NISE Network Blog

New logo unveiled for National Informal STEM Education Network!

Catherine McCarthy, Science Museum of Minnesota

We are pleased to introduce a new logo for the National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE Network). As the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network transitions to the National Informal STEM Education Network we will begin using this logo to communicate the new identity of the Network now engaged in a range of STEM topics.  Over the coming months you will increasingly see the new logo, though we will continue to use the existing NISE Net logo with nano-related materials and activities as the nano project winds down.


Building with Biology

Building with Biology 2016 Physical Kit Recipients Have Been Selected!

Kayla Berry, Museum of Science

Congratulations to the recipients of the Building with Biology 2016 physical kit! Building with Biology is one of several projects that extends the Network into the its new identity as the National Informal STEM Education Network by addressing new content areas, such as synthetic biology. This project also focuses on fostering public engagement in science by having scientist volunteers interact and have discussions with the public through hands-on activities and forums. Building with Biology physical kits have been awarded to over 150 organizations across the U.S. who participated in Summer 2016 Building with Biology Events. 


KidsQuest Children's Museum

Partner Highlight: Science in the Park - KidsQuest Children's Museum in Bellevue, Washington

Nicole Frymier, KidsQuest Children's Museum

Getting ready for the summer of 2015, KidsQuest Children’s Museum in Bellevue, Washington was looking for more ways to increase community access to our education programs. After a decade of serving our community, we know that Bellevue families like to be outside in the summer, so we looked to parks! Thanks to a mini-grant from NISE Network we were able to send our educators to different parks in the community with free hands-on nano science activities for families in the community.



Building with Biology

Evaluation Findings from Building with Biology Pilot Events

Katie Todd and Elizabeth Kollmann, Museum of Science

In the summer of 2015, Building with Biology held eight pilot events which fostered Public Engagement with Science (PES) about synthetic biology by having scientist volunteers interact and have discussions with the public through forums and events featuring hands-on activities. The events took place at Arizona Science Center, Chabot Space and Science Center, Museum of Life and Science, Museum of Science, Boston, New York Hall of Science, Pacific Science Center, Science Museum of Minnesota, and Sciencenter. Each of these sites helped evaluators gather data that describe the impacts of the Building with Biology pilot events and inform changes for summer 2016 events nationwide.


Image of child standing in front of a poster reading "High Five for the Future"

Sustainability Solutions Festival Family Day

Rae Ostman

On February 16, Arizona State University's Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives hosted its third annual Sustainability Solutions Festival Family Day at Arizona Science Center. During this event, prototype activities from the sustainABLE hands-on activity kit were tested. The kits are being created through a partnership of ASU’s Sustainability in Science Museums program and the NISE Network, and are designed to engage audiences of all ages in sustainability science. 


Larry Bell at the CAISE 2016 Meeting

Posters and Sessions at the NSF AISL 2016 CAISE Meeting

Catherine McCarthy

We recently had several posters and presentations at the Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE) 2016 National Science Foundation (NSF) Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) Program Principal Investigator (PI) Meeting in Bethesda, Maryland.

Slides, posters, and notes from the meeting are being made available on the CAISE website: 


NanoDays 2015

NanoDays Public Reach: How Even the Smallest Partner Contributions Lead to Big Network Impacts

Kayla Berry and Elizabeth Kollman, Museum of Science; Gina Svarovsky, University of Notre Dame

Since its inception in 2005, the NISE Network has developed a wide range of activities, programs, and exhibits for public audiences that have been implemented within over 500 institutions across the country. Two of the Network’s largest educational products are NanoDays and the Nano Exhibition. Understanding the expansive public reach of the Network has long been a focus for the NISE Network Evaluation Team. Recently, the NISE Net Evaluation Team summarized the results of this work in the Public Reach Estimations for the NISE Network Summative Evaluation Report, where it is stated that through events and kit material use throughout the year, NanoDays is estimated to have reached over 7.1 million people from 2008 – 2015. Since 2014, the Evaluation Team estimates that this translates into an annual reach of over 1 million people annually. But wait, there’s more!


Explore Science - Zoom into Nano kits being prepared for shipment

Museum & Community Partnerships Explore Science - Zoom into Nano kits shipping out

KC Miller

Museum & Community Partnerships Explore Science - Zoom into Nano kits shipping to 100 NISE Network partners!


Digital Materials Now Available
If you are not receiving a physical Explore Science kit, we do have the kit materials and collaborative guide available online.

Enjoy your kits and your new partnerships! 

 Learn more about the Museum & Community Partnerships project:


Carbon Nanotube, Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum

Carbon Bonds: Clarifying Confusion with the “Build a Giant Carbon Nanotube” model in the Nano mini-exhibition

Christina Leavell

Photo provided by Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum in Ann Arbor, MI

We have received questions asking why there aren't four bonds for each carbon atom in the "Build a Giant Carbon Nanotube" component of the Nano mini-exhibition. Catherine McCarthy, Project Leader for the NISE Network, and Keith Ostfeld, Director of Educational Technology and Exhibit Development at the Children’s Museum of Houston, offer some clarity and insights into these inquiries…

It’s true that carbon atoms have four bonding sites, but carbon is very flexible in how it bonds. Carbon has the...


Port Discovery logo

Partner Highlight: Museum on the Move: Traveling Nano Exhibition to Reach a New Audience in Maryland

Sarah Zimmerman, Port Discovery Children’s Museum

Nanoscience and technology were found in an unlikely location when Port Discovery Children's Museum partnered with The James and Anne Robinson Nature Center in Columbia, Maryland.  Part of Port Discovery’s mission states that we “extend our impact by taking our programs community and state wide”.  Museum on the Move, the museum’s newest outreach initiative, does just that. The Robinson Nature Center was chosen as the pilot location because of their existing relationship with the museum and unique venue.  The Nano mini-exhibition has been displayed at countless science centers and children’s museums, but never a nature center.  Port Discovery and Robinson were excited to bring a unique topic to the nature center.