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Newsletter: November 2017

NISE Network


Training videos filmed for 2018 Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkit

Throughout September and October, NISE Network project staff have been filming a total of 21 videos to accompany the hands-on activities in the 2018 Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkit, including facilitation and content videos. Additionally, a training video for facilitators on strategies for approaching common misconceptions around difficult concepts will be included in the physical toolkit and available online and in the digital toolkit. Read the full blog post and learn when the training videos will be available online

Explore Science: Earth & Space 2017 toolkit partner reports

Explore Science: Earth & Space 2017 toolkits were awarded to 250 NISE Net partners across the U.S. including children's museums, science centers and museums, public planetarium and observatories, and NASA visitor centers. As a physical toolkit recipient, sites were required to host at least one public engagement event using the toolkit between March and May; and many partners opted to use the toolkit as part of ongoing year-long programming and for August solar eclipse events. Here we share some of the highlights from partners' toolkit reports showcasing their creative and wide-ranging public engagement and outreach events highlighting Earth and space. Thank you NISE Net partners, we couldn't do this work without you!

Frankenstein200: The scientist and his creature are 200 years old in January, 2018!

NISE Net is partnering with Arizona State University and partners across the country to celebrate the anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein. This 200-year old story explores themes of human creativity, societal responsibility, and scientific ethics. The Frankenstein200 project uses themes from Frankenstein to encourage creativity and support learning related to responsible innovation through hands-on maker-style activities, an alternate reality game, and online challenges. Your organization can participate in the nationwide birthday party for Frankenstein by downloading a free digital kit. Learn more about the Frankenstein200 kit by signing up for the NISE Net's December 5, 2017 online workshop. Read full blog post and learn how NISE Net partner, Sciencenter, used the kit for their Spooky Science programming, where to download the digital kit, and how to sign up for the online workshop.


Coming soon - NISE Network Annual Partner Survey 2017 invitations

Next week many of you may receive an invitation via email to participate in the NISE Net's online Annual Partner Survey. Your unique perspectives and input are crucial in helping us assess and improve the experience of participating in the Network's Explore Science: Earth and Space project. The survey should take no more than 20-30 minutes to complete, and to show our appreciation for your time, completion of the online survey will automatically qualify you to be entered in a drawing for one of two sets of educational materials. Whether you've completed our annual surveys in the past or this will be your first time, we want to hear from you so please fill out the survey even if other people from your organization complete one. For questions, please contact Marta Beyer



The 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 the full details for upcoming online workshops at

Museum and Community Partnerships - Part 2: Girl Scouts

Tuesday, November 14, 2017; 2:00 - 3:00 PM Eastern - Sign up now
The Girl Scouts released a new set of STEM badges in 2017! Join us to learn about the new badges, and how science museums can successfully partner with their local Girl Scout troops. We'll be joined by STEM Strategy staff from Girl Scouts USA, as well as staff from museums who have built successful partnerships with their local troops. We'll also highlight activities from your Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkit that are ideal for Girl Scouts programs.


Learn More About the Frankenstein200 Project and Free Digital Resources

Tuesday, December 5, 2017; 2:00 - 3:00 PM Eastern - Sign up now
During this online workshop, NISE Net partners will present a general introduction to the Frankenstein200 project and provide an overview of free online resources that are available to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein in 2018. The Frankenstein200 project has created hands-on maker-style activities, an immersive alternate reality game, and other resources to encourage the process of creativity while considering important questions related to responsible innovation.


Exciting new science and literacy project with The Franklin Institute

The Franklin Institute, the National Girls Collaborative Project, and the Institute for Learning Innovation are partnering to nationally disseminate science and literacy programming through a train-the-trainer model. Five states will be selected to take part in a three-year curriculum training and statewide dissemination project. Leap into Science is a series of evidence-based curriculum and training resources that integrate open-ended science activities with children's books for children ages 3-10 and their families. This program is designed for community settings such as libraries, museums, and out-of-school time programs to engage underserved families in accessible and familiar settings. For more information, register for the Leap into Science Informational Webinar that will be held on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 at 11am Pacific / 2pm Eastern. Applications are due by December 11, 2017. Read more about this new opportunity and how to apply

