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Newsletter: December 2021

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DECEMBER 2021     


NOAA Climate Hazard Resilience heat forum with people sitting around tables talking

Climate hazard resilience forums designed to foster public conversations now available

This set of deliberative public forum programs focused on climate resilience has been designed to promote public conversations about resilience planning about four natural hazards (heat waves, sea level rise, extreme precipitation, and drought). Recently a group of over twenty museums and science centers across the country has implemented these forums with local audiences nationwide in a mix of in-person and virtual formats. These materials are now available for anyone to use.

Climate Hazard Resilience Forums:

Learn more about the Citizen Science, Civics, and Resilient Communities (CSCRC) project led by the Museum of Science, Boston in partnership with Arizona State University, Northeastern University, SciStarter, and NISE Network.


Online Workshop: Increasing Community Resilience to Extreme Weather and Environmental Hazards - The Citizen Science, Civics, and Resilient Communities (CSCRC) Project 

February 15, 2022, Tuesday, 2pm-3pm Eastern
The CSCRC Project aims to engage the public in active learning and resilience planning around heat waves, sea level rise, extreme precipitation, and drought. In this online workshop we will hear from the core project team as well as select NISE Network partners who participated about their work and ways you too can engage communities in this content.
Learn more and register

Online Workshop: Working with STEM Experts - If Only There Was A Guide... Now There Is

March 1, 2022, Tuesday, 2pm-3pm Eastern
Community engagement is always better when the community can see themselves in those engaging with them. Though knowing where to find expertise in your community can sometimes be challenging. In this online workshop, we will explore the NISE Network’s “Working with STEM Experts” Guide and discuss strategies for successfully utilizing the valuable expertise in your community.
Learn more and register



Storming the Castle

A Mammoth Production - Storming the Castle Museum Theater Script Now Available for Download

During the NISE Network’s Building with Biology project, the Science Museum of Minnesota developed a stage presentation called “Storming the Castle.” In this museum theater show, audiences learned about synthetic biology in the melodramatic setting of an early 1900’s mad scientist lab. The program invited audiences into the world of the Doctor who is experimenting with synthetic biology and the Villager who comes ready to storm the castle with questions and concerns about this new field of study. As hilarity ensues, so does a thoughtful conversation. Learn more and download the program script to use with your audience



Moon Adventure Game Gets Twitch Treatment in Durham, NC

Moon Adventrue Game Twitch

About a year since its release, and after months of play by elementary and middle schoolers on the floor at the Museum of Life and Science, the Moon Adventure Game underwent a new kind of test: a trial run featuring experienced escape room designers streamed live for the public on Twitch. Led by a museum educator, librarians from NC State University played the game and then had a lively discussion about game design, learning through games, pedagogy, and common visions for how games might be useful between informal learning spaces. Read more

A girl creates a chemical reaction in a plastic bottle to make a white balloon, that looks like a ghost, expand.




Spooky Science at the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center in Honolulu
Aloha! The Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center is known for welcoming visitors from near and far. Although 2021 has been challenging, this did not deter our amazing team to continue with our mission to be a world-class learning environment that is filled with hands-on, interactive exhibits that empower and inspire children to learn about themselves and the world through exploration and play. Read more




James Webb Space Telescope resources
The James Webb Space Telescope launch is now currently scheduled for a December 22, 2021. Learn more and review resources for engaging the public in this event:


New Professional Development Resources from the Let’s Do Chemistry Train-the-Trainer Workshop
The Let's Do Chemistry Train-the-Trainer Online Workshops were held in fall of 2020 and winter of 2021. The modules share information about activity content, format, and facilitation techniques to make chemistry outreach activities better at stimulating interest, a sense of relevance, and feelings of self-efficacy in public participants. Two new videos were just added to these resources in response to workshop participants’ request for this type of tool to use in training. Learn more about the Train-the-Trainer resources and check out these two new facilitation techniques videos: 


Recorded NISE Network online workshops
View the recordings and resources from recent NISE Net online workshops:


Funding Opportunity - NASA’s Universe of Learning - Applications due December 16, 2021 
NASA’s Universe of Learning is offering a round of competitive funding to Smithsonian Affiliates and ASTC members to support expanding opportunities to communities traditionally underserved in STEM and STEAM programming. Applications are due December 16. Learn more


NASA Artemis I Public and STEM Engagement Partnership Meeting, Wednesday, January 19, 2022 
Registration is now open for a hybrid (virtual and in-person) meeting designed for public engagement and education institutions. The meeting will feature remarks from NASA senior leaders, a mission overview, and examples of Artemis-focused collaborations and activities. Learn more

