Resources on this website are split into Educational Resources for public audiences and Professional Learning resources for informal science educators, scientists, and volunteers.
The NISE Network creates educational resources for a wide range of public audiences in informal learning settings. Most of these educational experiences 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.
Kits are a collection of public engagement materials and related professional development tools and resources related to a specific topic or project. Toolkit elements are chosen and designed to complement and reinforce each other.
Public engagement materials may include short hands-on activities, games, longer programs, activity signs, printed media such as posters, multimedia, and more.
Associated professional resources may include activity facilitation guides, training slides, training videos, event planning guides, promotional materials, and safety information. Professional development resources are designed to prepare staff and volunteers to effectively deliver the public engagement products contained in the kit.
Physical kits are awarded through a competitive application process to eligible institutions, and include all the materials and supplies needed to implement the activities.
Digital kits are available online, and include all resources for free download and use.
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.
- Traveling Exhibitions
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 settings, 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.
- Games and Interactives
Card games, board games, collaborative group challenges, as well as interactive media.
- Promotional Materials
Promotional and marketing materials for educational events and activities including logos, color and font specifications, photos, ads, and other promotional pieces.
- Scientific Images
A curated collection of digital scientific images that may be incorporated into other educational experiences such as programs and exhibits.
- Educational Videos
Educational videos include standalone films and audiovisual clips that can be incorporated into public educational experiences.
- Posters, Graphics, and Books
Printable materials for public audiences including posters, signs, banners, books, and other products that can be downloaded and printed out or presented on electronic displays.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
- Training Videos
Instructional training videos for staff and volunteers facilitating activities and experiences.
- Online Workshop Recordings
Recordings of professional development opportunities that allow educators and scientists to share and learn from each other.
- 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.
- 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.
- Intro to Nano
- 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.
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.