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Newsletter: February 2019


Explore Science: Earth & Space 2019 toolkits shipping late February

The newest Explore Science: Earth & Space 2019 toolkit is shipping out at the end of February to 350 partners across the country to host hands-on Earth & space public events between March and May. To get familiar with the activities before your toolkit arrives, check out the activity and content training videos. If you are not a recipient of the physical toolkit, the digital kit will be available online to download late-February. 


NISE Network Earth & Space Partner Meeting 2019

The NISE Network's Space and Earth Informal STEM Education project is working to raise the capacity of museums and informal science educators to engage the public in Heliophysics, Earth Science, Planetary Science, and Astrophysics, and their social dimensions through the development of hands-on activity toolkits, small footprint exhibitions, and professional development opportunities. As part of these efforts, the Network is hosting an invitation-only partner meeting in Tempe, Arizona mid-February that will bring together informal science educators and collaborators from organizations all over the country involved in the project. Meeting presentations and resources will be made available online to all Network partners following the meeting 


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 2019 Explore Science: Earth & Space Toolkit - Exploring Earth and Our Solar System

Tuesday, February 26, 2019; 11am-12pm Pacific / 2pm-3pm Eastern - Sign up
This online presentation and discussion covers the science behind the 2019 Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkit activities - Land Cover, Temperature Mapping, and Observe the Sun. After a brief overview of each activity and its materials, our guest presenter will lead a discussion about NASA missions and research more

The Science Behind the 2019 Explore Science: Earth & Space Toolkit - Exploring the Universe

Tuesday, March 12, 2019; 11am-12pm Pacific / 2pm-3pm Eastern - Sign up
This online presentation and discussion will cover the science behind the 2019 Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkit activities - Expanding Universe, Space Guess Quest, and Static Electricity. After a brief overview of each activity and its materials, our guest presenter will faciltiate a discussion of NASA missions more


Time to pull those kits out for NanoDays: March 30 - April 7

NanoDays is an annual, nationwide festival of educational programs about nanoscale science, engineering and technology and their impact on society. Browse the NISE Network online archive of NanoDays kits (2008-1015), training materials, and marketing resources at


Chemists Celebrate Earth Week (CCEW) takes place nationwide April 21-27

Chemists Celebrate Earth Week is a community-based program of the American Chemical Society (ACS) whose annual CCEW program unites local ACS local sections, student chapters, technical divisions, businesses, schools, and other professionals to communicate the positive role that chemistry plays in the world. This year's theme is "Take Note: The Chemistry of Paper" and is a great opportunity for NISE Network partners to use the Explore Science: Let's Do Chemistry kit and reconnect with ACS and chemistry collaborators for CCEW events at your own organizations or in your community. Read more about CCEW, download resources, and see a list of NISE Net and other activities connected to this year's "Chemistry of Paper" theme


Sun, Earth, Universe exhibition host resources now available online

The Sun, Earth, Universe exhibition host resources are now available for download online. These resources include tech manual, educator guide, promotional and marketing materials, signage, and much more. Download exhibition host resources


Online Workshop: New to the NISE Network? Getting familiar with Network resources, partners, projects and events (Recorded)

For organizations or partners new to the NISE Network, this online workshop provided a short overview of the NISE Network, it's structure, and a peek at the activities included in the newest Explore Science: Earth & Space 2019 toolkit. Three long-standing Network partners also shared about their experiences using various NISE Network kits for a wide variety of programming at their organizations from camps to science communication fellowship programs. View the recording and resources from the 1-29-2019 online workshop


A journey through chemistry from Pierre, South Dakota to the ocean to outer space

By Rhea Waldman, SD Discovery Center

What does Central South Dakota have to do with the Ocean and Outer Space? Knowing how everything is connected is essential to understand our changing world, and so is empowering kids to realize everyone can make an impact – no matter where you come from. At the SD Discovery Center in Pierre, South Dakota, we took advantage of an early release day in our school district and took 240 visitors on a journey from Pierre to the ocean to outer space to explore connections through chemistry. Using the NISE Network's Explore Science: Let's Do Chemistry and Earth and Space toolkits, volunteers took visitors on a guided journey of chemistry, learning together, and having fun. Read the full Partner Highlight for more about how NISE Network resources help science centers provide new experiences and learning opportunities to communities, particularly in rural areas


