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Newsletter: December 2018


Awards to be announced soon for the Explore Science: Earth & Space 2019 toolkit

This coming year the NISE Network is seeking to engage more science centers and museums, children's museums, public planetariums and observatories, and NASA visitor centers across the U.S. in the Earth & Space project, approximately 100 more. In recruiting for the 2019 Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkit, the Network is expanding from 250 to 350 sites hosting Earth and space events in 2019, and we're excited to see what partners have planned! Currently, toolkit applications are undergoing a peer review process by project representatives; applicants will be notified of their award status in mid-December with a formal announcement of awards being shared in January. 


ChemAttitudes reminder: Host site reports due December 15th

Partners who received an Explore Science: Let's Do Chemistry physical kit are required to complete an online host site report telling us about your events and how you used your kit. Your participation allows us to report back to our funders about all your great work; this report is due no later than December 15, 2018. Learn more about submitting your report



Update: Revised Mirror Molecules graphic (new carvone molecules) for the Chemistry Makes Scents activity

We owe a special thanks to one of our Network partners who alerted us to an error in how we portray the carvone molecules in the Mirror Molecules graphic shared in the Chemistry Makes Scents activity included in the Explore Science: Let's Do Chemistry kit. This graphic has been corrected in both English and Spanish and are available for download...learn more


NISE Network talks networks at International Tinkering Education Conference 2018 in Beijing, China

In late October, a representative from the NISE Network was invited to speak at the International Tinkering Education Conference (ITEC) in Beijing, China where about 200+ informal and formal science educators from across China and about a dozen international guests shared ideas, strategies, and experiences about delivering making/tinkering projects to their visitors and communities. The NISE Network was invited to present on the successful infrastructure of the Network and how that has allowed for the dissemination of STEM topics into informal science education spaces all across the US largely through the development of free, ready-to-use hands-on activity kits and professional development resources. Tinkering and making is mostly a new and unexplored avenue for Chinese informal science institutions; what better way to see tinkering spread across China than a NISE-like network creating and sharing tinkering PD. Read more about the Network's involvement at the ITEC 2018


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

New to the NISE Network? Getting familiar with Network resources, partners, projects, and events 

Tuesday, January 29, 2018; 11am-12pm Pacific / 2pm-3pm Eastern - Sign up
Are you or your organization new to the NISE Network? Or maybe you’re new to your organization but your organization isn’t new to the Network? What does being a NISE Network partner consist of and how can the NISE Network help you in your organizational role? These are great questions and Network project team members are ready to take you on a guided journey of the NISE Network and our many more


Extending Your Earth & Space Science Exhibits - Free Multimedia Resources from NASA's Universe of Learning, NASA's Eyes, and the NISE Network  (Recorded)

From web-based multimedia showcasing NASA's latest discoveries about the universe to a public visualization system that allows users to virtually ride along with NASA missions, presenters from NASA provided live demos on how to use and leverage low-cost interactive technology for Earth and space exhibits on your museum floor. NISE Network staff also showcased the new mobile website for the Sun, Earth, Universe exhibition, which allows guests to explore NASA multimedia during and after their visit. View the recording and resources from the 11-27-2018 online workshop


Integrating the NISE Net's "Let's Do Chemistry" kit into a National Chemistry Week outreach program targeted at middle school students

Dr. Roxi Smith, Skagit Valley College, Mount Vernon, WA

Every October, 40 first- and second-year undergraduate students from Skagit Valley College venture out into their local middle schools to celebrate National Chemistry Week with students. This annual outreach event is specifically targeted at a cohort of students currently enrolled in 8th grade at a middle school that is a dual-language, low-income, majority-minority and takes pride in their strong STEM programs and offers multiple courses where students can receive high school credit. And for the last three years, has held a strong partnership with the chemistry program at Skagit Valley College. As a recipient of the NISE Network's Explore Science: Let's Do Chemistry kit, and with additional funding support for their outreach activities from the Puget Sound Section of the American Chemical Society and others, Skagit Valley College's National Chemistry Week program put 40 students and five faculty into 36 middle school classrooms reaching approximately 1200 students over two days! Read the full Partner Highlight to learn more about Skagit Valley College's National Chemistry Week program and its ongoing impact


Frankenstein200 October events - Ideas from NISE Network partners across the country

