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Nano Bite: February 2015

Welcome to the February Nano Bite, the monthly e-newsletter for the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net).

  • NISE Net News and Announcements - Shipping the Boxes and Zipping the Files: NanoDays 2015 News!
  • Upcoming Events! - Stay Connected! Upcoming Online Brown-Bag Conversations
  • Featured on the Website - Valentine's Day NISE Net-Related Activities
  • Partner Highlight - Real-World Examples of NISE Net's Team-Based Inquiry (TBI) - Tulsa Children's Museum Shares Their Evaluation and Capacity Building Project
  • Nano in the News - Snowflakes All Fall in One of 35 Different Shapes, A Billion Holes Can Make a Battery
  • Community News - National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) Multimedia Contests, Visitor Studies Association Conference 2015 (Call for Posters Now Open)
Shipping the Boxes and Zipping the Files: NanoDays 2015 News!
There's a lot of preparation by the Network that goes into helping partners get ready to host their own NanoDays events. NanoDays 2015 is just around the corner, taking place March 28 through April 5 nationwide, and we have many great resources for helping you shape your events!

If you were awarded a NanoDays 2015 physical kit, you should be receiving your kit very soon - kits shipped February 2nd.
Stay Connected! Upcoming Online Brown-Bag Conversations

The Science Behind NanoDays 2015 - Part 1
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
2 pm - 3 pm ET
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Are you interested in learning more about the science behind the NanoDays activities and how they relate to cutting-edge research? Join Lizzie to talk about the science behind graphene and nano-coatings and discuss three new activities from the NanoDays 2015 kit: Exploring Materials - Graphene, Exploring Properties - Heat Transfer, and Exploring Products - Kinetic Sand.

Improving Your Institution's Evaluation-Capacity Building - Partner Examples of Team-Based Inquiry (TBI) for NanoDays Staff and Volunteer Trainings
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
3 pm - 4 pm ET
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Join this conversation as we talk about Team-Based Inquiry, an evaluation-capacity building process developed by the NISE Network, and discuss different ways you can think about improving your institution's events, programs, or trainings using TBI. We'll cover what TBI is before providing examples from Network partners about how they have used it to create better staff training programs, and hack and change NISE Net activities to better suit their audiences.

Pseudoscience and Nanotechnology
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
3 pm - 4 pm ET
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New science, like nano, can be misused, misconstrued, or co-opted by greed. This conversation will explore how to identify poor science and will examine how the word "nanotechnology" has been used to sell a variety of products. We'll finish with a fun "real-science vs. pseudoscience" game show, so come join us!

The Science Behind NanoDays 2015 - Part 2
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
3 pm - 4 pm ET
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In this second in the Science Behind NanoDays 2015 series, Lizzie will discuss the scientific background and their connection to cutting-edge research for two more NanoDays
activities: Exploring Products - Nano Food and Exploring Tools - Transmission Electron Microscopes (TEMs).
          Valentine's Day (February 14) NISE Net-Related Activities PARTNER HIGHLIGHT
Real-World Examples of NISE Net's Team-Based Inquiry (TBI) - Tulsa Children's Museum Shares Their Evaluation and Capacity Building Project
By: Linda Allegro, Tulsa Children's Museum

Developed by the NISE Network, the TBI process involves an ongoing cycle of inquiry: question, investigate, reflect, and improve.

Opening less than two years ago, Tulsa Children’s Museum's Discovery Lab hosted their organization’s first Nano Camps last summer. This newest camp program was supported by a NISE Net mini-grant and staff also participated in the 2014 Team-Based Inquiry (TBI) Cohort to help them evaluate and improve the program.

The primary educational focus at Tulsa Children’s Museum (TCM) is on helping to foster Next Generation Science Standards or 21st Century process skills. The focus on the Nano Camp was on developing collaboration and problem-solving skills through hands-on activities and experimentation. The full-day, week-long camp was offered twice: first as a pilot camp for grades 3-6, then as a second camp targeting younger kids (grades k-2). Throughout the week, campers kept journals about what they learned while introduced to nano topics. Additionally, the week's hands-on activities ended with a culmination project (building a carbon nanotube out of balloons!). Three hands-on activities of particular use for the campers were Exploring Products - Computer Hard Drive, Exploring Nano & Society - You Decide, and build a Balloon Nanotubes.

Through inquiry-based facilitation, each activity required the children to use teamwork and problem-solving skills. The kids enjoyed the hands-on activities and were intrigued by the concept of nano, with one of the Spanish-speaking campers even identifying connections between the term nano and their own language and culture.

As Linda Allegro, Director of Educational Impact states, the children "were trying to understand the scale of what we were addressing. I think that, in and of itself, was most significant about the camp – the exposure to the nano scale."

To learn more about Tulsa Children’s Museum's summer Nano Camp and TBI Cohort project, continue to the full Partner Highlight and watch their 2014 TBI Cohort project presentation (skip to minute 0:24:16).
Snowflakes All Fall in One of 35 Different Shapes - No two snowflakes are alike...or are they? Snowflakes are an example of self-assemble systems, and the structure of snowflakes results from the nanoscale arrangement of water molecules in an ice crystal. Researchers from Japan have been able to categorize snow crystals or flakes into one of 35 different shapes. One physicist from Caltech points out that "the study of how crystals form and that knowledge can be applied to making crystals for a host of other applications. For example, silicon and other semiconductors in computers and electronics are built from crystals."

Related NISE Net activities and resources:
  • Snowflakes: Nano at its Coolest - a NISE Net stage demonstration introducing nanoscale science through the subject of snowflakes. During the program, visitors watch videos of snowflakes growing and observe real ice crystals growing in a chilled chamber.
  • Ready, Set, Self-Assemble - this NISE Net short activity is a full-body program that introduces visitors to the concept of self-assembly in a fun and energetic way.
A Billion Holes Can Make a Battery - Researchers from the University of Maryland have invented a single tiny structure they're calling a nanopore that includes all the components of a standard battery. The nanopore is a tiny hole in a ceramic sheet that holds electrolyte used to carry the electrical charge between nanotube electrodes at either end of the tube. A benefit of the nanopore is that they have the ability to last for thousands of charges. Given that a billion nanopores could fit onto a single postage stamp, researchers believe that this structure could provide the ultimate miniaturization of energy storage.
  National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) Multimedia Contests - Calling all students (within the U.S. and U.S. territories) to demonstrate through multimedia (i.e., video and photographs) how their nanotechnology research may bring solutions to real-world problems and how it could benefit society. See NNI's Student Video Contest and NNI's Image Contest for more information and deadlines. The Visitor Studies Association Conference 2015 - The Call for Posters is now open; submission deadline is February 27th.

There's plenty of sweet activities to keep visitors engaged during the month of February from activities for Valentine's Day to ideas for participating in National Engineers Week and Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day! For a list of nano activities for use throughout the year, see NISE Net's list of seasonal activities.

MEETINGS AND CONFERENCES Follow the NISE Net on Social Media!

Read the Nano Bite e-newsletter online at /newsletter/nano-bite-february-2015.

Do you have something you would like to submit for inclusion in the NISE Network Nano Bite monthly e-newsletter? Please send your announcements, articles, or community acknowledgements to Kayla Berry, NISE Net Coordinator, at [email protected].