Futures Posters
A set of  "Future Visions 2071” posters portraying an imaginative future are now available for free download. The posters were created through a collaboration with experts from the Smithsonian Institution, Arizona State University, science fiction authors Tochi Onyebuchi and Madeline Ashby, and illustrator Brian Miller


NASA GLOBE Cloud Challenge 2022: Clouds in a Changing Climate, January 15 - February 15, 2022
Did you know that clouds can both warm and cool our planet? Keeping an eye on clouds helps NASA study our climate. The NASA GLOBE Program invites you to take part in the upcoming Cloud Challenge: “Clouds in a Changing Climate.”  


COVID-19 Coronavirus and Vaccine Resources
NISE Network continues to compile resources as the situation with the COVID-19 Coronavirus and Vaccines continues to evolve:  


The NISE Network hosts free online workshops as professional development opportunities for our partners to share with and learn from each other.

Online workshops take place on Tuesdays at
2pm-3pm Eastern
View upcoming online workshops at


February 15, 2022

2pm-3pm Eastern
Increasing Community Resilience to Extreme Weather and Environmental Hazards - The Citizen Science, Civics, and Resilient Communities (CSCRC) Project 
Learn more and register


March 1, 2022

2pm-3pm Eastern
Working with STEM Experts - If Only There Was A Guide... Now There Is!
Learn more and register



After intense negotiations, world leaders at the UN Climate Change (COP26) summit in Glasgow agreed to plans to reduce emissions that transition away from fossil fuels. Many felt the agreement did not go far enough and were disheartened by the weakening of language to “phase down” instead of “phase out” fossil fuel. Based on what countries are currently doing on the ground, the world is headed toward 2.7 degrees Celsius of warming, or almost 5 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. 

Read a summary of the agreements from NPR

NISE Network resources: 

Climate Change resources


Landsat 9 Sends First Batch of Images to Earth 
Landsat 9, a satellite built to monitor the Earth’s land surface, has collected its first images of our planet’s surface. Landsat images will improve our understanding of the impacts of climate change and help us make science-based decisions on key issues including water use, wildfire impacts, coral reef degradation, glacier and ice-shelf retreat, and tropical deforestation. Landsat 9 can detect visible, near-infrared, and shortwave-infrared light in nine wavelengths, as well as a thermal infrared sensor to measure Earth’s surface temperatures. 

NASA resources:

Landsat 9 first images 

50 years of Landsat missions

NISE Network resources: 

Exploring Earth: Land Cover activity 

Exploring Earth: Investigating Clouds activity 



Flying Microchips The Size Of A Sand Grain Could Be Used For Surveillance
It's neither a bird nor a plane, but a winged microchip as small as a grain of sand that can be carried by the wind as it monitors such things as pollution levels or the spread of airborne diseases. 
Read more

NISE Network resources: 
• Shrinking Robots! stage program

• Robots and People program

• Is That Robot Real? children's book and poster

• Privacy, Civil Liberties, and Nanotechnology forum



Using microbes to make carbon-neutral fuel
Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have discovered a new way to train microbes to make a readily usable biofuel (n-butanol), a carbon-neutral fuel alternative that can be used in blends with diesel or gasoline.

Read More

NISE Network resources:

• Building with Biology kit

Wind and solar could power the world’s major countries most of the time
With the eyes of the world on the United Nations COP26 climate summit, a recent study examined the reliability of renewable systems to meet electricity demands. The researchers found that wind and solar power could provide about 85 percent of the total electricity demand of the United States, and that amount could also be improved by adding batteries and other storage.

Read More

NISE Network resources:
• Climate Change resources

• Tiny Solutions to Our Big Energy Problem 

• Energy Challenges, Nanotech Solutions? forum


Scientists map neurological patterns of complex thought
Researchers at Dartmouth University have found that when engaging in complex thought, neural networks spontaneously organize in beautiful fractal-like patterns that become disorganized when complex thought is disturbed.
 Read more

NISE Network resources:
• Changing Brains initiative


Discover activity ideas for incorporating current science, engineering, and technology content into events, special programming, holidays, and seasonal activities by visiting:  




  • ASTC Conference, September 12-15, 2022, Pittsburgh 
    Call for session proposals: Proposals due January 24, 2022

    Learn more
  • Visitor Studies Association Conference, July 12-14, 2022, Omaha
    Call for session proposals: Proposals due January 7, 2022

    Learn more
  • CAISE conference calendar
    Learn more
  • National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) Conferences
    Learn more