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Newsletter: January 2020



The NISE Network had a fantastic 2019! This past year we grew our Network to include many new partners and expanded connections across the U.S. and around the world. Our strength as a Network comes from our collaboration as dedicated professionals, and our impact comes from the work we all do to engage our local communities. Thank you to everyone who participates in our community. Here are some of our favorite Network moments of 2019


Congratulations to the recipients of the Explore Science: Earth & Space 2020 toolkit

The Network is excited to announce the 350 recipients of the new Explore Science: Earth & Space 2020 physical toolkit. Physical toolkits will ship in February.  Preview the toolkit Part A contents list, browse the toolkit training videos, and check out the list of Earth & Space 2020 toolkit recipients.  

The 2020 Explore Science:  Earth and Space digital toolkit Part A is now available online for downloadThe digital toolkit includes all planning and promotional materials, hands-on activity and facilitator guides, as well as staff and volunteer training and orientation materials. Whether or not you are receiving a physical toolkit, download the digital files to preview resources, share files with collaborators or use and adapt however you wish.


NISE Network upcoming online workshops

The NISE Network hosts free online workshops as professional development opportunities for our partners, which take place Tuesdays from 2pm-3pm Eastern / 11am-12pm Pacific. View upcoming online workshops at


The Science Behind the 2020 Explore Science: Earth & Space Toolkit - 3 Part Series

This three part series of online workshops is focused on the science behind the 2020 Earth & Space Toolkit activities. After a brief overview of each activity and its resources we'll hear from a panel of content experts, including a virtual lab tour at NASA Ames Research Center that designs, builds, and tests equipment for current and future missions to space. For more information on each of these workshops and to RSVP:

The Science Behind the 2020 Explore Science: Earth and Space Toolkit – Virtual tour of a NASA mission prototyping and testing lab with special guest, George Gorospe from NASA Ames
Tuesday, February 4, 2020

2-3pm Eastern / 11am-12pm Pacific

The Science Behind the 2020 Explore Science: Earth and Space Toolkit – Using your toolkit to present the life cycle of stars
Tuesday, February 11, 2020

2-3pm Eastern / 11am-12pm Pacific

The Science Behind the 2020 Explore Science: Earth and Space Toolkit – Asteroid mining
Tuesday, March 24, 2020

2-3pm Eastern / 11am-12pm Pacific


Sustainability in Science Museums - 3 Part Series

This three part series of online workshops is aimed at supporting Network partners in engaging their staff, visitors and communities in creating a sustainable future. Participants will also learn about new NISE Network public programming resources for use in your Earth Day 2020 offerings and beyond. For more information on each of these workshops and to RSVP:

Sustainability in Museums Around the World: Working Together to Create a Sustainable Future

Tuesday, February 18
2-3pm Eastern / 11am-12pm Pacific

Sustainability and Museum Operations: Practices, Partnerships, and Resources to Help Your Organization Become More Sustainable

Tuesday, February 25
2-3pm Eastern / 11am-12pm Pacific

Sustainability and Museum Visitors: Exhibits, Programs, and Other Ways to Engage the Public
Tuesday, March 3

2-3pm Eastern / 11am-12pm Pacific


Ingram Planetarium Explores Integrating NISE Net Kits into Interactive Programs in the Dome

By Katherine Hunt, Planetarium Manager
The 2018 and 2019 Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkits, as well as the Let's Do Chemistry kit, quickly became an integral part of Ingram Planetarium's hands-on science offerings and outreach activities, however they largely remained separated from the dome program. Inspired to fully integrate a kit of activities into their dome theater, this partner highlight focuses on how Ingram created more engaging and interactive experiences in the dome for the learner, and shares their dome resources for other network partners to use and modify to meet their own planetarium needs. 

Through Hardship, Haile Planetarium Continues

By Christa Speights, Planetarium Director
Haile Planetarium is part of Northern Kentucky University and in recent years has had about 10,000 visitors per year. One recent expansion that has helped the planetarium grow is the NISE Network's Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkits, which are helping Haile get through their largest obstacle yet. In November 2019, their old equipment failed permanently forcing to the planetarium to close temporarily while the equipment is being replaced. Until Haile Planetarium reopens, they are able to continue doing astronomy outreach in the community, at schools and other community centers in the greater Cincinnati area thanks to the ready-to-use Earth & Space toolkit activities. Read the full partner highlight and watch a video demonstration of the Earth's rotation using the Observe the Sun solarscope activity


Using Your Explore Science: Earth & Space Toolkit Outdoors: Practical Advice for Collaborations and Logistical Aspects (Recorded)

In this online workshop, Network partners shared how they've incorporated Earth & Space toolkit activities into various outdoor programming. Also shared were NISE Net resources for establishing local partnerships and how they can help contribute to successful events. View the recording and resources from this 12-10-2019 online workshop.

