1) What is the NISE Network?
The National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE Network)is a national community of informal educators and scientists dedicated to fostering public awareness, engagement, and understanding of current science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The mission of the NISE Network is to build the capacity of informal science education institutions and research organizations to work together to raise public awareness, understanding, and engagement with current science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
Transition: The Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network is transitioning to a new, ongoing identity as the National Informal STEM Education Network. While we'll still be known as the NISE Net, network partners will now engage audiences across the United States in a range of STEM topics.
The NISE Network community within the United States is organized around seven Regional Hubs based on geographic proximity. Regional Hubs Leaders facilitate partner interaction in the Network, help museum educators and scientists connect with each other, host regional workshops, and provide support to organizations in their respective regions. Regional Hub Leader contacts and a map can be found on our Contact Us page.
For more information about the NISE Network please see the About page.
2) What is nano?
Nanoscience is an emerging field in which scientists study and research the novel properties and behaviors of systems operating at the nanoscale. The prefix “nano” means one billionth. A nanometer is very, very small - there are one billion nanometers in a meter. On this website we often use the term "nano" as shorthand for nanoscience, engineering, and technology.
3) What is the purpose of nisenet.org?
The website is an online digital library of public nano educational products and tools designed for educators and scientists. The website's purpose is to share educational resources and tools with educators and scientists to increase their capacity to engage their audiences in current science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Many of the educational products and professional development tools on the website are available for free download. This website features two types of educational products:
NISE Network Products: The NISE Network has developed a wide range of educational products designed to be used in a variety of settings, with a range of audiences. These products have been developed with funding from the National Science Foundation under Award Numbers 0532536 and 0940143. These materials are available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license. NISE Network products are created through an iterative, collaborative process that involves researchers in the field of nanoscale science, professionals in the field of informal science education, and targeted public audiences. This process helps to ensure that our programs, exhibits, and other products are scientifically accurate, represent best practices in educational product development, and are effective experiences for our visitors. Learn more about the development process.
Linked Products: Linked Products are educational products created with funding from another source (other than the NISE Network) or by another institution. Linked Products have their own permissions and credits, and are not subject to the NISE Network 's Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license. Selected nano education resources created by other organizations may be added to the website following a review process. We are interested in linking to high quality educational materials that are relevant to NISE Network professional informal science educators.
The NISE Network also provides the public direct access to information and activities about nanoscale science, engineering, and technology through our public website www.whatisnano.org
4) I am located in the United States, how can I get involved?
The NISE Network welcomes new educators and scientists to get involved with the NISE Network and to use educational products created by the NISE Network; here are some steps you can take to get involved:
There may be existing museum and scientist partners near located near you. See the list of NISE Network partners who have hosted NanoDays events.
Be sure to contact your Regional Hub Leader to find out if there are other museums and/or scientists already involved in your area for you to collaborate with.
For museums seeking collaborations: Many scientists are eager to collaborate locally on educational projects or serve voluntarily as advisors and content experts. Please see A Guide to Building Partnerships Between Science Museums and University-Based Research Centers for step-by-step advice on planning, developing, funding, and maintaining education outreach partnerships between research centers and museums.
For scientists seeking collaborations: The NISE Network works directly with nanoscale and materials science research centers to help them establish effective education outreach partnerships with science museums through the Research Center Informal Science Education (RISE) partnership initiative.
Engaging your audiences:
Physical Resources: Apply for a kit to host a NanoDays event; please see NanoDays eligibility guidelines.
See our Audiences resources for tools to help you increase your professional and institutional capacity to effectively engage underserved and underrepresented audiences in informal learning experiences related to nanoscale science and technology.
5) I am located outside the United States, can I get involved in the same way as US partners? (International partners)
The NISE Network is focused on informal science education work on nanoscience, technology, and engineering taking place within the United States, but we are happy to share downloadable electronic resources with people and organizations around the world.
International partners may follow the same links above to learn more about professional development and audience engagement.
Unfortunately our NanoDays physical kits are restricted to our eligible partners located within the United States. The NanoDays digital kit is available for free download and contains all of the same resources and activities, training materials, and media files.
