The Franklin Institute, named in honor of Benjamin Franklin, is a nationally renowned science museum located in downtown Philadelphia. Students, faculty, and staff in the MRSEC have been working with the staff of The Franklin Institute to design innovative new educational resources for science museums nationwide.
Working together, the MRSEC and the Franklin Institute have produced two 60 minute cart-based, interactive demonstration kits. The first kit, Materials Matter, explores the "micro" mechanisms behind the unusual and surprising "macro" behavior of materials such as aerogels, shape-memory alloys, polymers, electronic ink, and zeolites. The second demonstration kit, Zoom in on Life, investigates how the nanometer sized parts of our body function in order to make life possible. Activities in this kit focus on antibodies, DNA, molecular motors, cell membranes, and vision. We have distributed both shows to approximately 20 science museums nationwide.
A third museum show is in the preliminary stages of development. The new show will have a nanotechnology theme with possible topics to include self assembly, molecular rulers, silver nanoparticles, and data storage. The new show will again be sent to approximately 20 science museums with a tentative rollout during Fall 2007. Volunteers are needed to lead and support in the development of the demonstrations, train museums to use the demonstrations, and help with web support for this project.