EARTH SCIENCE WEEK UPDATE
American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 7, No. 1: January 2009
IN THIS ISSUE…
- Independent Study Details Earth Science Week Success
- AAPG Offers Instructors Videos, Expert Speakers
- Earth Science Week Resources Online Year-Round
- Look Up NASA’s Stellar Education Offerings
- Environmental Educators Invited to Conference
- For Geoscience, Check The Weather Channel
Earth Science Week participation soared last year, not only in terms of quantity - an estimated 20 million people became aware through activities, media coverage, and the Internet - but also the quality of engagement, according to an independent evaluation recently completed by PS International.
Comparing participation last year and plans for next year, 94 percent of survey respondents said they anticipate either increasing participation or no change. Fifty-nine percent said they’re increasing participation. “Earth Science Week is more important than ever,” commented one respondent. “Students are listening,” said another.
A large majority of participants (84 percent) said Earth Science Week offers opportunities for teaching and promoting Earth science that they wouldn’t have otherwise. Without it, “we would not have devoted an entire day’s worth of programming to Earth science,” said one. Similarly, 89 percent said program resources and activities are very or somewhat important to educating students and others about geoscience. “In many schools, the Earth Science Week packet is all teachers get!” a respondent remarked.
Most respondents find Earth Science Week and related resources highly useful. The share rating the program’s overall usefulness as “excellent” or “good” rose significantly, from 69 percent in 2007 to 77 percent in 2008. Only 2 percent rated overall usefulness as poor in 2008. When respondents were asked to rate key items from the Earth Science Week 2008 Toolkit and major features of the website, all were rated either “very useful” or “useful” by 75 percent to 95 percent.
AGI uses evaluation findings to improve. To learn more, see Earth Science Week 2008 Highlights, coming soon at http://www.earthsciweek.org/highlights/index.html.
With members ranging from professional geologists and corporate executives to students and academics, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) has plenty to offer Earth science educators. AAPG, a longtime AGI member society and Earth Science Week partner, aims to foster scientific research and promote the science of geology.
In addition to AGI’s K-5 GeoSource and Earth Science Week sites, AAPG’s K-12 Teaching Resources site at http://www.aapg.org/k12resources features the AAPG video library of more than 300 educational videos. AAPG’s Youth Education Activities Committee is currently building and expanding this resource.
AAPG’s Visiting Geoscientist program allows colleges and universities to arrange for a geoscientist to visit with a group of students for a full day or a half-day. Programs can include technical talks, a review of geoscience careers, and informal discussions. K-12 teachers also may request visits, though availability at the pre-college level is limited. To arrange a visit, go to http://www.aapg.org/education/vgp.
Universities and geological societies can arrange similar visits through the Distinguished Lecturer program. For details, see http://www.aapg.org/education/dist_lect.
Earth Science Week is more than one week of the year. If you’ve got Internet access, you can teach and learn about Earth science all year long.
The Earth Science Week website offers loads of classroom activities, theme-based resources, research projects, local events and organizations, and careers information. Most importantly, the site features dozens of recommended lessons that teachers and parents can conduct with children. All are aligned with the National Science Education Standards. Check it out at http://www.earthsciweek.org today!
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has been sending astronauts into space for decades, but now you too can go skyward - with NASA’s education website. Designed to meet the needs of all K-12 and university educators, the website at http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/index.html is your destination.
NASA offers over 1,500 educational materials. Search the Education Materials Finder by keyword, grade level, type of resource, and type of science. Also available are podcasts, online videos or “e-clips,” lesson plans, educator guides, classroom activities, posters, and links to other science sites. And stay informed of the latest NASA education offerings by signing up for the “Express” newsletter on the education homepage.
NASA’s CORE (Central Operation of Resources for Educators) is a worldwide distribution center for NASA”s educational multimedia materials. Visit CORE at http://education.nasa.gov/edprograms/core/home/index.html. Finally, besides online materials, NASA offers a number of other education programs. See a listing at http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/postsecondary/programs/All_Alpha.html.
Thousands of environmental education teachers, professors, researchers, public leaders, and others will gather for the 5th World Environmental Education Congress at the Palais des congres de Montreal (Quebec, Canada), May 10-14, 2009. If you want to help improve environmental education, you’re invited.
Since 2003, this international event has grown, as has the involvement of environmental educators in Earth Science Week. To learn more or register, visit http://www.5weec.uqam.ca.
The Weather Channel, a longtime Earth Science Week partner, offers more than just up-to-date weather forecasts for over 77,000 locations worldwide. “The Weather Classroom” is an educational, half-hour television program on the channel that explores the science behind weather. For local airtimes, see http://www.weather.com/wxclass/education.
In addition, the channel’s website at http://www.weather.com provides educational resources, interactive maps, and radar for regional and local purposes. For instance, “Weather Insights” is a free newsletter provided to educators every other month throughout the school year. Phone 1-800-471-5544 to get it by mail, or visit http://www.weather.com/education to print a copy.
Also online, “Teacher’s Lounge” offers weather materials for teachers, including a weather encyclopedia, careers in meteorology, weather glossary, weather games, climate change information, weather videos, and standards-based lesson plans. Visit http://www.theweatherchannelkids.com/weather-ed/teacher-resources for more.
The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of 45 geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 120,000 geologists, geophysicists, and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in the profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society’s use of resources and interaction with the environment. For contact information, please visit http://www.earthsciweek.org/contactus/index.html.
To subscribe to this newsletter, visit http://www.earthsciweek.org/newsletter/index.html and Submit your email address.