6) What is NanoDays and how can I participate?
NanoDays is held during a designated week each Spring (last week in March - first week in April), and consists of locally based educational events and activities focusing on nanoscale science and engineering. Any organization can plan download a digital kit and host an event. The digital kit includes a planning guide, marketing materials, activity signs and guides, supply lists, media, training videos, and much more to use during your NanoDays event.
The NISE Network is no longer creating and distributing new NanoDays kits; the last kit we created was in 2015. We encourage you to hold NanoDays events and use NanoDays materials year-round. You can download digital kit materials from the 2015 kit as well as other prior kits.
NanoDays provides a great opportunity for scientists and museum educators to collaborate, creating unique learning experiences and engaging people of all ages. You do not need a physical NanoDays kit to hold a NanoDays event! Free online download of past NanoDays kits is available to all nisenet.org visitors, and is intended particularly for locations outside the United States, K-12 educators, libraries, and other educational organizations. The digital kit includes a planning guide, marketing materials, activity signs and guides, supply lists, media, training videos, and much more to use during your NanoDays event. Many of the activities use inexpensive, readily available supplies.
7) I am not receiving the NISE Network newsletter, what can I do?
We are sorry to hear you haven't been receiving the monthly NISE Network newsletter. Here are some suggestions to help:
Step 1) Sign up Again: Please try signing up again for the newsletter; be sure to follow the link when you receive the confirmation email that you should receive.
Step 2) Spam Filter: Check your email spam filter to make sure the newsletter isn't caught in your spam folder; search for the "from" address: "The_NISE_Network@mail.vresp.com"
Step 3) Address Book: Add the following email address to your address book or safe sender list: "The_NISE_Network@mail.vresp.com"
Step 4) Firewalls: If you’re still having trouble receiving The NISE Network monthly electronic newsletter, it’s probably due to an email firewall restricting email delivery from VerticalResponse. You may want to check with your IT staff or service provider and ask them to use the information below to whitelist VerticalResponse servers. This will hopefully prevent future delivery problems. White list information for VerticalResponse delivery servers:
VerticalResponse IP ranges: 188.8.131.52/24, 184.108.40.206/24, 220.127.116.11/24
VerticalResponse Bounce domain: cts.vresp.com
VerticalResponse From domain: mail.vresp.com
Step 5) More Help: If you are still having trouble, please contact Kayla Berry at the Museum of Science.
8) How are educational products on the website categorized?
To learn more about how the educational products on the website are categorized, see the product category descriptions.
You can see all educational products by going to the Table of Contents.
9) How do I find what I’m looking for on the website?
There are several options for navigating the website and filtering your search results:
Search box: You can find materials by using the Search box in the top right hand corner of the website; this is helpful if you are looking for something specific such as "carbon nanotube" or "gecko"
Filtered search: You can filter results by Audience, Product Category, and Nano Topic; you can select multiple filters to further refine your results
To learn more about how the educational products are categorized, read the product category descriptions
You can see all educational products by going to the Table of Contents
You can learn how to incorporate Nano Throughout the Year into events, holidays, and seasons
You can see a complete listing of public educational products translated into Spanish
10) How can I download videos from the website?
NISE Network YouTube channel featuring videos for public audiences:
Most videos featured on nisenet.org are hosted on Vimeo. Vimeo allows you to download in MP4 format. You may want to download a video if you plan to incorporate the video into an exhibit or play it in a theater. You may also want to download a video if you want to play a video during a program or training and do not want to depend on the reliabilty of your internet connection during the presentation. It's best to use Safari when downloading, and you will need an account with Vimeo. To create an account and download a video:
- step 1) Log on to www.vimeo.com/join
- step 2) Choose the Basic (free) package
- step 3) Set your account name, email and password
- step 4) Once this is complete, close the popup if necessary and find your video at www.vimeo.com/channels/nisenet
- step5) Click the title of the video to bring up that video's page
- step 6) Under the video is a shaded block containing the video’s title and description; at the bottom of this block is a darker bar where you’ll find the buttons, “Follow”, “Add to…”, “Stats”, and “Download”; click the "download" button and choose the desired file size.
