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NanoDays Celebrating Small, Smaller, Nano!  Amazing discoveries come in all sizes and the annual series of NanoDays events proves the point. NanoDays events scattered nationwide celebrate the science of very, very tiny bits  enabling participants of all ages to imagine, discover, and explore a world that's too small to see. NanoDays Feather Discoveries and Family Fun
 
Here’s the scoop. Each spring more than 200 locations across the country host engaging events and interactive programs combing nano science and family fun. The annual NanoDays celebrations, usually the last weekend in March and first weekend in April each year, span from coast to coast and focus on nano science events and hands-on activities ideal for families. Not surprising the participating museums and science centers on the NanoDays list are also some of the best museums in the country and worth including in family vacation plans. 

So what exactly is a nano? As my favorite 10 year-old explained to me, “Think tiny, tiny, I mean really tiny, less than micro and you will have nano." His best example for me was the book Horton Hears a Who. I just smiled. The example, though not highly scientific, made sense to me.  

What parents really need to know is that in the future nano science will play a big part in the wellbeing of our planet. According to many scientists and engineers, nano research and technology has the potential to solve some of the biggest problems facing the future generations. Things like affordable clean energy, more efficient medical devices, personalized drugs, new environmental cleanup techniques, better fabrics and building materials. So it pays to get children interested and excited about the possibilities offered by nanos. Why not share in the fun?

NanoDays and Horton Hears a Who
 
Some NanoDays activities demonstrate different, unexpected properties of materials at the nanoscale for example sand that won’t get wet even under water, water that won’t spill from a teacup, and colors that depend upon particle size.

Terrific news for families. There’s a DIY Nano app (for iPhones) and DIY Nano HD (for iPads) which allows families to experience and make discoveries about nanoscale science, engineering, and technology at home or on vacation.

The events spread across the country are both inspiring and energizing. For those who find spring break during the same time frame it may make sense to check one out. I have gathered a few examples meant to inspire. More may be found at nanotechnology website.NanoDays family Experiments and Discoveries

One of my favorite geeky spots on the planet is the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in San Diego because they do an excellent job of making science fun for all generations. The museum has created an interactive nanoscale science, technology and engineering space loaded with provocative ideas connected to nanotechnology. From building a giant carbon nanotube to comparing the effects of static electricity and gravity on size, the exhibit proves nano science can be thought provoking and fun at the same time. Bonus Points: On Saturdays throughout the year the museum’s Tinkering Studio is open to families featuring free hands-on activities for all ages. (www.rhfleet.org)  

Tucson Nano at the Children’s Museum in Tucson features an array of small, smaller, smallest, nano activities to engage visitors. Play “I Spy Nano” and build your own giant carbon nanotube or balance blocks on a tippy table and try to contain small plastic beads subject to static electricity and gravity. (www.childrensmuseumtucson.org)

At Discovery Center in Amarillo enjoy more than 8,000 square feet of hands-on, interactive learning activities including Nano the interactive exhibition that features nanoscale science, engineering and technology. An assortment of hands-on exhibits presents the basics of nanoscience and engineering featuring real world applications.  Visitors will discover how different materials behave as they get smaller, have the chance to build a giant nanotube, and compare effects of static electricity and gravity on different sized objects. (www.discoverycenteramarillo.org)NanoDays Test Tube Discoveries

Throughout the Twin Cities families will have the opportunity to celebrate NanoDays with hands-on activities, live stage performances, special guest programming at The Bakken, the University of Minnesota Nanofabrication Center, Sabathani Community Center, and SELF International. Of course the Science Museum of Minnesota, also on my list of favorite geeky spots for families, will have hands-on activities demonstrating nanoscale properties. Visitors may play with magnetic liquid, turn a nickel into a penny, or make an object disappear. (www.smm.org)

In Boston at the Museum of Science, NanoDays will feature a series of drop-in events and hands-on activities from the unique properties of butterfly wings and leaves to creating new materials in the lab. Look for the return of the Amazing Nano Brothers Juggling Show with their entertaining and clever explanations of atoms, molecules, and nanoscale forces. (www.mos.org)

The Discovery Museum in Sacramento will join in the Nano celebration adding special activities to its already packed list of terrific experiences for children age four to 12. From planetarium shows and Creature Features to archaeology digs and Challenger simulated missions, applied sciences set the stage and provide oodles of ways to have fun. Bonus Points: Not two visits will ever be the same because each weekend features a different science topic or special exhibit each weekend with guests, displays, and hands-on activities. (www.thediscovery.org)

Turtle Bay Exploration Park and Science Center in Redding is hosting a special exhibition “Nano: The Science of Small” which explains how when things get smaller, they act in surprising ways. Try hands-on nanoscience and engineering activities, see why nano applies to everyone. Bonus points: Turtle Bay also offers an awesome small scale interpretive forest of redwoods and the arboretum section spans more than 200 acres linking directly with the award-winning Sacramento River Trail. (www.turtlebay.org)

Make it happen: For more information about nanotechnology, visit www.whatisnano.org 

Content gathered and posted by Nancy Nelson–Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files with images courtesy www.nisenet.org. updated   Copyright 2017.

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