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Newsletter: February 2018


NISE Net's 2018 Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkits have shipped

In collaboration with NASA, the NISE Network has assembled a NEW set of engaging, hands-on Earth and space science experiences and the newest 2018 toolkits have shipped and are on their way to 250 partners across the U.S., from Alaska to Puerto Rico. Each toolkit features 10 hands-on activities with science connections to science, technology, and society, event planning guides and marketing materials, and training materials and guides. Read the full blog post to see the fabrication process in action and learn more about toolkit resources available to you

2018 Explore Science: Earth & Space digital toolkit now available online

Don't worry if you didn't receive the physical 2018 Explore Science: Earth and Space toolkit because all the materials and resources are available online, free to download. Using NASA Wavelength, NISE Net has also created a list of extension activities, media, and professional development resources directly relevant to users of the digital kit. Read more to find out where to download the 2018 (and 2017) digital toolkit and additional NASA Wavelength resources

Application for a free copy of Sun, Earth, Universe exhibition is now open!

In collaboration with NASA, the NISE Network is pleased to offer institutions the opportunity to apply for a free Sun, Earth, Universe exhibition, which is an engaging and interactive museum exhibition about Earth and space science for family audiences. Fifty (50) identical copies of the exhibition will be fabricated and distributed to eligible NISE Network partners through a competitive application process. Applications are due May 1, 2018. Learn more about eligibility and how to apply


Frankenstein200 comes to life!

What imagery does the word Frankenstein conjure up for you? Is it electrified labs, mysterious creatures, and doctors conducting wild experiments? Or modern-day start-ups where scientists are creating technologies with far reaching impacts on humanity? Frankenstein200 combines hands-on activities, at-home DIY challenges, and an online story-game that prepares tomorrow's scientists and engineers to create AND be responsible. Read more about the Frankenstein200 project, the online Alternate Reality Game, and to see how NISE Net partners are participating in the project

Did you see The Washington Post article, "Frankenstein game teaches kids about Science," that highlights the Frankenstein200 project and the online Alternate Reality Game.


Announcing the Building with Biology "Editing Our Evolution" forum and stipend recipients!

Thanks to supplemental funding from the National Science Foundation, the Building with Biology project team has created a new forum on the topic of human gene editing. Learn about the content, goals, and plans for this forum, which will be presented at 28 sites around the U.S. this spring and summer, and will be available for free download in May 2018.” Read more about the newest 2018 Building with Biology forum and see the list of the forum and stipend recipients

Join the NISE Network in celebrating NanoDays 2018

Join partners from across the U.S. in hosting NanoDays 2018 events between March 31st and April 8th. Search NISE Net's online archive of all NanoDays digital kits and resources at Don't forget to share your NanoDays events with the Network online by tagging us: #nisenet #nanodays


Measuring the impact of nanotechnology informal education

While presenting at the recent 2017 National Science Foundation Nanoscale Science and Engineering Grantees Conference, Liz Kunz Kollmann, Senior Project Manager for Research and Evaluation at the Museum of Science in Boston, who led the multi-institutional research and evaluation team for the Nanoscale Informal Science Education (NISE) Network, sat down with the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) to talk about assessing the impact of the Network and helping people to increase their understanding of nanotechnology through hands-on programming and museum exhibits. Listen to the NNI audio interview 


Upcoming online workshops: Staying connected to the Network and community

NISE Network runs a series of free online workshops to increase the number of professional development opportunities available to our partners, and to create more channels for partners to share their work and learn from each other directly. View full details for upcoming online workshops at


The Science Behind the 2018 Explore Science: Earth & Space Toolkit - Exploring Earth and the Solar System
Tuesday, February 27, 2018; 11am-12pm Pacific / 2pm-3pm Eastern - Sign up now
This online presentation and discussion will cover the science behind four of the 2018 Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkit activities - Magnetic Fields, Craters, Paper Mountains, and Stomp Rockets. After a brief overview of each activity, our guest presenter, space scientist and educator, will lead a discussion about NASA missions and research exploring phenomena shared by Earth and other planets in the solar system. 

The Science Behind the 2018 Explore Science: Earth & Space Toolkit - Looking Beyond the Solar System 
Tuesday, March 13, 2018; 11am-12pm Pacific / 2pm-3pm Eastern - Sign up now

This online presentation and discussion will cover the science behind three of the 2018 Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkit activities - Pack a Space Telescope, Exoplanet Transits, and Objects in Motion. After a brief overview of each activity, our guest presenter, an astrophysicist and science educator, will lead a discussion of how NASA scientists use advanced space-based telescopes and the laws of physics to make discoveries about astonomical objects beyond the solar system. 

