Family Science Day
About Family Science Day
Join us for a fun morning of hands-on educational activities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Hang out with MSU students, meet MSU scientists and engineers, and participate in dozens of free activities. All ages.
Volunteers are critical to MSU Family Science Day. We welcome MSU faculty, students, student groups, and off-campus businesses and organizations.
Volunteers run stations by:
- Using a pre-designed STEM activity from one of our National Science Foundation kits
- Designing your own activity or exhibit
Sign up to volunteer:
Meet Some of the Participants
Montana Nanotechnology Center (MONT)
The Montana Nanotechnology Center (MONT) is a premiere sponsor of MSU’s Family Science Day. The NanoLand Exhibit, created by MONT professor Wataru Nakagawa, introduces visitors to nanoscience and helps create an understanding of the nanoscale.
A NanoLand host asks visitors to imagine that they are nano-sized by demonstrating how they would relate to other nano-sized objects. For example, if the average person were nano-size, they would be able to crawl through a strand of silk, represented by a child’s play tunnel; a typical virus would be the size of a piece of Skittles candy and a single yeast cell would be comparable to a gummy worm.
How small is “nano?” A nanometer is one billionth of a meter, a sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick and a strand of DNA is about 2.5 nanometers in diameter. Nanotechnology involves the ability to see and control individual atoms and molecules. It iis a rapidly growing field of study involving all the sciences: chemistry, biology, physics, materials science and engineering.
Nanoscience researchers at MSU’s MONT are working on a diverse range of projects, from seeking a cure for Alzheimer’s disease to abating the corrosion of structural steel.
The National Science Foundation funds MONT. It is part of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure, which provides open access to nanotech facilities for research and industry.
Aerokats and Rovers Education Network
The Aerokats and Rovers Education Network (AREN) team at MSU built miniature kites with participants. AREN is a program supported by the NASA Science Mission Directorate for Science Education that designs and uses low-cost instrumented systems for in-situ and remotely sensed Earth observations, including kite-based "AEROKATS" and remotely controlled aquatic and land-based "ROVERS."
Participants used tissue paper, mylar, silk thread and 20-inch straws to build one of two different miniature kites based on the excellent designs and resources of Glenn Davison, a kite designer, builder and workshop leader. AREN team members assisted with the construction process while sharing an overview of the NASA AREN project and words of encouragement for our country's future scientists and engineers.
This activity, including instructions for recreating it in your own setting, was shared on the national blog of Public Lab, an AREN partner and open community that uses DIY techniques to help citizens investigate environmental concerns.
Family Science in the News!
Resources for Teachers, Informal Educators and Outreach Professionals
You can borrow MSU Academic Technology and Outreach's NanoDays kits and explore the science of the small with youth of all ages!
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how you can:
- Explore invisibility
- Find out why a blue morpho butterfly is blue
- Learn about surface tension with the tiniest teacup you'll ever see
- Create your own iridescent "thin film" to take home
- Discuss some of the impacts of this new science on society: How do you feel about a nano-sized tracking device being implanted in your body (or passport?) Can nanotechnology solve our energy crisis? Will nanoparticles contaminate our water supply? Our materials include discussion guides and resources for exploring these intriguing questions.
Plus, many other hands-on activities, games and educational resources for classrooms, camps, visiting students and adults.
We also have training materials. Experience in nanoscale science and engineering is not necessary!
We have even more kits and resources than this! Schedule an appointment to come to MSU Academic Technology and Outreach. We will show you all the kits and resources so you can decide what you would like to borrow.