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Newsletter: October 2017

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Welcome to the monthly e-newsletter for the National Informal STEM Education (NISE) Network and community.



November 1st deadline to submit application for free Explore Science: Earth & Space 2018 toolkit

Will the Explore Science: Earth & Space 2018 toolkit be different from 2017? The answer is YES! The 2018 toolkit will feature a whole different set of Earth and space hands-on activities and experiences with connections to science, technology, and society. Two hundred and fifty (250) free physical toolkits be awarded to successful applicants from eligible organizations. Activities are designed for use in children's museums, science centers and museums, public planetariums and observatories, and NASA visitor centers in the U.S. The deadline to submit an online application to be considered for the free 2018 toolkit is Wednesday, November 1, 2017. Learn more about the 2018 toolkit and how to apply

Gearing up for National Chemistry Week 2017? Learn more about a new opportunity to engage public audiences in chemistry topics

What activities are you planning for National Chemistry Week (NCW) this year? Over the last several months, the Museum of Science in Boston has been preparing for this year's NCW (2017 theme is "Chemistry Rocks!"), which is also celebrating its 30th anniversary. Museum of Science guest educators will be facilitating activities with a geochemistry connection including one of the prototype activities from our NSF-funded ChemAttitudes project called “Cleaning Oil Spills with Chemistry.” The ChemAttitudes project, looking at how adapted activities and facilitation strategies impact visitors' attitudes around interest, relevance, or self-efficacy towards chemistry topics, is entering its second year of development and will culminate in a kit being distributed in 2018 for use during National Chemistry Week 2018. Continue reading about NCW week activities, the ChemAttitudes project, and the kit timeline

Frankenstein200 project celebrates the 200th anniversary of the novel Frankenstein: Digital kit is now available to download

Supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation to Arizona State University, the NISE Network is involved in the global celebration of the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The Frankenstein200 project takes on the challenge of supporting learning related to responsible innovation using themes from Frankenstein to examine technologies like artificial intelligence and genetic engineering, while promoting the development of 21st century skills related to creative collaboration and critical thinking. A digital version of the Frankenstein200 kit is now available online to download, which includes seven hands-on activities that use the Frankenstein story to inspire deeper conversations about scientific and technological creativity and social responsibility. Learn more about the Frankenstein200 project and download the digital kit


Online Workshops: Staying connected to the Network and Community

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 full details for upcoming online workshops at

Museum and Community Partnerships - Part 1: Libraries
Tuesday, October 10, 2017; 2:00 - 3:00 PM Eastern - Sign up now
Libraries are wonderful venues for reaching new, underserved audiences, since they are free and open to everyone. Join us to hear about successful partnerships between science museums and their local libraries, and how you can build a connection with the library in your own community. We'll also highlight activities from the Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkit that are ideal for library programs.

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 Girls 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.

Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) Annual Conference

The NISE Network is looking forward to seeing Network partners at the upcoming ASTC Conference in San Jose, October 20 - 24. NISE Net partners will be presenting in sessions about Network projects and efforts. We also encourage partners, and those interested in learning more about the Network, to join the NISE Net in our conference activities to learn more about new project opportunities: 


The National Center for Science and Civic Engagement is seeking your input on a potential new project

NISE Net is helping the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement and their Informal Science Education Division gather feedback on a potential new project. To assist with the project, SENCER is surveying practitioners to gain your feedback on a pilot project where undergraduates in SENCER courses would develop educational resources that could be used or adapted by informal science education organizations. SENCER is seeking feedback from educators, administrators, and staff in formal and informal education. Click here to learn more and to take this short survey


National Chemistry Week 2017 

This year's theme, "Geology Rocks!," covers the chemistry of rocks. Take part in this annual event that helps to communicate the importance of chemistry in everyday life. Learn more about how to collaborate with local American Chemical Society (ACS) sections and bring chemistry professionals to participate in your events. More about National Chemistry Week 2017