By Peter Nagy and Rae Ostman, Arizona State University

The year 2018 is the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein. All year long, NISE Net partners have been celebrating Frankenstein’s “birthday” by using activities from the Frankenstein200 kit of hands-on activities, which is available for free download. In October, many Network partners used Frankenstein200 activities for spooky seasonal programs. Researchers from Arizona State University took this opportunity to visit several sites to study how museum guests think about science and responsibility and to learn more about how NISE Net partners are using the activities in the kit. Read the full Partner Highlight to see the great experiences the team observed at partner museums across the country 


Earth and Space News

NASA's Mars landing to deliver science firsts
After more than a decade in development and over a six month journey through space, NASA's InSight lander safely touched down on Monday, November 26th after an anxious six-and-a-half minute EDL (entry, decent, and landing) process. Now the work begins; InSight will sit stationary as it investigates Mar's interior with a variety of instruments, including using a seismometer listening for Marsquakes. Read about this NASA teachable moment and watch a short video documenting InSight's big day

NISE Net related programs and activities

NASA's New Horizons, the farthest exploration of worlds in history is beginning
Spend your New Year's Day celebrating with NASA as New Horizons conducts its first close-up exploration of any Kuiper Belt object and the farthest exploration of any worlds - more than 1 billion miles beyond Pluto. Read more about NASA's epic exploration

Synthetic Biology News

Next generation of biotech foods heading for grocery stores
Different technology than "genetically modified" foods, gene edited food production has the ability to provide faster breeding, boost nutrition, spur crop growth, and make farm animals hardier and crops last longer. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences has also declared gene editing one of the breakthroughs needed to improve food production worldwide amid changing climate, yet regulation and marketing of these products still have their uncertainties. Read more about the next generation of gene edited food and how they differ from genetically modified food

NISE Net related programs and activities

World's first genetically edited babies claimed in China
Amid scientist pushback, some claiming this human experimentation is a violation of scientific and ethical norms, a Chinese researcher has claimed to have altered the DNA of twin girls recently born. The goal of the gene editing, using CRISPR technology, was to deactivate a gene that makes people susceptible to HIV. Read more about this controversial research

Hear from a Northeastern ethicist, who also provided input on the development of the NISE Network's human genome editing forum, about why people are so upset about these genetically modified babies.

NISE Net related programs and activities


Chemistry News

3-D printing can construct batteries in novel shapes
Materials scientists have combined 3-D printing and other technologies to make batteries in arbitrary shapes so that batteries can be designed around the electronics they will power (e.g., hearing aids), not vice versa. Scientists involved in the research say it's hard to predict what designers will make when freed from the constraints of conventional batteries...but imagines niche applications such as personalized, wearable, and implantable medical devices. Read more about customizable batteries

How do snowflakes form?
Did you know that a snowflake starts as a dust grain floating in a cloud where air sticks to it, resulting in a droplet that turns directly into ice. Watch this American Chemical Society's Reaction video to learn how snowflakes form

NISE Net related programs and activities


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.


Snow and Snowflakes

12/3-12/9: Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) and Hour of Code
More computer science resources available on the NISE Network Seasonal Events page

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

January 2019

Spend your New Year's Day with NASA celebrating New Horizons farthest exploration in history

  • Learn more about New Horizons fly-by of Ultima Thule:
  • NASA Museum Alliance members are invited to help celebrate with your audiences using free resources; apply now

1/1: Predictions for the New Year

1/5: National Bird Dayexplore the NISE Net website by topic: Life Sciences - Animals
1/9: National Static Electricity Day

1/20: Total lunar eclipse 
Viewers in North and South America, as well as those in western parts of Europe and Africa, will be able to watch one of the sky's most dazzling shows on Jan. 21, 2019, when the Sun, Earth and Moon align at 9:12 p.m. PST, creating a total lunar eclipse. Learn more

Planning ahead for 2019
Summer: A Universe of Stories 2019 Summer Learning Program (nationwide)
Year-long events: 


American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2019 Annual Meeting

February 14 - 17, 2019; Washington, DC
Meeting theme is Science Transcending Boundaries. Early registration now open for AAAS 2019

American Chemical Society (ACS) 2019 National Meeting 

March 31 - April 4, 2019; Orlando, FL
Explore the meeting theme Chemistry for New Frontiers. Registration opens December 10th

Association of Children's Museums (ACM) Interactivity 2019

May 8 - 11, 2019; Denver CO
Conference theme is FearLESS. Learn more about ACM 2019

Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) 2019 Annual Conference

September 21 - 24, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Explore next year's theme, Moonshots: Rendezvous with the Future. Proposals due December 20th