NISE Network Blog

Building with Biology highlights public engagement activities about synthetic biology at AAAS 2017 Conference

By: Building with Biology Project Team

By now, terms such as genetically-engineered or genetically-modified, synthetic biology, and even CRISPR are likely more familiar to you than they were five years ago. Gene-editing has become a scientific breakthrough and topic of popularity both in research and in mainstream media as new advances are being made in curing cancer,...


Joseph Moore Museum logo

Partner Highlight: Building with Biology at the Joseph Moore Museum of Natural History at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana

By: Lydia Evans, Joseph Moore Museum

Synthetic or real vanilla—which tastes better? Guests at the Joseph Moore Museum’s, a community museum at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, Building with Biology event had the opportunity to decide for themselves while learning about bioengineered food at the Bio Bistro station. After tasting cookies baked with synthetic or real vanilla, guests voted for their favorite. More opportunities to explore and discuss synthetic biology awaited inside the museum where students and faculty set out to engage public and scientists in questions of bioengineering. 


Port Discovery Children's Museum

Partner Highlight: Zoom into Nano: Bringing Nano to a New Audience in Towson, Maryland

By: Sarah Zimmerman, Port Discovery Children's Museum

Port Discovery Children’s Museum in Baltimore is committed to providing educational programming to children of all socio-economic backgrounds across Maryland. The Museum and Community Partnerships Explore Science: Zoom into Nano kit was the perfect opportunity for the museum to reach a new audience - the faith based community. The museum partnered with Babcock Presbyterian Church A+ Care in Towson, Maryland, providing a five week after school program, free of charge, all about nanoscience to 28 students in Kindergarten through 5th grade.


2017 Explore Science: Earth & Space Toolkit

Please check your 2017 Explore Science: Earth & Space physical toolkits!

KC Miller, Science Museum of Minnesota

All the 2017 Explore Science: Earth & Space physical toolkits should now be delivered!

As you begin your preparations for your Explore Science: Earth & Space events this spring, we encourage you to go through each activity box sooner rather than later.

The list of everything that should be in the toolkits is available here:

We have had a few reports of missing items and spillages, so it would be good to know what you need to replace, instead of waiting...


Thank you to partners video screenshot

Thank You to Partners Involved in the Nano Project!

By Larry Bell, Museum of Science

February 2017 is the final month of NSF funding for the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network, which would prompt a sort-of sad note if we didn’t have so many projects going on under the umbrella of the National Informal STEM Education Network.  For many of us, the nano project was unlike anything we had experienced before, stretching over 11½ years and involving over 600 institutional partners and 2,700 individuals from museums, universities, and a range of other organizations. 


Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkit packing in warehouse

Physical 2017 Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkits have shipped out!

Catherine McCarthy, Science Museum of Minnesota

The National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE Net) Explore Science: Earth & Space 2017 physical toolkit have shipped out to 250 institutions nationwide!

A total of 250 toolkits have been awarded to eligible organizations through a competitive application process. Eligible organizations include children’s museums, science centers, science museums, public planetariums and observatories, and NASA visitor centers located in the US.


Sci-Port Discovery Center

Partner Highlight: Explore Science and Bars without Barriers in Shreveport, Louisiana

By: Alan Brown, Sci-Port Discovery Center

In July 2015, with funding from the Beaird Family Foundation, Sci-Port Discovery Center began a joint venture with the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Workforce Re-entry Facility. While that re-entry program provides job training and skills, our Bars without Barriers program provides training on Informal Science Education techniques and activities in order to serve two primary goals. First, we want to raise awareness of the importance of STEM education because we work from the assumption that the offenders’ children will someday engineer the spaceships expected to carry our children to Mars. Second, whether those children grow up to be doctors, engineers, artists or athletes, those children will be better people if their parents are involved in their lives, and the STEM activities and communication skills we teach can help those offenders rebuild whatever bonds may have been strained by their years of incarceration.


Explore Science: Earth & Space logo

Digital 2017 Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkit now available for download

Catherine McCarthy, Science Museum of Minnesota

The National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE Net) Explore Science: Earth & Space 2017 digital toolkit is now available for download.

In collaboration with NASA, the NISE Network has assembled a new set of engaging, hands-on Earth and space science experiences with connections to science, technology, and society.  


Temple Beth Zion Beth Isreal

Building with Biology at Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel in Philadelphia, PA

By: Spencer Glantz, University of Pennsylvania

Over the last few years, Spencer Glantz, a bioengineering PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania, has helped to grow and advise the Penn iGEM team, worked with museum educators at The Franklin Institute to develop prototype activities for Building with Biology, and volunteered at the Institute’s public Building with Biology event in summer 2016. These experiences prepared him to start his own partnership with a youth group at his synagogue, Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel (BZBI), to develop a program about the field of synthetic biology. Teenagers ranging in age from 7th - 12th grade...


BosLab Building with Biology event

Partner Highlight: BosLab hosts first Building with Biology event in Somerville, Massachusetts

By: Angela Kaczmarczyk and Jennifer Clifford, BosLab

Boston Open Science Laboratory (BosLab) is a community lab located in Somerville, Massachusetts dedicated to science outreach and offers educational seminars, workshops, and hands-on molecular biology classes for the public. In September 2016, we held two Building with Biology events: a hands-on activity and public forum event. As a community lab, we were excited to join universities, museums, and other educational organizations nationwide in this public engagement project focused on synthetic biology.