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"Broader Impacts" Solutions for NSF Proposals at the Sciencenter

hands-on activity

Are you looking for a creative way to incorporate outreach into your next research grant?

With 30 years of experience in developing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) exhibits and programs, the Sciencenter, Ithaca's hands-on science museum, can provide you with access to a large audience, staff expertise in K-12 and informal science education, and a powerful way to address the "broader impacts" requirement for your next grant proposal. By partnering with the Sciencenter, you can help inspire the next generation of scientists through your research.

Audiences You Can Reach Through the Sciencenter

  • We serve 100,000 guests at our museum in Ithaca each year. Our guests range from newborns to seniors, with our primary audience being families with children 12 and under. We reach over 10,000 low-income and minority children through free admission and outreach programs.

  • We also reach over 1.5 million people each year outside of Ithaca through traveling exhibitions and outreach programs that we send to other science centers nationwide.

Exhibits: Connecting Your Research to a Broad Audience

hands-on activity

With interactive exhibits, you can share your STEM research with a broad audience over a long period. The Sciencenter's professional staff, with advanced degrees in physics, engineering, geoscience, biology, and education, can work with you to design, fabricate, and display exhibits on almost any STEM topic. Exhibits range from single kiosks to exhibitions filling 3,000 square ft of space.

  • Our traveling exhibitions have been to over 100 museums in 40 states, reaching over 10 million people in Ithaca and throughout the U.S. during the past decade.

  • Exhibits on display at the Sciencenter for 10 years reach over 1 million people.

  • Our knowledgeable and friendly staff can develop timetables and budgets for various options and work with your team to develop appropriate supporting materials.

Educational Programs: Facilitating Opportunities for More Intensive STEM Learning

Community Science Night

In addition to exhibits, the Sciencenter offers a variety of educational programs that engage public and school audiences in learning about STEM topics. Three popular programs include:

  • Community Science Nights. These outreach events at elementary schools reach 100 children and parents with 10-15 hands on science activities on almost any topic.

  • Saturday Showtime! Every week, local scientists make a 20-30-minute public presentation, highlighting interesting science topics and reaching ~100 guests in our amphitheater.

  • Museum Demonstrations. Every day, volunteers offer table-top demonstrations and science activities at the Sciencenter with simple, hands-on activities.

Examples of Sciencenter Outreach Projects for Research Grants


    It's a Nano World. This 3,000-SF exhibition on nanotechnology opened at Disney's INNOVENTIONS venue at Epcot and reached over 1 million people before beginning a 10-year nationwide tour of science centers. Helping children understand the concept of scale, the exhibition features hands-on activities and processes involving cells and silicon. (In collaboration with Cornell's Nanobiotechnology Center through an NSF research grant.)

    When The Earth Shakes. This 1,000-SF exhibition on earthquake engineering includes exhibits on what causes earthquakes, how we measure them, and how engineers are making the world safer against earthquake hazards. (In collaboration with Cornell's Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation laboratory through on NSF research grant.)

    Infrared Imaging. This single 100-SF exhibit contains an IR camera and big-screen monitor that allow museum guests to experiment with heat-sensitive imaging of themselves and small objects. (In collaboration with Cornell's Dept. of Astronomy through a NASA research grant.)

Educational Programs

    Science Is Elementary. Through Community Science Night programs at area schools, staff and students from many NSF-sponsored programs at Cornell share chemistry and other science activities with hundreds of children and their families.

    Showtime! - Biomimetic Robots. Every Saturday at 2 pm, scientists present to the public at our Saturday Showtime! series. Recently, researchers introduced audiences to bio-inspired robots and led soft robot building activities with children in the Sciencenter's afterschool programs and summer camp. (In collaboration with the Creative Machines Lab at Cornell.)

    BioProducts. Offering simple activities on carts, and using props from their lab, researchers demonstrate to museum audiences how to use plants to make sustainable materials. (In collaboration with the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research.)

    Moto-Inventions. This weekly activity engages children and families in tinkering with electric motors and other materials to make simple machines. (In collaboration with CLASSE, Cornell's Laboratory for Accelerator-based Sciences and Education.)

Proposal Support

Our experienced staff is available to support your team in developing and producing STEM proposal concepts, timelines, costing, graphics, and more.

For More Information

To learn more about how we can help you satisfy NSF's broader impacts criterion and bring your research to the public: