New project announcement: ChemAttitudes

Kayla Berry, Museum of Science

NISE Network

We are pleased to announce the new project, ChemAttitudes, funded by the National Science Foundation. 

The ChemAttitudes project builds on the existing NISE Network infrastructure to raise the capacity of museums and informal science educators to engage the public in chemistry. This project  will use design-based research to develop a tested theoretical framework and set of educational activities that point the way to greater interest, relevance, and self-efficacy among museum visitors and those who attend events like National Chemistry Week. 

Chemistry is everywhere in the world around us and in ourselves. It’s in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the soil we grow that food in, the medicines we take, the clothes we wear, the fuels we use to get around, and all of the materials natural or human-made that surround us. But chemistry is the least represented of the major science fields in science museums and other informal educational media. A study in the U.K. in 2015 found that a many members of the public "do not see (chemistry) as personally relevant and lack concrete examples of its applications….many of (their) associations were distant from themselves in terms of time (school), visibility (the hidden nature of dangerous chemistry), and accessibility (being hard/difficult)" U.K. researchers found that people consider science to be welcoming, friendly, fun, active and full of discovery and exploration but they consider chemistry to be intimidating, hard to understand, serious, inaccessible, and full of methodical and repetitive activities.


Project Partners

The ChemAttitudes project is funded by the National Science Foundation and is led by:

  • Museum of Science, Boston, MA

In collaboration with

  • Science Museum of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN
  • American Chemical Society (ACS)
  • Sciencenter, Ithaca, NY
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
  • National Informal STEM Education Network

Opportunities for NISE Net Partners

A total of 250 free physical kits will be awarded to successful applicants in August 2018; applications will be due earlier in 2018 (exact date to be announced.) The American Chemical Society (ACS) will help to promote collaborations between science museums and National Chemistry Week organizers. The materials in the kits can, of course, be used in a variety of ways throughout the year for a variety of audiences, just as NanoDays kits are. NISE Net and ACS hope to continue their collaboration beyond this initial NSF award to support future informal educational material development, resources for professional development, and perhaps a chemistry mini-exhibition.

More information about will be available here as the project progresses: http://www.nisenet.org/chemattitudes


Acknowledgements

Funded by the National Science Foundation's Advancing Informal STEM Learning Program through award 1612482. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the National Science Foundation.