's "Team-Based Inquiry" professional development package and is designed to support museum practitioners in learning about and using TBI in their own institutions and in practice.
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!  

We sought to understand what activities best supported participant engagement in this five-day summer camp, which was built for 9-12 year old girls. We wanted to know which nano activities presented during this camp were most engaging for the group so we knew which activities we would use for future programming. To figure this out we applied the Team-Based Inquiry approach and we collected data using observations, surveys, participant rankings, and a review of their week-end activity. The methods were built into the program so as to not detract from the camp experience. Each day the girls in Girls Full STEAM Ahead would gain exposure to three or four different NanoDays kits, of which they and a partner would choose one to teach to participants in a younger aged camp taking place at the same time. At the end of the week, the girls were asked to develop their own nano-themed game for their culminating take-home activity. The last day was largely spent working on this project, which also served toward the purpose of observation when the girls taught their game to the younger campers.

We found that Gummy Capsules and Buckyballs were popular activities for both the 5-8 year olds and the 9-12 year olds....and we noticed that the most popular activities all encompassed an aspect of messiness, unpredictability, and ownership! So now what?...continue to the full Partner Highlight.


2014 MRS Fall Meeting - Boston, MA
Taking place November 30th through December 5th, this meeting is sure to impress with its technical sessions and symposia, professional development opportunities, stage presentations, student poster sessions, and public outreach events. Register by November 14th to be eligible for discounted registration rates. For more details, please visit Events and activities that may be of interest to NISE Net partners include:
  • Stop by and visit us at the NISE Net exhibition booth
  • Focus on Sustainability Program: Symposium FF: Materials as Tools for Sustainability 
  • Education Symposium: Symposium AAA: Undergraduate Research in Materials Science-Impacts and Benefits
  • Fun Science Stuff in the Hub including the "Excerpts From...The Amazing Nano Brothers Juggling Show"
  • Hands-On Nano Coffee Hours
  • Fun Science Stuff in the Hub - Stage Presentations
  • Public Outreach Center - Strange Matter Green Earth
We Want to Hear From You!
If you're an active NISE Net partner you may have received an email invitation to participate in the 2014 Annual Partner Survey. We hope that you will take the time to share your input and perspectives of the Network with us! Your feedback is an essential component in our ongoing efforts to understand and improve the partner experience! The survey closes mid-November
[learn more].
Nanotechnology in Food: More than a Question of Taste
Ever growing populations, food production, and sustainability are issues that will require complex solutions. This article highlights two very different perspectives from experts on the use of nanotechnology in the food industry. From enriching foods with nutrients that could help with nutrient deficiencies in the elderly to making food packaging safer, nanotechnologies have made great advances in the past century. However, is nanotechnology being developed and implemented into our food products far in advance of public awareness or known consequence? These are the questions to be addressed and answered. One expert notes, "there has to be a rebalancing of the relationship between citizens, state, science, and food corporations." Read more about nanotechnology in food.
Related NISE Network activities and resources:
  • Sweet Self-Assembly - a NISE Net program where participants make edible macrocapsules using self-assembly techniques similar to those being used in laboratories to make nanocapsules or "smart drugs."
  • What's Nano About Chocolate? - a NISE Net video shows the connection between chocolate and nano.
  • Nano in Food - this NISE Net online brown-bag conversation focuses on the intersection of nanoscale science and food.
  • Kitchen Chemistry - a NISE Net stage program that explores the science of cooking, food, and our senses.
  • Nano Ice Cream - a NISE Net long activity demonstrating how liquid nitrogen cools a creamy mixture at such a rapid rate that it precipitates super fine grained (nano) ice cream.      
Did you know that turkey breast feathers are iridescent due to nano-sized structures within the feathers? For more about iridescence as well as other Thanksgiving/nano connections, check out: For a list of nano activities for use throughout the year, see NISE Net’s list of seasonal activities.

MEETINGS AND CONFERENCES Follow the NISE Net on Social Media!

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

Do you have something you would like to submit for inclusion in the NISE Network Nano Bite monthly e-newsletter? Please send your announcements, articles, or community acknowledgements to Kayla Berry, NISE Net Coordinator, at