11) I am having trouble downloading resources, what can I do?
For help downloading videos, please see FAQ #10.
Some PowerPoint presentations (ppt files) on the website include larger media, which will slow downloads. Sometimes these presentations may download without larger media pieces. We try to include separate media files when available so you can download ppt files and media files individually, insert the missing pieces and re-save to your desktop.
We have also created some large presentations with video as pdf files. You will need Adobe reader 9 and flash player 10-both are free downloads available at https://get.adobe.com/reader/otherversions/ and https://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/otherversions/
Use Adobe Reader to run pdf presentations with video. When Adobe opens it will give you a warning that it is about to enter full screen mode. Check the box next to "remember my choice" and click "allow." The first time through the video may not play. If this happens, hit escape and look for the yellow error bar in Adobe reader warning you that video is trying to play. Here, click on "options" and select “trust this document always” From then on, it will open in full screen mode and play all video on that computer (you will need to repeat this procedure for all computers you wish to use these files on).
Adobe Air Multimedia
Some of the multimedia "Zooms” ion the website require the Adobe Air software program to run. Carefully follow all instructions in the "Zoom Installation" read me files included with Air multimedia. To run files locally on your computer:
Step 1) Download All files and install Adobe Air free from http://www.adobe.com/products/air/sdk/
Step 2) Adjust Settings Manager at http://www.macromedia.com/support/documentation/en/flashplayer/help/settings_manager04.html
Step 3) On the "Edit Locations" dropdown select "Add Location" and then "Browse for folder" and find the air file on your hard drive.
Step 4) Close page and open the Air file on your computer to run.
Other technical problems
For other persistent problems, please contact site support at webmaster and describe the problem in detail so that we can help you. Please describe exactly which files were not downloading properly, if the download process was incomplete or if the file did not open properly once downloaded.
12) Where is the Member Directory?
Our NISE Network social networking sites have replaced the Member Directory. You can connect with other NISE Network partners by joining our social networking sites.
13) Sharing your own work and connecting with other partners (Social Networking)
We encourage you to contact your regional hub leader if you are interested in having your work featured in a Partner Highlight blog post.
If you'd like to share news or stories about your educational efforts or want to connect with other partners about an idea or product, we encourage you to use our Social Networking sites.
To learn more about how to suggest a Linked Product for the website, please see FAQ #14.
14) Can I contribute a Linked Product to the website?
If you have a nano educational resource you would like to suggest for possible inclusion as a Linked Product on the website, please send your suggestion to products. All Linked Products go through a vetting process to ensure suitability and non-duplication of similar products on the website. We have two different kinds of educational products on the website, NISE Network Products and Linked Products:
NISE Network Products:
The NISE Network has developed a wide range of educational products designed to be used in a variety of settings, with a range of audiences. These products have been developed with funding from the National Science Foundation under Award Numbers 0532536 and 0940143. These materials are available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license. NISE Network products are created through an iterative, collaborative process that involves researchers in the field of nanoscale science, professionals in the field of informal science education, and targeted public audiences. This process helps to ensure that our programs, exhibits, and other products are scientifically accurate, represent best practices in educational product development, and are effective experiences for our visitors. Learn more about the development process. The NISE Network program and activity templates package includes tools for developing educational programs: a lesson plan template, NanoDays activity guide template, slideshow presentation template, peer review guidelines, and Universal Design checklist.
Linked Products are educational products created with funding from another source (other than the NISE Network) or by another institution. Linked Products have their own permissions and credits, and are not subject to the NISE Network 's Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license. Selected nano education resources created by other organizations may be added to the website following a review process. We are interested in linking to high quality educational materials that are relevant to NISE Network professional informal science educators.
Review criteria for Linked Products suggested for inclusion in the nisenet.org website include:
nanoscience content and connections
relevance to informal science educators
relevance to scientists doing nano education public outreach
intentionally designed for public audiences (in comparison to college curriculum)
appropriate level of materials/concepts/vocabulary for the intended audience
uniqueness in comparison to existing educational products on nisenet.org
appropriate permissions, credits, and acknowledgement (such as crediting of images)
the ability of the owning institution to host the resources on their own website
If you have a nano educational resource you would like to suggest for possible inclusion in the website, please send your suggestion to products.
