The National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE Net) is a community of informal educators and scientists dedicated to supporting learning about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) across the United States. is an online digital library of public educational products and tools designed for educators and scientists. 

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Featured News

Newsletter: March 2017

Welcome to the monthly e-newsletter for the National Informal STEM Education (NISE) Network and community.


  • Community News: Explore Space: Earth & Space physical toolkits have now been delivered!, Building with Biology highlights public engagement activities about synthetic biology at AAAS 2017 Conference, Celebrating NanoDays 2017: March 5 - April 2 
  • Upcoming Events & Opportunities: Upcoming NISE Network online workshops, The Association of Children's Museums (ACM) Interactivity 2017
  • Partner Highlights: Building with Biology at the Joseph Moore Museum of Natural History at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana; Zoom into nano: Bringing nano to a new audience in Towson, Maryland
  • Featured on the Website: NISE Network Impacts: Report to Partners, Leading and Managing the NISE Network Guide, Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkit training and content videos
  • Science in the News: What is gene editing and how does it work?; NASA telescope reveals largest batch of Earth-size, habitable-zone planets around single star; NASA's Night Sky Network-What's up for March 2017; Slow-release nitrogen fertilizer could increase crop yield
  • STEM Throughout the Year: NISE Net's ideas for incorporating current science, engineering, and technology into holidays, seasons, annual events, and special events 

Newsletter archive

Joseph Moore Museum logo

Partner Highlight: Building with Biology at the Joseph Moore Museum of Natural History at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana

By: Lydia Evans, Joseph Moore Museum

Synthetic or real vanilla—which tastes better? Guests at the Joseph Moore Museum’s, a community museum at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, Building with Biology event had the opportunity to decide for themselves while learning about bioengineered food at the Bio Bistro station. After tasting cookies baked with synthetic or real vanilla, guests voted for their favorite. More opportunities to explore and discuss synthetic biology awaited inside the museum where students and faculty set out to engage public and scientists in questions of bioengineering. 


Port Discovery Children's Museum

Partner Highlight: Zoom into Nano: Bringing Nano to a New Audience in Towson, Maryland

By: Sarah Zimmerman, Port Discovery Children's Museum

Port Discovery Children’s Museum in Baltimore is committed to providing educational programming to children of all socio-economic backgrounds across Maryland. The Museum and Community Partnerships Explore Science: Zoom into Nano kit was the perfect opportunity for the museum to reach a new audience - the faith based community. The museum partnered with Babcock Presbyterian Church A+ Care in Towson, Maryland, providing a five week after school program, free of charge, all about nanoscience to 28 students in Kindergarten through 5th grade.


Thank you to partners video screenshot

Thank You to Partners Involved in the Nano Project!

By Larry Bell, Museum of Science

February 2017 is the final month of NSF funding for the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network, which would prompt a sort-of sad note if we didn’t have so many projects going on under the umbrella of the National Informal STEM Education Network.  For many of us, the nano project was unlike anything we had experienced before, stretching over 11½ years and involving over 600 institutional partners and 2,700 individuals from museums, universities, and a range of other organizations. 


Explore Science: Earth & Space logo

Digital 2017 Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkit now available for download

Catherine McCarthy, Science Museum of Minnesota

The National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE Net) Explore Science: Earth & Space 2017 digital toolkit is now available for download.

In collaboration with NASA, the NISE Network has assembled a new set of engaging, hands-on Earth and space science experiences with connections to science, technology, and society.  


Building with Biology highlights public engagement activities about synthetic biology at AAAS 2017 Conference

By: Building with Biology Project Team

By now, terms such as genetically-engineered or genetically-modified, synthetic biology, and even CRISPR are likely more familiar to you than they were five years ago. Gene-editing has become a scientific breakthrough and topic of popularity both in research and in mainstream media as new advances are being made in curing cancer,...


NISE Network Online Workshops

Online Workshop: Working through Difficult Concepts in the Explore Science: Earth and Space Toolkit

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Visitors bring different experiences and knowledge to the activity table, which sometimes helps and sometimes adds confusion to their learning. In this online workshop, learn how to identify common patterns of thinking (including misconceptions, preconceived notions and vernacular issues) as learners build their ideas around Earth and space science concepts and strategies to best address them. We will also discuss how to use the NISE Net’s NASA Wavelength lists to explore more resources to support building on facets of understanding while interacting with visitors.


2017 Explore Science: Earth & Space Toolkit

Please check your 2017 Explore Science: Earth & Space physical toolkits!

KC Miller, Science Museum of Minnesota

All the 2017 Explore Science: Earth & Space physical toolkits should now be delivered!

As you begin your preparations for your Explore Science: Earth & Space events this spring, we encourage you to go through each activity box sooner rather than later.

The list of everything that should be in the toolkits is available here:

We have had a few reports of missing items and spillages, so it would be good to know what you need to replace, instead of waiting...


NISE Network Online Workshops

Online Workshop: The Science Behind the Earth and Space Toolkit: The Changing Earth

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

This online presentation and discussion will cover the science behind three of the 2017 Explore Science: Earth Earth & Space toolkit and Space toolkit activities - Rising Seas, Investigating Clouds, and Orbiting Objects. After a brief overview of each activity and associated materials, Laura Peticolas, Ph.D., a space scientist and science educator, will facilitate learning more about NASA’s contributions to discovering the primary cause of our rising seas, understanding cloud distribution and formation over time, and measuring Earth’s gravity. 


Sci-Port Discovery Center

Partner Highlight: Explore Science and Bars without Barriers in Shreveport, Louisiana

By: Alan Brown, Sci-Port Discovery Center

In July 2015, with funding from the Beaird Family Foundation, Sci-Port Discovery Center began a joint venture with the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Workforce Re-entry Facility. While that re-entry program provides job training and skills, our Bars without Barriers program provides training on Informal Science Education techniques and activities in order to serve two primary goals. First, we want to raise awareness of the importance of STEM education because we work from the assumption that the offenders’ children will someday engineer the spaceships expected to carry our children to Mars. Second, whether those children grow up to be doctors, engineers, artists or athletes, those children will be better people if their parents are involved in their lives, and the STEM activities and communication skills we teach can help those offenders rebuild whatever bonds may have been strained by their years of incarceration.