Newsletter: January 2018



National Informal STEM Education Network year in review 2017

This past year was busy and successful, as hundreds of NISE Network partners across the country participated in Network projects! It’s exciting to have so many organizations dedicated to engaging people in their local communities in learning about current STEM research. Here are some of our favorite Network moments of 2017, together with some indicators of the impact we achieve working together. Read full blog post for NISE Net project details and what to expect in 2018

Explore Science: Earth & Space 2018 toolkit recipients announced

The NISE Network is happy to announce the 250 recipients of the all new Explore Science: Earth & Space 2018 physical toolkit; recipients can be viewed online at Physical toolkits will ship in January, with the digital version of the 2018 toolkit available online and free to download in February at

Check out this short NISE Net video highlighting just a few events that partners hosted in 2017 using their Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkit demonstrating that science is relevant, engaging, and fun!

Another award for the DIY Nano app!

The DIY Nano app has recently been named one of the top 60 education apps available by the UK tutoring site Tutorful (formerly Tutora), scoring high marks in the category for children ages 6 to 10 years. It is one of the most popular apps available from the do-it-yourself science app series from University of California Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science and provides free, easy to use, hands-on activities. Each activity includes material lists, step-by-step instructions, and detailed explanations. DIY Nano is available for iPhones and iPads. Read more about the DIY Nano app and its many awards


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 Community Partnerships - Part 3: Working with the Solar System Ambassadors and Night Sky Network
Tuesday, January 23, 2018; 11am-12pm Pacific / 2pm-3pm Eastern - Sign up now
Take events using the Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkits to the next level by partnering with NASA's Solar System Ambassadors and local Night Sky Network member astronomy groups. Listen to how other NISE Net partners incorporated these talented and knowledgeable professional and amateur astronomers into their events.

What's in Your 2018 Explore Science: Earth & Space Toolkit
Tuesday, February 6, 2018; 11am-12pm Pacific / 2pm-3pm Eastern - Sign up now
This online discussion provides a demonstration and overview of the hands-on STEM activities in the 2018 Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkit, tips for using training materials, forming local collaborations, and suggestions for marketing your events and programs.

Register now to join these online workshops 

The Science Behind the 2018 Explore Science: Earth & Space Toolkit - Part 1
Tuesday, February 27, 2018; 11am-12pm Pacific / 2pm-3pm Eastern

The Science Behind the 2018 Explore Science: Earth & Space Toolkit - Part 2
Tuesday, March 13, 2018; 11am-12pm Pacific / 2pm-3pm Eastern

NGSS and the Explore Science: Earth & Space Toolkit - Connecting Your Toolkit to Field Trips and K-12 Programs
Tuesday, March 20, 2018; 11am-12pm Pacific / 2pm-3pm Eastern

Planning your NanoDays 2018 events 

After more than 10 years of focusing on nanoscale science, engineering, and technology education, and the dissemination of eight NanoDays kits, the NISE Network continues to encourage partners to engage visitors in nano through hands-on activities and programming during annual NanoDays events or through ongoing programming throughout the year. A NanoDays archive is available online to help you find what you need to replenish your supplies, find new hands-on activities, train staff and volunteers, and promote your events. Find these resources and more at partners from all across the country in hosting events during NanoDays 2018 between March 31st and April 8th!


L.I.F.E. Frankenstein online alternate reality game (ARG)

The Frankenstein200 project has developed an online alternate reality game that immerses players in the modern-day Laboratory for Innovation and Fantastic Explorations (or L.I.F.E). This interactive fictional story imagines what might happen if a character named Dr. Tori Frankenstein picked up where her ancestor Victor left off. Game website: Additional resources including an overview and storyline, press release, images, and logos:

Online Workshop: Learn More About Frankenstein200 Project and Free Digital Resources (Recorded)

Download the free, digital Frankenstein200 kit and take advantage of 2018's year-long festivities celebrating the 200th anniversary of the publication Frankenstein. The kit's hands-on activities are great way to add thoughtful conversation about responsible innovation into regular programming like camps and storytime, to build upon other NISE Net kits, and to supplement Halloween events. View the recording and resources of the 12-5-2017 online workshop


Outcomes from the American Chemical Society's 2017 National Chemistry Week

By Lily Raines, American Chemical Society

In 2017, the American Chemical Society (ACS) celebrated the 30th anniversary of one of our most successful outreach campaigns, National Chemistry Week (NCW). With a new theme featured each year, the overall goal of the program is to show the general public how chemistry is involved in every aspect of our daily lives, and so topics have ranged from chemistry in art, in food, in the movies, and in sports. This year, more than 80% of regional groups of ACS Members in the U.S. planned NCW events, which celebrated geochemistry. NCW events typically focus on hands-on experiments and are generally targeted towards students aged 6 – 14, but everyone is invited to celebrate the week. Next year, NCW moves beyond the atmosphere with the theme “Chemistry is Out of this World!” but you don’t have to wait until next October to get involved. Consider getting involved in Earth Day events in April such as Chemists Celebrate Earth Day and Chemists Celebrate Earth Week. Read the full partner highlight to learn more about NCW and ways to get involved with ACS


Earth and Space News

Make a moon phase calendar and calculator for 2018
Created by NASA, the DIY moon phase calendar provides a hands-on activity to learn more about phases of the moon and when they will occur.
Make your own moon phase calendar

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

NASA's Museum Alliance resources - Human Exploration & Operations 2018
This year-long series of monthly topics will focus on extending human presence in the solar system and include outreach materials that can be used in your organization's programs and exhibits. January: Living and Working on the ISS: Preparing for Deep Space

Synthetic Biology News

CRISPR gene editing is coming to the clinic
A first industry-sponsored study of a CRISPR drug is expected to begin in Europe in 2018 to treat a genetic blood condition called beta-thallassemia, and potentially sickle cell disease, both of which are caused by mutations in a gene that makes part of hemoglobin - the protein that carries oxygen throughout the blood. Instead of fixing the faulty DNA, CRISPR technology will be used to reactivate fetal hemoglobin, which will hopefully increase hemoglobin's ability to bind to oxygen. Read more about this CRISPR drug trial

Nano News

The man-made world is horribly designed. But copying nature helps
This short video illustrates how nature can be mimicked in engineering designs to create more effective technology. Watch video now


New opportunity to participate in the 2018 Science Events Summit

The Science Events Summit (June 4-5 in St. Petersburg, Florida) is convening for the first time in 2018, which brings together public science event organizers and practitioners, evaluators, collaborators, and sponsors all with an interest in public science events big and small. Visit the Science Events Summit website for more information about program offerings and how to register.


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.


Predictions for the New Year

National Bird Day (January 5) 

Snow and snowflakes


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

Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) Annual Conference 2018

September 29 - October 2, 2018; Hartford, CT
Learn more about ASTC 2018

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