15) Where can I find logos, press photos, and promotional materials?
The NISE Network has created a variety of promotional and marketing materials for partners to use when promoting their nanoscale science, engineering and technology educational events and activities. These materials include logos, clip art, colors, fonts, and photos.
16) Linking to nisenet.org and whatisnano.org - how can I add a website icon to my website?
17) Can I use an image or photo I found on the website? How do I credit the image?
Before using any images, photos, or illustrations you find on this website, please read about the different types of images below to see how the different permissions and attributions apply to the image you are interested in.
a) Images created by the NISE Network:
The NISE Network has created many publicity and educational images and shares these original images, photos and materials under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license. This license allows you to:
Share: to copy, distribute and transmit the work
Remix: to adapt the work
Under the following conditions:
Attribution: You must give appropriate credit for the image; the specific attribution depends on the original creator of the image
Non-commercial: You may not use this work for commercial purposes; you may use this work for educational or nonprofit purposes.
Share Alike: If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.
- Learn more about crediting NISE Network products and materials
- Promotional and marketing images created by the NISE Network
b) Scientific Images:
There are many scientific images on this website that were created with other sources of funding and do not fall under the NISE Network Creative Commons license. The creators of these images have allowed the NISE Network to make these images available for non-commercial and/or educational use. When using an image, you must provide proper attribution as detailed in the "Credits" information for a scientific image.
c) Linked Products and other images NOT created by the NISE Network:
There are many Linked Products and other images on this website that were not created by the NISE Network and you do not have permission to use these images without contacting the original owner of the image and requesting permission directly.
d) Stock images purchased from third parties are not covered under the terms of Creative Commons.
Examples of stock images are those purchased from a photo service such as iStock, Getty Images, Photo Researchers, etc.
18) What is the Nano Content Map?
Idea 1: Nanometer-sized things are very small, and often behave differently than larger things do.
Idea 2: Scientists and engineers have formed the interdisciplinary field of nanotechnology by investigating properties and manipulating matter at the nanoscale.
Idea 3: Nanoscience, nanotechnology, and nanoengineering lead to new knowledge and innovations that weren’t possible before.
Idea 4: Nanotechnologies—and their costs, utility, risks, and benefits—are closely interconnected with society and with our values.
These four ideas represent a basic understanding of nanoscale science, technology, and engineering (“nano awareness”). For each main idea, the content map articulates supporting information and examples, allowing learners to connect different concepts and explore them more deeply (“nano understanding”).
NISE Network programs, exhibits, media, and other educational experiences engage the public in these ideas. Each educational experience developed by the network focuses on different parts of the content map, as appropriate for its target audience, format, and topic. The content map is a companion to the NISE Network Learning Framework, which describes the kinds of learning experiences we value.
19) Are there educational materials translated into Spanish?
Many NISE Network educational products are available in Spanish. Based on input from NISE Network partners, we have adapted our most popular programs for Spanish-speaking audiences. Follow the link below to explore Spanish versions of several NISE Network public programs, as well as selected other resources. We have placed the highest priority on translating products that directly serve public audiences. Professional resources, such as instructional materials and educator’s guides are only available in English at this time.
20) How can I get more ferrofluid?
item #: FF-200, Ferrofluid Preform Display Cell
If you would like a larger amount of ferrofluid, suspension liquid, or custom containers similar to the ferrofluid exhibit in the Nano mini-exhibition "Small, Smaller, Nano" exhibit, you can purchase it from
Concept Zero Ferrofluid Displays (CZ Ferro)
For future reference, NISE Network educational products typically include details about consumable materials and contact information for vendors in their documentation.
21) How can I get more pre-cut paper buckyballs?
22) How can I get more liquid crystal mixture?
