January 11, 2022Catherine McCarthy, Arizona State University
The year 2021 was challenging for many of us individually, as well as for our organizations and communities. We are so impressed with how NISE Network partners have continued to creatively address ongoing challenges and offered suggestions and assistance to one another during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have all been adapting to changing health and safety conditions while still continuing to engage the public in STEM in-person and online.
We know that many of you have changed employers or are seeking new opportunities due to the ongoing financial pressures and disruption of the pandemic; wherever you are, please do continue to stay in touch with the NISE Network community. We always appreciate hearing from you!
Despite all these challenges, NISE Network partners have continued to engage the public nationwide in STEM. Here are some highlights from 2021.
Partners engaging the public in 2021:
- Mars Rover landing in February 2021
Museums all over the United States celebrated the NASA Perseverance mission and landing with a variety of public engagement programs both in-person and online. Programs covered a variety of content focused on the science behind the mission, the engineering to land the mission, and past and future exploration on Mars.
- Solar Eclipse in June 2021
Community members, science enthusiasts, astronomy lovers, and stargazers gathered in parks and on rooftops, virtually and in-person to look to the skies and celebrate the annular solar eclipse.
Read more about partner events
- Pivoting to online engagement
Many partners dramatically increased their online public engagement efforts, one example are the virtual field trips and programs offered by NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility Visitor Center in Virginia
- Halloween and National Chemistry Week in October 2021
Partners continued to incorporated STEM content into many holidays and seasonal events.
In October many NISE Network partners celebrated National Chemistry Week using their Explore Science: Let’s Do Chemistry kits.
Read more about partner events
And of course many partners celebrated Halloween in person and virtually. Read more about Spooky Science at the Hawaii Children's Discovery Center
- James Webb Space Telescope launch community events - Fall 2021
James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) community events have been in full swing across the country this fall! Here are highlights from just a few of the Webb Community Events that have been taking place nationwide over the past few months.
- Events across the United States
- Sierra Vista, Arizona community wide events
- Westchester Children's Museum Rye, NY events
- Moon Adventure Game has been used in so many different ways by partners including:
- 100 partner organizations have been participating in the NASA-funded Earth & Space project-based professional learning community focusing on making Earth & Space science relevant and inclusive for their local communities
- 90 Partner organizations have been participating in the IMLS-funded Sustainability Fellowships in cohorts D, and E, while cohort F is starting up in January 2022; These fellowships support museums and similar cultural organizations in their efforts to integrate sustainability into all aspects of their institution, including decision-making, operations, programs, and community partnerships
- 22 partner organizations participated in the NOAA funded Citizen Science, Civics, and Resilient Communities (CSCRC) project designed to increase resilience to extreme weather and environmental hazards through citizen-created data, local knowledge, and community values
- 11 Partner organizations have participated in the Howtosmile IMLS-funded project designed to create an at-home activities framework and catalog representative at-home STEAM activities
- 10 Online workshops have had high attendance rates! Recordings of all past workshops are available at: https://www.nisenet.org/online-workshop-recordings
- Conference presentations were attended by many people! Presentation slides for many of these sessions are available on our website including:
- Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC): https://www.nisenet.org/astc2021
- Visitor Studies Association (VSA) https://www.nisenet.org/events/visitor-studies-association-vsa/VSA2021
- Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) Interactivity https://www.nisenet.org/ACM2021
New products featured on the nisenet.org website include:
- Browse by Theme and Topics resource collections on the nisenet.org website
- Earth & Space Learning and Content Frameworks
This content framework and learning framework are professional learning tools for informal educators engaging the public with the hands-on activities in the Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkits and the Sun, Earth, Universe exhibition.
- Working with STEM Experts guide
Professional development guide to help informal STEM educators find, prepare, and work with STEM experts to engage with the public.
- Climate Resiliency forums on drought, extreme heat, extreme precipitation, and sea level rise https://www.nisenet.org/forums
Professional development training tools to prepare educators to plan and implement sustainability projects and facilitate sustainability activities.
If you are looking for a copy of either exhibition or looking to find a new home for your copy, contact your regional hub leader and we can add you to a waiting list to match you with a copy https://www.nisenet.org/contact
- 5 Online workshops scheduled for the next six months: https://www.nisenet.org/events
- Sustainability Fellowships support museums and similar cultural organizations in their efforts to integrate sustainability into all aspects of their institution, including decision-making, operations, programs, and community partnerships; cohort E is continuing their work, and cohort F starts in 2022
- Earth & Space project-based professional learning community of 100 partner organizations participating in the NASA-funded project focusing on making Earth & Space science relevant and inclusive for their local communities
- James Webb Space Telescope first images are expected summer 2022 - NASA community event opportunities to celebrate these First Light (Early Release Observation) images; stay tuned for more opportunities to hold community events this summer
- Changing Brains will hold stakeholder meetings on a new framework for neuroethics engagement—combining public engagement and neuroethics, looking forward to new activities and programming. This work funded by the Dana Foundation, will also connect the Network with the Civic Science Fellows program. https://www.nisenet.org/brain
- Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion (DEAI) digital tools
- Build a Mars Habitat exhibit component addition to the Sun, Earth, Universe exhibition
- Destination Moon activities and new DIY mobile app (we are anticipating 350 physical toolkits to be delivered to recipients of Explore Science: Earth & Space 2020 toolkits in 2023)
- MakingWaves hands-on activities that explore radio technologies and their connections to society will be made available on nisenet.org. These activities will be attached to a larger set of digital tools created by partners including mobile apps and an in-depth camp curriculum.
- Solar Eclipse - April 8, 2024
Stay in Touch!
- Share your stories with us! Contact your regional hub leader to be featured in the newsletter and highlight the amazing work you’re doing. Check out past partner highlights for examples: https://www.nisenet.org/blog
- New to the NISE Network? Check out Getting Started https://www.nisenet.org/gettingstarted
- Face to Face! We look forward to being able to interact and see each other as health and safety conditions allow