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

Online Workshop: Learn More About the 2018 Explore Science: Earth & Space Toolkit (Recorded)

During this discussion, participants are provided an overview of the Space and Earth Informal Science Education (SEISE) project and the Explore Science: Earth & Space 2018 toolkit. Two NISE Net partners who received the 2017 toolkit and hosted Earth and space events also shared their experiences. View the recording and resources of the 9-12-2017 online workshop


Children Reach for the Stars with Education and Fun at Kearney Area Children's Museum

By Jennifer Beck, Kearney Children's Museum

The Kearney Area Children’s Museum reached for the stars as they opened their museum to the community for a special Free Family Fun Night with a solar-eclipse theme. Families enjoyed a variety of activities from the Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkit geared towards educating children and their families about the solar eclipse, space exploration, and science. Visitors were also treated to presentations by special guests, a NASA astronaut and an engineer. Read Kearney Area Children's Museum full Partner Highlight



Earth and Space News

NASA's Cassini's spacecraft ends its historic exploration of Saturn
A mission both celebrated and mourned, NASA's Cassini spacecraft took it's final plunge into Saturn's atmosphere endings its near 13-year journey and exploration of Saturn and its moons. Although this marks the end of a mission, it's also a new beginning states an associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. “Cassini’s discovery of ocean worlds at Titan and Enceladus changed everything, shaking our views to the core about surprising places to search for potential life beyond Earth." Watch highlights from the final transmission and more

NASA's next Mars mission to investigate interior of red planet
The InSight mission (short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) is set to launch in May 2018 and is part of a legacy of robotic explorations to Mars that is working to lay the groundwork for sending humans to the red planet in the 2030s. InSight is the first mission that will place a stationary lander on Mars to focus on examining the planet's deep interior through placement of two permanent instruments: a seismometer and heat probe. Continue reading about this new mission to Mars set to launch in 2018

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

Synthetic Biology News

Five ways to get CRISPR into the body
The gene-editing technology, CRISPR, has the potential to treat many potential diseases; the challenge, however, for scientists is finding the best delivery method for inserting the DNA-cutting protein called Cas9 into the body. Although some delivery methods are further along in research and development than others, researchers are investigating some interesting delivery methods including: gels and creams, drinkable or edible CRISPR, ear injections, skin grafts, and "ex vivo" therapy. Read more about potential new delivery mechanisms for the gene-editing tool   

Chemistry News

Fuel-cell cars finally drive off the lot
Hydrogen-powered, all-electric vehicles have been in development for decades and are now on the road. As an alternative to conventional vehicles that depend on fossil fuels, fuel-cell cars generate electricity onboard by electrochemically combining hydrogen and water, emitting only water vapor helping to reduce carbon emissions. The fuel-cell vehicle isn't perfected as of yet but researchers are continuing to search for ways to reduce cost and improve durability. Read more about the rise of the hydrogen fuel-cell and how they work

American Chemical Society's Reactions Video: What Is Science Doing About These Exploding Phone Batteries? 
Learn more about the phenomenon called thermal runaway, how it's connected to exploding lithium batteries, and what scientists are doing about it. 


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.


  • World Space Week (October 4 - 10)
  • Metric Day (October 10)
  • Campus Sustainability Month 
  • Earth Science Week (October 8-14)
  • Nuclear Science Week (October 16 - 20)
  • National Chemistry Week (October 22 - 28) - 2017 NCW Theme: Chemistry Rocks!
  • International Observe the Moon Night (October 28)
  • Halloween (October 31)


  • International Science Center and Science Museum Day (November 10)


Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) Annual Conference 2017

October 21 - 24, 2017; San Jose, CA
The NISE Network will have a variety of activities and professional development opportunities at the upcoming conference including sessions, an exhibit hall booth, partner breakfast and happy hour. Learn more about NISE Net activities at ASTC 2017


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


Association of Children's Museums (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

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