To make your own liquid crystal mixture of the type used in the NanoDays Exploring Materials - Liquid Crystal program, please see the information on supplies included in the documentation. For step-by-step video instructions for preparing the liquid crystal mixture visit:
Alternatively, you can purchase liquid crystal sheets from Educational Innovations: www.teachersource.com.
Liquid Crystal Sheets
Item #LC-2530A, 25-30 ̊C transition
For future reference, NISE Network educational products typically include details about consumable materials and contact information for vendors in their documentation.
23) Who do I contact if I have technical issues regarding the website?
24) How can I use nano materials year-round for holidays, seasons, and special events?
Ideas for incorporating nanoscience, engineering, and technology content into holidays, seasons, annual events, and special STEM events: www.nisenet.org/seasons
25) How can parents and caregivers find STEM events and museums near me?
- The Connectory was developed so parents and other caregivers could find local STEM education opportunities for kids in their lives. Connectory.org
- NASA Museum Alliance displays participating museums and "Events near me"
- Science Museums and science center listings and centers participating in ASTC's passport program for reciprocal membership
- Children's Museums listings by Association of Children's Museums
25) How can I find and work with local scientists ?
- Astronomy: Finding astronomy volunteers: Solar System Ambassadors Program, Night Sky Network, and Astronomy Ambassadors
- Synthetic Biology: Finding Building with Biology synthetic biology scientists volunteers is included in the Building with Biology event planning guide
- Sustainability science: Finding scientists volunteers is included in the Sustainability event planning guide
- Nanoscale science: Finding NanoDays scientist volunteers, tips for working with volunteers, training volunteers, and working with guest presenters is included in the NanoDays planning guide
- Professional Societies: A listing of diversity serving professional societies: www.nisenet.org/Audiences
- Professional Development: These materials designed for scientists 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.
26) How can I find and work with local community collaborators? ?
- Museum & Community Partnerships: Collaboration Guide: collaboration advice, tips, tools, a video, and profiles of national youth youth-serving organizations including: 1. 4-H,2. Afterschool Alliance, 3. Boys & Girls Clubs of America, 4. Boy Scouts of America, 5. Girls Inc., 6. Girl Scouts, 7. Libraries, 8. National Girls Collaborative Project, 9. Parent Teacher Association (PTA), 10. Y (YMCA), and 11. YWCA
26) Where can I find educational resources on other STEM topics?
Howtosmile is a collection of the best educational materials on the web, in addition to learning tools and services – all designed especially for those who teach school-aged kids in non-classroom settings. SMILE was launched in 2010, by a group of science museums dedicated to bringing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) out of the academic cloister and into the wider world. SMILE was launched in 2010, by a group of science museums dedicated to bringing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) out of the academic cloister and into the wider world. Our organizations are resource hubs for educational programs that involve people of all ages and backgrounds. The founding partners of howtosmile were the Lawrence Hall of Science, the Exploratorium, the Science Museum of Minnesota, the Children’s Museum of Houston, and the New York Hall of Science.
NASA Wavelength is your pathway into a digital collection of Earth and space science resources for educators of all levels – from elementary to college, to out-of-school programs. These resources, developed through funding of the NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD), have undergone a peer-review process through which educators and scientists ensure the content is accurate and useful in an educational setting. Use NASA Wavelength to quickly and easily locate resources, connect them to other websites using atom feeds, and even share the resources you discover with others through social media and email.
CLEAN Collection of Climate and Energy Educational Resources - a collection of 650+ free, ready-to-use resources rigorously reviewed by educators and scientists. CLEAN's primary effort is to steward the collection of climate and energy science educational resources and to support a community of professionals committed to improving climate and energy literacy. The Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN) Portal was launched in 2010 as a National Science Digital Library (NSDL) Pathways project. It is led by the science education expertise of TERC, the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder, and the Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College. As of 2012, CLEAN has been syndicated to NOAA's climate.gov portal.
The InformalScience.org database contains project, research and evaluation resources designed to support the informal STEM education community in a variety of learning environments. The Center for the Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE) works in collaboration with the National Science Foundation (NSF) Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) Program to strengthen and advance the field of professional informal science education and its infrastructure by providing resources for practitioners, researchers, evaluators and STEM-based professionals.