New exhibition opportunity from Space Science Institute

The National Center for Interactive Learning (NCIL) at the Space Science Institute (SSI) is seeking eight library and museum partners to host the inaugural national tour of the interactive traveling exhibition Discover Exoplanets: The Search for Alien Earths. Public libraries and small museum partners in rural areas and those serving rural populations and underrepresented groups are especially invited to apply. Applications are due by January 5, 2018. Learn more about this opportunity


Online Workshop: Museum and Community Partnerships - Part 1: Libraries (Recorded)

Libraries are great venues for reaching new, underserved audiences. Learn about successful partnerships between science museums and their local libraries, and suggestions and opportunities on how to start a new collaboration or expand already existing ones. View the recording and resources of the 10-10-2017 online workshop.

Frankenstein200 digital kit now available online

The Frankenstein200 digital kit takes on the challenge of supporting learning related to responsible innovation. The project has also developed an online alternate reality game that immerses players in the modern-day Laboratory for Innovation and Fantastic Explorations (or L.I.F.E.). Download the Frankenstein200 digital kit and its accompanying resources



The Children's Museum of Houston provides educational and emotional support to local communities during and after Hurricane Harvey

By: Jason Hammond, Children's Museum of Houston

During Hurricane Harvey, Houston's convention center was set up as a relief shelter housing thousands of residents, many of them children. The Children's Museum of Houston's Outreach Department was provided a space that was safe for parents to leave children to play (while they attended to business or for a much needed break) and conduct science experiments like making slime and designing their own LED jewelry. Museum staff provided over 700 hours of service and reached over 2,400 children. Read the full partner highlight about the Children's Museum of Houston's community support and outreach


Celebrating the 2017 solar eclipse in the Valley of Sun

By: Rae Ostman, Arizona State Universityspacer.gif

NISE Net partners in the Phoenix Metro Area celebrated the August solar eclipse in a big way! Almost 900 people visited the Arizona Museum of Natural History to join a pre-eclipse party cohosted by Arizona State University to help build excitement and awareness of the event in the Valley of Sun. That excitement helped turn out thousands of residents who participated in events held at Arizona State University and at the Arizona Science Center to view the partial solar eclipse and learn about the eclipse through hands-on activities and expert discussions. Read the full partner highlight to learn more about these outreach events


Earth and Space News

Powering Saturn's active ocean moon
For a decade, scientists have grappled with understanding where the energy comes from on Enceladus, Saturn's moon, to generate its hydrothermal activity. Enceladus' sustained power may result from its loose, rocky core flexing and rubbing together while orbiting Saturn, which then generates heat. The loose interior allows water to percolate deep down where it is heated up, and then rises to the surface escaping through geysers at the moon's southern poll. Read more about Saturn's active moon

NASA's Night Sky Network - What's up for November 2017
Learn about the astronomical events taking place this month


Synthetic Biology News

Cells programmed like computers to fight disease
In new research, scientists have discovered that ribonucleic acid (RNA), which is produced abundantly by humans, animals, and plants, can be genetically engineered to provide instructions to a living cell. Similar to writing computer code, scientists have found that RNA molecules can be produced and organized into specific sequences of commands, which are then fed into cells to perform specific actions. Read more about RNA programming

Chemistry News

American Chemical Society's Reactions Video: How Do We Know the Age of the Earth?
The Earth is 4.565 billion years old, give or take a few million years, but how do scientists know that? Learn more about how rocks and chemistry help scientists deduce the age of rocks like the Earth.


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.




American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2018 Annual Meeting

February 14 - 18, 2018: Austin, TX
The 2018 theme "Advancing Science: Discovery to Application" highlights the critical roles of academia, government and industry in moving ideas into innovations. Registration now open

American Alliance of Museums (AAM) 2018 Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo

May 6 - 9, 2018: Phoenix, AZ
"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." Join the AAM 2018 Meeting & MuseumExpo to explore the many ways museums serve as hubs of community activation and learning.

Association of Children's Museum (ACM) Interactivity 2018

May 15 - 18, 2018: Raleigh, NC
This year's theme is "Open Source Play, Sharing the Creative Code." Learn more about ACM 2018