Programs and Activities
Programs and activities provide educational experiences in a variety of contexts such as informal science education settings, formal education K-12 classrooms, and public outreach events. Most activities are designed to be facilitated by an educator.
- Short Activities
Short activities are brief hands-on experiences lasting less than 15 minutes for small groups of people. They are often presented at a table, cart, or demonstration space in a variety of settings such as a museum exhibit gallery, classroom, or other public or group setting. Multiple short activities can be combined to form a longer activity.
- Long Activities
Long activities include workshops, labs, and lessons for student and public groups. They are typically presented in a dedicated classroom or lab space. Length of time can vary from 45 minutes for an elementary field trip or classroom program to several hours or days for labs, summer camps, and other program formats.
Forums encourage audience consideration of the societal and ethical implications of science and technology topics. Older youth and adults participate in one- to two-hour facilitated discussions that promote exploration and foster dialogue and deliberation. Forums can take place in a variety of contexts, including science museums, libraries, community centers, and schools.
- Theater and Stage Presentations
Science theater includes theatrical plays and other scripted performances for a large group of people. Stage presentations are public programs that typically last up to 20 minutes, and are often delivered in a dedicated presentation area or stage.
- K-12 Lesson Plans
K-12 lesson plans for kindergarten-12th grade students include classroom activities, workshops, labs, and lessons for student groups. They are typically presented in a dedicated classroom or lab space. Length of time can vary from 45 minutes for an elementary field trip program to several hours or days for labs and longer experiences.
Exhibits may take many forms, including hands-on interactive components, multimedia components, object displays, and graphic panels, or some combination of these elements. Exhibits are typically unstaffed experiences, designed for visitors to museums and other similar settings.
- Traveling Exhibitions
Traveling exhibitions are a group of exhibits displayed in museums or similar venues on a temporary basis, through a loan or rental agreement with the owner. Exhibitions are made up of a number of individual exhibit components, usually organized around a theme. They can include hands-on interactive components, multimedia components, object displays, and graphic panels. Exhibits are typically unstaffed experiences, designed for visitors to museums and other similar settings.
- Non-Traveling Exhibits
Non-traveling exhibitions are a group of exhibits, usually organized around a theme, that are installed in museums or similar venues on a long-term basis. Exhibitions can be made up of a number of individual exhibit components, including hands-on interactive components, multimedia components, object displays, and graphic panels. Exhibits are typically unstaffed experiences, designed for visitors to museums and other similar settings.
Media formats include images, video, audio, print, and multimedia. These formats can be incorporated into public educational experiences, integrated into training programs, and used for promotional purposes.
- Promotional Materials
A variety of promotional and marketing materials are available for educators and scientists to use when promoting educational events and activities around the topic of nanoscale science, engineering, and technology. These materials include logos, color and font specifications, photos, ads, and other promotional pieces.
- Scientific Images
A curated collection of digital scientific images related to nanoscale science, engineering, and technology. These scientific images may be incorporated into other educational experiences such as programs and exhibits.
Videos include standalone educational products, audiovisual clips, and instructional training videos that can be incorporated into public educational experiences such as programs and exhibits as well as into training programs.
- Audio and Podcasts
Podcasts are pre-recorded programs that can be downloaded and played on digital media players. Although podcasts primarily include audio content, they may also include images and video. Podcasts range in time from one minute to an hour.
- Interactive Media and Games
These multimedia resources include online games and interactive media experiences that can be downloaded or played over the Internet.
Websites include a collection of other web pages that also cover nanoscale science, engineering and technology content. These sites include a variety of resources including digital products, images, graphics, videos, online games and activities, and databases.
- Print Media and Posters
Digital images, graphics, and printed media include signs, posters, banners, books, and other products that can be downloaded and printed out or presented on electronic displays.
Professional development tools, guides, workshops, and training materials are resources designed for educators and scientists to improve their capacity to engage the public in current science and technology.
- Intro to Nano
These training materials and resources can be used to introduce professional and volunteer educators to nanoscience, engineering, and technology topics, and approaches for engaging the public.
- For Scientists
These resources are designed specifically to be used by scientists, and include tools and guides on science communication, methods for engaging the public, and ways to enhance collaborations.
- For Educators
These resources are designed specifically for educators, and include tools and guides on engaging the public in current science, training materials for specific products, and ways to enhance collaborations.
- Online Workshops
Online workshops and brown-bag conversations are professional development opportunities that allow educators and scientists to share and learn from each other.
Evaluation and Research
Evaluation is a process used to improve the design and function of educational experiences in informal learning environments and to measure progress toward goals. Research studies are designed to generate findings that will inform the broader field of informal science education.
- Front-End Evaluation
During the early stages of a project, front-end evaluation is used to learn about visitors’ familiarity with a topic, their interests and feelings, and what understandings they will bring to the experience.
- Formative Evaluation
During the design and development stage of a project, formative evaluation is used to help achieve desired goals; formative evaluation involves iterative testing and modification of prototype exhibits, materials, and programs.
- Summative Evaluation
At the end of a project, summative evaluation is used to assess the impact of a completed project; summative evaluation usually includes observing visitors while they experience a program or exhibit and interviewing or surveying them before and/or after this experience.
- Research Reports
Research reports summarize the results of research studies conducted on the impacts of informal science education efforts on both public audiences and museum professionals.