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Newsletter: March 2020


New NISE Network Sustainable Futures public programs available online 

This free collection of new public programs on sustainable futures includes a complete set of digital resources, training materials, and graphics. Check out the new hands-on activities - a great fit for Earth Day and week activities! Several programs available now, more coming soon!


Explore Science: Earth & Space 2020 physical toolkit - Check your boxes and missing items

Recipients of the 2020 physical toolkit, please take a few minutes to check your boxes, as it has come to our attention that there are a couple of missing items. We are mailing out replacement materials to all partners who received the 2020 Part A physical toolkits. Read more about missing and replacement items.


NanoDays: Celebrate the biggest event for the smallest science: March 28 - April 5

NanoDays is an annual, nationwide festival about nanoscale science, engineering and technology and their impact on society. Explore the NISE Net's online archive of NanoDays kits (2008-2015) of hands-on activities and programs, training and promotional materials.


Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day April 22nd

The NISE Network has compiled resources to help as you plan for Earth Day, week, and month activities; Earth Week takes place April 18-26, 2020. Explore hands-on activities that relate to the Earth and sustainability, program and event planning resources, download NASA posters and images, and take part in citizen science opportunities at, including: 


See you at the Association of Children's Museums (ACM) Interactivity Conference May 5-8 in Missouri

This year's ACM Interactivity Conference is being hosted by The Magic House, St. Louis Children's Museum in Missouri, and the NISE Network is looking forward to visiting with partners who are attending. Stop by the NISE Network's booth, concurrent sessions, and join your colleagues at the free Partner Breakfast on Friday, May 8th at 7:30am. See more details about NISE Net activities at ACM 2020.



The NISE Network hosts free online workshops as professional development opportunities for our partners to share with and learn from each other. Online workshops take place on Tuesdays from 2-3pm Eastern / 11am-12pm Pacific. View upcoming online workshops at

The Science Behind the 2020 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.

The Science Behind the 2020 Explore Science: Earth and Space Toolkit – Asteroid Mining (Part 3)
Tuesday, March 24, 2020

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

In the future, asteroids could become sources for materials in manufacturing, energy production, or supporting humans living in space. Join this online workshop to learn about the Asteroid Mining activity from the 2020 Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkit and from our guest speaker who will talk about the science behind and social implications of asteroid mining.

All online workshops are recorded and archived at


Grand re-opening family event blasts off at Challenger Learning Center of Colorado

By Becca Manis, Challenger Learning Center of Colorado

After 17 years, the dream to expand the Challenger Learning Center of Colorado to include room for public events and on-site summer camps was finally realized through a revitalized partnership. This past fall, the Center hosted a Grand Re-Opening family event, the first major public event to take place, reaching nearly 900 guests. Read more about the Center's work to expand student programming and hands-on STEM events for families.

When your stars don't align for your star party at the Science Museum of Minnesota

By Christina Leavell, Science Museum of Minnesota

In January, The Networking Lab at the Science Museum of Minnesota held a Star Watch Party for their staff and volunteers, with a meteorologist and astronomy educator as a special guest presenter. Unfortunately, the winter weather didn't cooperate for this event providing cloudy skies and icy outdoor conditions keeping the party confined to the indoors. But participants still learned about the telescope, the night sky, and had the chance to play games from the NISE Net's Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkit. Read more about SMM's Star Watch Party and what made it such a success, despite the weather


New Explore Science: Earth & Space 2020 toolkit - Part A digital materials available online

Download the free digital toolkit - Part A and explore the newest Earth and space hands-on activities, including six new hands-on activities and games.


NISE Network online workshops

View the recordings and resources from recent online workshops. 

The Science behind the 2020 Explore Science: Earth and Space toolkit (3-part series): 

Sustainability in museums (3-part series): 


​New Materials Research Society (MRS) grant opportunity - Agents for Sustainable Community Change

The Material's Research Society's Focus on Sustainability Subcommittee is pleased to announce the launch of a new grant opportunity for 2020, which provieds funding for eligible teams to implement a sustainability-related action plan using the UN Sustainable Development Goals and collaborate with local partners to catalyze change in their department, university, or serve local public community needs. Learn more about this grant opportunity; deadline to submit is March 31st. 

Seeing Yourself in STEM: Aquanauts to Astronauts Livestream 

In honor of Black History Month, the Mote Marine Laboratory in Florida and The Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in New York collaborated to host a livestream, which highlights African Americans working in STEM industries, from marine biologists to geomorphologists to aerospace educators. Watch a recording of this livestream.

2020 Science Events Festival: May 31-June 2 in Atlanta

The only meeting dedicated to live public science events. For anyone looking to refresh their network, reconsider why they do what they do, and re-energize their hopes for live events. Learn more and register now:


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



Upcoming events


Earth and Space News

Mars is seismically active, InSight lander reveals 
NASA has officially confirmed that Mars is a seismically active planet, with seismic activity similar to that on Earth away from tectonic plate boundaries. The InSight stationary lander monitors marsquakes, and internal heat, allowing the mission team to construct a detailed 3D map of the interior of Mars and help scientists better understand how rocky planets form and evolve.  

Molecular oxygen has been spotted beyond the Milky Way for the first time
Although oxygen is the third most common element in the cosmos, after hydrogen and helium, scientists have only now found molecular oxygen in a galaxy 560 million light-years away. However, more research will need to be conducted to confirm these findings. 


Chemistry News

Blasting toxic 'forever' chemicals out of drinking water with cold plasma
Using cold plasma technology, researchers have found a new way to destroy PFAS chemicals, an extremely stable and toxic compound. PFAS were used for 60 years as coatings for consumer goods, waterproof clothing and in firefighting foams, and have since contaminated groundwater and soil posing serious health risks to the U.S. population.

Nanotechnology News

New commercial robot copies geckos' toes
No sooner than the gecko's secret to how it seemingly defied gravity by walking on walls was revealed did humans get to work trying to mimic it. Engineers at NASA have successfully tested its own version of a robot with gecko-inspired gripping technology during a year-long test on the International Space Station with potential future application in space operations. 


National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) Conferences

April 2-5, 2020  Boston (National) Conference
July 22-24, 2020  STEM Forum & Expo in Louisville
October 29-31, 2020  Pittsburgh Conference
November 19-21, 2020  New Orleans Conference 
December 10-12, 2020 – Phoenix Conference
Learn more

American Chemical Society (ACS) 2020 Spring 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
Registration open

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

October 17-20, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Learn more - Themed, New Frontiers