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Kickoff for NanoDays 2010

The NanoDays kits have been shipped and the digital resources are ready for downloading. Now it's time to get busy thinking about what you actually want to DO with all this stuff! Whether this is your first time creating a public event about nano or you are a NanoDays veteran, it helps to start planning your activities and contacting collaborators early.

So where to begin? For those of you with physical kits, make sure you look in your box for the “Open Me First” packet. There you will find all kinds of helpful materials: a NanoDays planning guide and manuals about how to hold science cafes and forums, some NISE Net brochures, a copy of the DECIDE game, a Dragonfly TV nano DVD (with educator resources), a reminder about evaluation, a photo release form, and some extra bits like removable tattoos (“I'm Made of Atoms”) and stickers. Most of these resources can be downloaded in digital form; you can find them here.

One really great way to prepare for NanoDays is by paging through Wendy Crone's short book, Bringing Nano to the Public: A Collaboration Opportunity for Researchers and Museums. Although written in 2006, many of the observations about public knowledge of nano still hold true today. For those of you who work in an academic or industry research setting, it also includes some good information about how people learn in informal settings like museums, as well as about the exhibit and program development process. I just reread it myself, and find it really useful as a perspective for thinking about this new NanoDays season.

I suspect that many of you are much more eager to just open the boxes and explore all this neat stuff! This year there are 12 activities for you to use to engage the public in nano, and I encourage you to try them out ahead of time. If you need a little help doing this, join us for an online workshop from February 17-24 in which we'll show you a presentation of three NanoDays activities (Exploring Structures–Buckyballs, Exploring Materials–Ferrofluids, and Exploring Materials–Liquid Crystals) then encourage you to deliver one of them to YOUR test audience, and report back about your experience. Just send an email to nanodays@nisenet.org if you want to participate.