These are indeed difficult times. We have been challenged by a series of racist killings by police that once again have laid bare the systemic institutional racism that persists in the United States. The Lawrence Hall of Science is the University of California, Berkeley’s public science center and much of our work in science education is motivated by our values of equity and social justice as well as our hope for a better future. However, recent events led us to realize that we had yet to do enough and that we need to take further and immediate action.
With its sights focused on another record setting experience in 2020, COSI and its partners prepared for an assortment of exciting programs as well as the infusion of new cities from across the state. With a broader regional focus and a year’s experience under our belts, the possibilities seemed endless. However, as the impact of the pandemic grew, COSI was forced to execute a broad-based strategy to engage public, private, and nonprofit partners to produce digital experiences around science and technology.
Since March 15th the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center closed its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many children’s museums, we were faced with the challenge of keeping our families and the greater community engaged with hands-on interactive learning without a physical facility. While the Center has never done much online content development before, our staff quickly shifted gears and learned new skills in video production, editing and social media.
During the quarantine, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens has supplied gardening kits and flowers to the local school lunch program. In April, we made 180 mini garden kits that were made available to students at lunch pickup spots throughout the peninsula as well as delivered to individual homes.
In January 2020, thirty-four museum professionals from across the NISE Network came to Arizona State University as part of the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability in Science and Technology Museums Fellowship. Following their time in Tempe, fellows returned to their organizations with new tools, resources, and relationships cultivated from the workshop to conduct their projects, ranging from updating exhibits to planning museum renovations to providing professional development at their organization about sustainability.
These past couple of months, NISE Network partners have continued to find creative ways to remotely engage their communities in fun science learning experiences and provide outreach throughout the coronavirus COVID-19 shutdown.
Here are just a few partner highlights that have...
Star Night is an annual event at the White Mountain Nature Center in the alpine town of Pinetop, AZ, the region’s crowning informal learning site. The annual early Spring Astronomy Night was planned for mid-March 2020, the amateur astronomers were geared up for a star party, NISE Net's Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkit and Arizona State University’s StarLab were on-hand, we were a go! Then a week prior to the event the Covid crisis erupted and a late Spring storm was in the forecast...we needed to pivot!
The NISE Network continues to be amazed at the way partners are rapidly adjusting to changing times, learning how to adapt in-person programs, demonstrations and activities into virtual and at-home learning experiences. This is no small feat and we want to...
On January 15, 2020 the Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM) held a Star Watch Party with special guest meteorologist and astronomy educator Mike Lynch. This was not a public event, but a staff and volunteer social hosted by The...
After 17 years, the dream to expand the Challenger Learning Center of Colorado to include room for public events and on-site summer camps was finally realized through a revitalized partnership. This past fall, the Center hosted its Grand Re-Opening family open-house event, the first major public event to take place in our newly expanded facility, for almost 900 guests. Staff used activities from the NISE Net's Explore Space toolkits and as well as from fellow Challenger partners.
In honor of Arkansas Science Festival, seven Arkansas State University (A-State) departments came together to host STEM Fest on October 25, 2019. The event was an explosive hit! More than 700 students in grades K-12 registered to attend this event, an indicator of youth interest, and more than 100 volunteers assisted with STEM hands-on activities, some from NISE Net's Explore Science: Let's Do Chemistry kit.
When network partner, Suzi Taylor at Montana State University’s (MSU) Science Math Resource Center, was tasked with helping undergraduate students create hands-on activities for a community outreach event, she turned to NISE Net resources for help.
This partner highlight will focus on Ingram Planetarium's experience and the process used to fully integrate a NISE Network Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkit into the dome theater with the goal of diversifying content, creating more engaging and interactive experiences in the dome for the learner, and to further empower Ingram’s education team to execute interactive programs in the planetarium environment.
Haile Planetarium is a 61 seat, 30 foot planetarium that is part of Northern Kentucky University. In recent years, we have had about 10,000 visitors per year. One recent expansion that has helped us grow is the NISE Network's Explore Science: Earth & Space 2019 toolkit. This is helping us get through our largest obstacle yet.
Looking for the intersection of education and entertainment? Marine science and museums? Look no further than Mote Marine Laboratory’s new virtual learning program, the “Mote SEA Show”! Mote’s team of marine science educators is taking learning beyond the classroom, literally, with a new interactive, livestream marine science morning show. This innovative, educational broadcast focuses on illuminating what goes on behind-the-scenes in marine science and research.
Thursday, May 3 2018 started like any other typical Hawaiian day in paradise on the island of Hawaii, the state’s largest and most geologically active island, when without warning first responders began receiving calls of cracks in the roads and unusual noises in Leilani Estates Subdivision. To this day many residents continue to struggle to recover from this life altering event, buoyed only by hope and the Aloha Spirit of family and friends in this tight knit community accustomed to coming together to rebuild after natural disasters. The State and County of Hawaii continue to deliver assistance to the communities most affected by the eruption and have tapped the Hawaii Science and Technology Museum, a NISE Network Partner, to help rebuild the local workforce and industries through STEM education and programming.
The Mobius Children's Science Museum & Science Center serves a large geographic community in Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho, reaching both rural and urban communities. This past summer, in support of the nation-wide program, A Universe of Stories, the children's museum created programming using their Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkit and mobile planetarium engaging 1950 visitors across 24 different library events, which was a 20% increase from previous summer library programming!
Trois, deux, un…blast off! This past July, visitors from as close as next door and as far away as Paris, France gathered around the upper plaza of the EcoTarium in Worcester, Massachusetts to celebrate 50 years since Apollo 11 headed into space. Along with cheering on two chemical rocket launches, attendees of the Lunar Launch Party also sent stomp rockets flying, blew the tops off film canister rockets using a mix of acids and bases, drove model rovers through an obstacle course, designed and tested small-scale parachutes for astronauts, and watch planetarium shows. Read more about Worcester on the Moon events and festivities.
The Frontiers of Flight Museum’s “Moon Day” in Dallas celebrates the past, present, and future of space flight and has become the largest annual space-themed exposition in Texas. Moon Day was established in 2009 by the Museum, in collaboration with the National Space Society of North Texas, as a family-oriented annual event on the Saturday closest to the anniversary of the first Moon landing. This year, the Museum’s 10th Anniversary Moon Day focused on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission and was held on July 20th—the exact date of the first landing on the Moon.
When Michele Wiles, Director of Play and Discovery for the emerging Children’s Museum of St. Augustine spearheaded our partnership with NISE Network last winter, it paved the way for bringing truly unique STEAM-based learning experiences to our community. From our first Exploring Earth and Space family workshop event to an event for Big Brothers Big Sisters and their littles, the Earth & Space toolkit has brought enthusiasm and new partnerships into our emerging children's museum and community.
When the Student Chapter of the American Chemical Society (Chemistry Club) received the NISE Net's Explore Science: Let’s Do Chemistry kit in September of 2018, it was like early Christmas! The Eastern Oregon University (EOU) Chemistry Club has a long standing tradition of bringing hands-on science activities to the local community and the region. We are located in the northeastern corner of Oregon, in a largely rural area where often schools have limited resources to provide lab-based activities, and the kit seemed immediately the perfect match for our outreach events.
Through the Sustainability Fellowship program, Long Island Children’s Museum created a Milkweed Garden and offers programming that allows visitors to participate in the the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, a citizen science project based at the University of Minnesota. I chose this project because I wanted to create an experience that involved our visitors in citizen science and gave them a way to consider how climate change is affecting our local community.