Earth Science Week Update August 2008

EARTH SCIENCE WEEK UPDATE
American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 6, No. 8: August 2008

IN THIS ISSUE…

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Earth Science Week 2008
Coming Soon: Get Ready
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Heading back to school? Now is the time to make plans for Earth Science Week 2008. The 11th annual Earth Science Week will celebrate the theme “No Child Left Inside” with a wide range of exciting activities, programs, and resources designed to help young people explore Earth science firsthand.

Pitch in to promote science literacy. Dig up fossil evidence of past life, record observations of cloud patterns, or visit science centers and parks. Conduct activities described on the Earth Science Week website at http://www.earthsciweek.or g/forteachers/index.html. For more ideas, see recommendations at http://www.earthsciweek.org/forplanners/index.html.

This year’s event is shaping up to reach even more than last year’s total estimated audience of over 5 million people. For the past decade, AGI has organized Earth Science Week to foster public and professional awareness of the status of Earth science in education and society. To learn more or to order an Earth Science Week 2008 Toolkit, visit the event website at http://www.earthsciweek.org.

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Global Effort Offers
Unique Teaching Resources
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Educators internationally are contributing to a new online resource called Earth Learning Idea (ELI). ELI offers a wide variety of Earth science instruction ideas, all designed to provide practical tools for teachers and teacher-trainers.

For the International Year of Planet Earth (IYPE), ELI is publishing one activity a week through 2008. Each activity is designed to maximize student participation, learning, and enjoyment while minimizing cost. Strategies promote interactive teaching and students’ investigational and thinking skills. Visit ELI at http://www.earthlearningidea.blogspot.com.

IYPE, officially spanning from February 2007 to December 2009, is a major focus of Earth Science Week 2008. IYPE aims to demonstrate new and exciting ways Earth science can help future generations meet the challenges of ensuring a safer and more prosperous world. Outreach includes educational ventures such as lecture tours, geology excursions, articles, competitions, and many other items and activities. To learn more, visit http://www.esfs.org online.

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NASA to Students: Plant
Ozone Bioindicator Gardens
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NASA is launching a new website to help students plant ozone monitoring and bioindicator gardens at their schools or in their backyards. The website expands on the May activity - “Plant an Ozone Monitoring Garden” - of the Earth Science Activity Calendar for the 2008-09 school year, featured in this year’s Earth Science Week Toolkit.

NASA encourages teachers to bookmark the site and visit often. This fall you’ll find background information on ozone-induced plant injury, training in identifying ozone injury to specific plants, activities and links for getting involved, and learning resources for educators and citizen scientists.

The site is designed to help young people discover the importance of understanding ozone in the Earth’s atmosphere and in their own backyards. As the site develops, you’ll have the opportunity to share data with NASA - and eventually with students and researchers worldwide as part of the larger GLOBE project. Visit http://ozonegarden.larc.na sa.gov/index.html to learn more.

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AGI Website Monitors ‘Pulse’
Of Earth Science Education
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Worried about the weak heartbeat of education in your schools? You can check The Pulse of Earth Science Education, AGI’s website that monitors Earth science education trends nationwide. The site, new last year, offers detailed, up-to-date information on the status of geoscience education in every state, as well as guidance for advocates.

For each state, AGI provides the most recent available data on:

  • teacher certification requirements and numbers teaching related subjects;
  • relevant courses that middle and high school students must take;
  • K-12 enrollment levels in Earth science and related subjects;
  • coverage of Earth science within state science standards;
  • state assessment of students in Earth science;
  • textbooks adopted and relevance of relevance to Earth science; and
  • contact information for state education agencies.

The website, at http://www.agiweb.org/educ ation/statusreports, features findings that many find surprising. Find out whether your state is one of the many where Earth science is included in education standards, but fails to carry through to curriculum requirements or high school exit exams. The site also offers an Advocacy Guide with recommendations for taking action within your state and local school systems.

The information presented is based on available data collected from numerous sources. Viewers are invited to help update information by contacting AGI at aeb@agiweb.org.

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Art Contest Encourages
Learning About Trees
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Earth Science Week offers students lots of opportunities to show what they know about geoscience! In addition to traditional essay, photo, and art contests and this year’s new International Year of Planet Earth-Earth Science Week photo contest (http://www.earthsciweek.or g/contests/index.html), the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) has announced an art contest for U.S. students in grades two to four.

Challenging students to explore trees and their importance to the world, the contest encourages early elementary students to go outside and directly observe trees in their communities, do science activities with their classes or at home, read stories and books, search relevant websites, and then draw pictures showing what they learned. The contest supports national education standards in science and geography.

Entries are due October 24. The first-place artist will receive a $100 gift certificate to Crayola.com or Amazon.com, and his or her artwork will be used on IGES’s holiday e-card. Second- and third-place winners will receive $75 and $50 gift certificates, respectively. Participation certificates will be available online as PDF files for teachers or parents to download and print. Check the IGES contest website for details, including changes from previous years, at http://www.strategies.org/ artcontest.

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