NGSS and the Explore Science: Earth & Space Toolkit - Connecting Your Toolkit to Field Trips and K-12 Programs
Tuesday, March 20, 2018; 11am-12pm Pacific / 2pm-3pm Eastern - Sign up now



Online Workshop: What's in Your 2018  Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkit (Recorded)

Presented by NISE Net team members, this workshop provides an overview for each of the 10 hands-on activities and additional professional development resources provided in the 2018 Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkit. View the recording and resources from the 2-6-2018 online workshop


Online Workshop: Museum Community Partnerships - Part 3: Working with the Solar System Ambassadors and Night Sky Network (Recorded)

NISE Net partners share their experiences collaborating with NASA's Solar System Ambassadors and Night Sky Network for Earth and space events, long programming, and for public outreach events. Hear how partnering with local astronomy experts and enthusiasts has provided richer public engagement experiences for museum staff and public visitors alike. View the recording and resources from the 1-23-2018 online workshop

NISE Network General Overview PowerPoint Presentation Slides

The newest edition of NISE Network's Overview Presentation is available online to download, which is a great resource for partners to use for their own presentations. The PowerPoint covers a general overview of the Network, partners, projects, products, and impacts. View and download presentation


A Tale of the Twin Cities and Frankenstein

By Christina Leavell, Science Museum of Minnesota

January 2018 marked the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's creation of science fiction, and the creature that has become a "living" legend, Frankenstein. There are countless retellings of the original story, and the image of the monster is alive and well today in toys and TV to name a few, but what is the science behind this tale and the relevant connections to responsible innovation that still resonates today? The Bakken Museum and the Science Museum of Minnesota were on a mission to tell this part of Shelley's timeless tale. Using their Frankenstein200 kit, both institutions recently held hands-on events that highlighted scientific experiments and emerging technologies of Shelley's time that still have us asking the same scientific questions today: What is life? Why do we create? What are our responsibilities as creators, scientists, and engineers? Read the full Partner Highlight to learn more about these Frankenstein events and the publics' enthusiasm around this topic, including interviews with local news


Earth and Space News

Incredible "Hypatia" stone contains compounds not found in the solar system
The Hypatia stone was found in 1996 in western Egypt and was originally believed to be the first sample of a comet nucleus. However, a new study led by geologists at the University of Johannesburg found that the compounds in the stone are unlike anything discovered in the solar system, which "cast significant questions on widely-held view about the primitive pre-solar dust cloud which our Sun, Earth and other planets were formed from." Read full article about they mysterious Hypatia stone and its unknown origins. Also view the University of Johannesburg press release about study findings

NASA's Night Sky Network - What's up for February 2018
Learn about the astronomical events taking place this month

NASA's Museum Alliance resources - Human Exploration & Operations 2018
This year-long series of monthly topics will focus on extending human presence in the solar system and include outreach materials that can be used in your organization's programs and exhibits. February: A Year of Education on Station

Chemistry News

American Chemical Society's Reactions Video: How Do Hand Sanitizers Work?
The label says "Kills 99.9% of Germs" but is it true? This video takes a closer look at the chemistry of sanitizer and how effective it really is against viruses and bacteria. 

Nano News

National Science Foundation's "Nanotechnology: Super Small Science"
This six-part short video series that explains how something so small can be so important, and used as building blocks to create future technology.
View NSF video series 


Discover activity ideas for incorporating current science, engineering, and technology content into events, special programming, holidays, and seasonal activities by visiting Check out upcoming opportunities below.


Black History Month / African-American History Month - celebrate people in STEM

Valentine's Day (February 14)

Great Backyard Bird County (February 16-19)

National Engineers Week (February 18-24)

Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day (February 22) 


American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2018 Annual Meeting

February 14 - 18, 2018: Austin, TX
The 2018 theme "Advancing Science: Discovery to Application" highlights the critical roles of academia, government and industry in moving ideas into innovations.

American Alliance of Museums (AAM) 2018 Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo

May 6 - 9, 2018: Phoenix, AZ
"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." Join the
 AAM 2018 Meeting & MuseumExpo to explore the many ways museums serve as hubs of community activation and learning.

Association of Children's Museum (ACM) Interactivity 2018

May 15 - 18, 2018: Raleigh, NC
This year's theme is "Open Source Play, Sharing the Creative Code."
 Learn more about ACM 2018

Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) Annual Conference 2018

September 29 - October 2, 2018; Hartford, CT
Learn more about ASTC 2018

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