Activity and content training videos now available online for the Explore Science: Earth & Space 2020 toolkit

Get a sneak peek at the Explore Science: Earth & Space 2020 toolkit videos before physical toolkits arrive.


Deadline extended! Apply by January 12 for opportunity to participate in national unveiling of Hubble's 30th Anniversary image

In celebration of Hubble's 30 years capturing data and stunning images, the Space Telescope Science Institute is offering a limited number of U.S. museums, science centers, planetariums, public libraries, nature centers, and more a large Hubble 30th Anniversary image banner along with accompanying interpretive materials to share with visitors during an unveiling event. Learn more about eligibility and how to apply.

New for 2020 - Make a Moon phases calendar and calculator

The Education Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has released its new Moon Phases Calendar of 2020. Download the free calendar and assemble it to see when and where to view the Moon throughout the year.

Free NASA eClips educator resources available online

NASA eClips has released some new educator resources focused on the carbon cycle; view resources. eClips are short, relevant educational video segments designed to inspire and engage students, helping them see real world connections; browse the eClips online archive.  


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



  • Black History Month / African-American History Month
  • 2/16-2/22: National Engineers Week 
  • 2/18: National Battery Day
  • 2/20: Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day

Upcoming events


Earth and Space News

Scientists find 'monster' black hole so big they didn't think it was possible
A recently discovered black hole, located within the Milky Way Galaxy 15,000 light-years from Earth and which has the mass of 70 times that of the sun, is fascinating scientists because stellar black holes this size were thought not to be able to exist within our galaxy. "Black holes are the most exotic animals in the cosmological zoo" and scientists can learn about the universe by what they consume and how they behave.

Greenland's ice losses are in line with its highest sea-level scenario
While the loss of Greenland's ice sheet is equivalent to roughly a centimeter of global sea-level rise, that increase is already affecting six million people through seasonal, annual floods. And research suggests an alarming pace of change in Earth's second largest body of ice [Greenland], which could theoretically drive more than 20 feet of sea level rise over a millennium.

Synthetic Biology News

Scientist behind first CRISPR-modified babies sentenced to prison
A Chinese researcher who announced last year the birth of twin girls, who he had performed CRISPR gene-editing on as embryos, was sentenced to three years in prison and fined. His research team was attempting to give embryos resistance to HIV, although other medical procedures already exist, but his work was met with intense controversy and backlash from scientists and ethicists worldwide. 

Nano News

Making higher energy light to fight cancer
While ultraviolet and near-infrared light haven't been fully successful in treating cancer, researchers have demonstrated that when using silicon nanocrystals and specialized organic molecules that it's possible to emit high energy light, like ultraviolet laser light, bringing scientists one step closer to developing minimally invasive photodynamic treatments for cancer.

Electroplating method makes conductive nanostraws for injecting into and sampling from cells
Hollow nanostraws are a promising tool for opening up tiny, temporary holes, which could be used to deliver gene editors into cells for immunotherapy, cutting the need to use costly viruses. Until recently, creating nanostraws was an expensive manufacturing process that required high voltage, but now researchers have developed a more affordable fabrication approach. 


    National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) Conferences

    Boston (National) Conference – April 2-5, 2020 
    STEM Forum & Expo in Louisville – July 22-24, 2020
    Learn more


    American Chemical Society (ACS) Spring 2020 National Meeting & Expo

    March 22-26, 2020
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Registration open

    Association of Children's Museums (ACM) InterActivity 2020

    May 5-8, 2020
    St. Louis, Missouri

    Learn more

    2020 American Alliance of Museums (AAM) Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo

    May 17-20, 2020
    San Francisco, California

    Register now; early bird registration ends January 24th

    American Chemical Society (ACS) Fall 2020 National Meeting & Expo  

    August 16-20, 2020
    San Francisco, California
    Learn more - abstract submission now open

    Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) 2020 Annual Conference

    October 17-20, 2020
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    Themed, New Frontiers - proposals due January 13th