The NISENet’s (Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network) November 2015 issue of its The Nano Bite newsletter suggests that this network’s nanotechnology focus is shifting towards synthetic biology. From the November 2015 issue,
→ NISE Network Partner Opportunities Galore!
The Network is continuing to see and provide project opportunities and we welcome NISE Net partners to get involved in the many new projects varying in topics. A short flyer summarizing all these projects is available here.
- Museum & Community Partnerships Explore Science kits
- Building with Biology kits (!)
- Sustainability in Science Museums kits
- NASA Space & Earth Informal STEM Education Network
- Transmedia Museum (Frankenstein Bicentennial Project 1818-2018)
- NanoDays events using existing materials, and
- Small Footprint Exhibitions
This is the fifth (!) month in a row (June/July, August, September, October, and now November 2015) where the Building with Biology project has been featured in one way or the other in The Nano Bite newsletter and here too.
Also on the list of partner opportunities is the Transmedia Museum (Frankenstein Bicentennial Project 1818-2018). This project is being hosted by Arizona State University. From the project homepage,
No work of literature has done more to shape the way people imagine science and its moral consequences than Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus, Mary Shelley’s enduring tale of creation and responsibility. The novel’s themes and tropes—such as the complex dynamic between creator and creation—continue to resonate with contemporary audiences. Frankenstein continues to influence the way we confront emerging technologies, conceptualize the process of scientific research, imagine the motivations and ethical struggles of scientists, and weigh the benefits of innovation with its unforeseen pitfalls.
The Frankenstein Bicentennial Project will infuse science and engineering endeavors with considerations of ethics. It will use the power of storytelling and art to shape processes of innovation and empower public appraisal of techno-scientific research and creation. It will offer humanists and artists a new set of concerns around research, public policy, and the ramifications of exploration and invention. And it will inspire new scientific and technological advances inspired by Shelley’s exploration of our inspiring and terrifying ability to bring new life into the world. Frankenstein represents a landmark fusion of science, ethics, and literary expression.
The bicentennial provides an opportunity for vivid reflection on how science is culturally framed and understood by the public, as well as our ethical limitations and responsibility for nurturing the products of our creativity. It is also a moment to unveil new scientific and technological marvels, especially in the areas of synthetic biology and artificial intelligence. Engaging with Frankenstein allows scholars and educators, artists and writers, and the public at large to consider the history of scientific invention, reflect on contemporary research, and question the future of our technological society. Acting as a network hub for the bicentennial celebration, ASU will encourage and coordinate collaboration across institutions and among diverse groups worldwide.
Here’s where the museum comes into play,
An Advancing Informal STEM Learning grant from the National Science Foundation connected to the project will explore digital narrative, transmedia engagement, and science-in-society through a digital museum [emphasis mine], a tabletop activities kit, and a set of hands-on maker challenges and competitions.
Organizers have produced a promotional video,
For anyone interested in the project, you can go here to subscribe to the project mailing list.
For anyone interested in the 2014 workshop which brought together various researchers, artists, scientists, etc. and which provides some insight into the plans for this project, go here.
2015 International Beijing Science Festival
From the November 2015 issue,
How do you go from doing NanoDays in the US to holding NanoDays in Beijing, China? The story starts simply enough. While facilitating activities at NanoDays 2015 in the Museum of Science, Boston, Pei Zhang was inspired by what she experienced. She loved the hands-on activities and engagement between the volunteers and the public. But Pei wanted more. She wanted to bring the NanoDays experience to China and she knew just how to make it happen. Pei reached out to the NISE Network through the Museum of Science and offered to bring two educators to the 2015 International Beijing Science Festival. Brad Herring and Frank Kusiak accepted the offer and joined an international delegation of 65 science educators from 21 countries all tasked with bringing international hands-on science demonstrations to the people of China. To read more about their experiences, read the full article here.
From the November 2015 issue,
The Adventure Science Center, located in Nashville, Tennessee, is a premier attraction and learning center for visitors throughout Middle Tennessee and lives its mission to “ignite curiosity and inspire the lifelong discovery of science!” Learning does not solely take place inside the science center’s walls, it extends well beyond them and in many different forms.
As a 2015 NISE Net Mini-Grant recipient, Adventure Science Center was able to leverage an established relationship with a local community organization, Conexión Américas, whose mission is to assist Latino families through programs that focus on social, economic and civic integration. Larry Dunlap-Berg, Adventure Science Center’s Community Engagement Science Educator, has been leading outreach efforts with Conexión Américas for the past several years, including providing STEM programming to children while their parents attend Parents as Partners classes. Having built a relationship with Conexión Américas and through these interactions with Latino families within their community, Adventure Science Center was able to establish trust, a key component to any successful museum and local community organization collaboration.
To celebrate the adults completing their courses from Conexión Américas, Adventure Science Center organized a Family Science Event in collaboration with Conexión Américas around nanoscale science, engineering and technology topics, which was supported through funding by their mini-grant award. As part of this outreach, Dunlap-Berg and his colleagues also participated in NISE Net’s 2015 Team-Based Inquiry (TBI) Cohort, a professional development opportunity empowering education professionals to improve their own products and practices through an ongoing cycle of inquiry. To determine which NanoDays kit activities would be best suited and adaptable for short, hands-on activities for a series of Nano Family Science Events, Adventure Science Center worked closely with a range of students in the community…Through hosting the Nano Family Science Event at Casa Azafrán, Conexión Américas’ community center, Adventure Science Center was able to make their family event inviting and engaging for their Latino audience. During their “viaje” (“journey”), families wandered through 10 nano-themed stations made up of several hands-on activities to reinforce concepts.
Continue reading more about the co-organized Nano Family Science Event in the full Partner Highlight.
You can read the full November 2015 issue here.