Earth and Space News

Ocean warming is accelerating faster than thought

A new analysis published in the journal Science found that oceans are heating up 40 percent faster on average than a United Nations panel estimated five years ago. Surging water temperatures are already killing off marine ecosystems, raising sea levels and making hurricanes more destructive. Read more about ocean warming

Planetary Defense: The Bennu experiment

NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft traveled billions of miles to reach its target, the asteroid Bennu where it has landed and will spend the next two years collecting samples to deliver back to Earth for further analysis. Studying Bennu will allow scientists to better predict which asteroids might be on a crash-course with Earth. Read more about planetary defense


Chemistry News

American Chemical Society's Reactions Video Citrus Scent Debunked

Mistakes happen from time to time; what's important is to clear those misconceptions up. Watch the Reactions video that sets the record straight on Limonene, a molecule present in both lemons and oranges and responsible for its citrusy aroma. 

Relevant NISE Network programs


Nano News

Researchers invent method to shrink objects to the nanoscale

Using a new technique, researchers can create any shape and structure they want by patterning a polymer scaffold with a laser. After attaching other useful materials to the scaffold, they shrink it, generating structures one thousandth the volume of the original. Read more about shrinking materials to the nanoscale


NISE Network members are eligible to enter the 2019 Quantum Matters™ Hands-on Science Communication Competition - entries due March 1st

NanoDays is taking a Quantum Leap this year at the Museum of Science in Boston, which has rebranded its NanoDays event to reflect that many of its university research center partners have leapt into an even smaller and more mysterious world: the realm of atoms and subatomic particles, ruled by the laws of quantum mechanics. This year the Museum is also launching a national Quantum Matters™ Science Communication Competition with a 3-minute Talk Competition for researchers and a Hands-on Competition which all quantum enthusiasts including informal science educators can enter; entries due March 1st. Learn more about both competitions and how to apply

Science Friday provides award-winning resources for teachers and informal educators

Explore Science Friday's Educate resources for free STEM activities, lessons, and resources for learners; search by grade level or topic, including Earth science, space, physics and chemistry, biology, nature, technology and engineering, and much more. These are just a few activities that you may find of interest: 


New book, Films from the Future: The Technology and Morality of Sci-Fi Movies

In his book, Andrew Maynard, professor in Arizona State University's School for the Future of Innovation in Society, discusses examples of how humans are pushing the boundaries of innovation in pursuit of scientific advancement and profit through the lens of film. Learn more about responsible innovation and what movies can teach us about our relationship to technology and to each other

Free planetarium shows designed to engage new audiences in space science education

With funding through NASA, the University of Colorado’s Fiske Planetarium produces free full-dome "Explorations" shows. Shows average five minutes in length and can be used before a regular feature or to promote discussions in classes with the goals of showing the wide diversity of science and engineering at NASA, and making the idea of a career related to aerospace attractive to younger people. Explore Fiske Planetarium's film productions


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.


NASA's Night Sky Network - What's up for February 2019
Learn about astronomical events taking place this month

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

2/14: Valentines Day - explore NISE Net related activities and programs

2/15-2/18 Great Backyard Bird Count
2/17-2/23: National Engineers Week - explore NISE Net related activities and programs
2/21: Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day explore NISE Net related activities and programs


2019 Year-long events

Moon Landing 50th Anniversary - Apollo 11 (July 20) and Apollo missions 
The NISE Network has links to help plan for your Apollo Moon Landing 50th Anniversary events:

  • One newly added resource is the the Apollo Next Giant Leap Student Challenge (ANGLeS Challenge). Open to students in grades 5-12 across the United States and territories, the event challenges student teams to recreate the Apollo 11 moon landing using a drone and a LEGO Mindstorm robot.
  • NISE Network Online Workshop: Celebrating the Moon, Our Nearest Neighbor (Recorded)

NASA 60th Anniversary
International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements, 50th Anniversary
​2019 Summer Reading - A Universe of Stories 2019 Summer Learning Program


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

February 14 - 17, 2019; Washington, DC
Meeting theme is Science Transcending Boundaries

American Chemical Society (ACS) 2019 National Meeting 

March 31 - April 4, 2019; Orlando, FL
Meeting theme, Chemistry for New Frontiers.
Registration open

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) Annual Conference 2019

September 21 - September 24, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Conference theme, Moonshots: Rendezvous with the Future. Learn more about ASTC 2019