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.
Partner Highlight: The Perot Museum of Nature and Science Inspires Students and Adults through "Nanoscience Family Science Night"
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science, formerly known as the Dallas Museum of Nature and Science, in Dallas, TX has been an involved member of the NISE Network since 2011. This past year, the Perot Museum was able to expand their outreach programming through a NISE Net mini-grant by creating a nanoscale science-themed night for local schools called "Nanoscience Family Science Night," consisting of nine hands-on activity stations for students and their families.
The plan at the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University (CNS-ASU) for NanoDays 2014 was originally pretty simple: train a couple dozen graduate students and have them present demonstrations in a tent to some of the over 200,000 visitors at the Tempe Festival for the Arts. Then came the phone call: “Do you also want to do NanoDays in South Africa this year?”
Partner Highlight: Robots, Bees, and Nano, Oh My!: NanoDays at the Delaware Museum of Natural History
Many of our favorite applications of nanotechnology—from water-repellent fabric to iridescent materials—are inspired by nature. These connections have made nano programming a great fit for many of the NISE Network’s natural history museum partners, including the Delaware Museum of Natural History. But visitors aren’t always aware of the link between nature and technology, says Kari Lawrence, the Museum’s education manager, so programs like NanoDays offer a chance to highlight this cutting-edge science while also building new relationships in their community.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to play the Mission: Nano game.
Funded by a NISE Network mini-grant, the Houston Methodist Research Institute (HMRI) and Rice University's Center for Technology in Teaching and Learning (CTTL) in Houston, TX partnered to develop a nanotechnology-based multimedia game app. The product, Mission: Nano, educates players about uses of nanotechnology in medicine and inspires them to consider careers in the STEM sectors.
We’re all familiar with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) — it’s a buzzword that continues to build momentum in education. There are dozens of studies on how to improve STEM education at all levels. But what happens when you introduce art into STEM? That’s exactly the type of question we explore at The Leonardo Museum in downtown Salt Lake City. By approaching big topics in science and culture through the lens of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math), we are able to appeal to populations and make applications that could otherwise be overlooked.
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