EARTH SCIENCE WEEK UPDATE
American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 9, No. 12: December 2011
IN THIS ISSUE…
- Earth Science Teaching Prize Eligibility Expanded
- NGWA Offers Sprinkling of Ground Water Education
- Explore ‘Evolving Worlds’ Like Earth With NASA
- AEG Promotes Environmental and Engineering Geology
- Smithsonian Education Digs Into Earth’s Soil
- NSF Offers Online Climate Change Resources
- Examine Critical Minerals in AGI’s New EarthNote
- SSA Resources Produce Seismic Shift in Learning
- Is Earth Science Education at Risk in Your State?
- NOAA Teaches Teachers About Oceans, Atmosphere
More teachers than ever are now eligible to win the Edward C. Roy, Jr. Award for Excellence in K-8 Earth Science Teaching. In addition to U.S. teachers, instructors throughout the United Kingdom now may compete for the prize. And the deadline for entries is rapidly approaching!
This award recognizes one full-time teacher from kindergarten to eighth grade, or the U.K. equivalent, for leadership and innovation in Earth science education. The winner will receive a $2,500 prize and a travel grant of $1,000 to attend the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Annual Conference in March 2012 to accept the award. To enter the 2012 competition, applications must be postmarked by January 10, 2012.
This award is named in honor of Dr. Edward C. Roy, Jr., a past president of AGI, who was a strong and dedicated supporter of Earth science education. To learn more, U.S. teachers should visit http://www.agiweb.org/education/awards/ed-roy. U.K. teachers should visit http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/page10928.html.
Besides advancing the expertise of ground water professionals, the National Ground Water Association (NGWA), an Earth Science Week partner, is dedicated to furthering ground water awareness and protection. NGWA offers short courses on ground water, several conferences each year, an annual ground water expo, and ground water webinars.
Check out “Ground Water Adventures,” a web site providing activities for young people in grade bands K-3, 4-8, and 9-12. Find fun facts about ground water, quizzes, and other information. Also featured are classroom experiments, an online ground water newsletter, pictures, and stories. For more information, visit http://www.groundwateradventurers.org. To learn about NGWA, see http://www.ngwa.org.
NASA’s December topic for the Year of the Solar System is “Evolving Worlds.” The topic closely relates to the theme of Earth Science Week 2011, “Our Ever-Changing Earth.”
Like people, planets grow old. Over billions of years, they change. Planets can lose their atmospheres and oceans. They often gather craters. Planets cool and shrink, becoming denser as they move into their senior years.
To find events and information related to this month’s topic, as well as a wealth of classroom activities and other educational resources, visit http://1.usa.gov/sSxBiM.
The Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists (AEG), an AGI member society, not only provides leadership, advocacy, and applied research in environmental and engineering geology - the association also encourages educators to join and make use of its abundant resources.
Resources for members include technical publications, section and chapter meetings, and special educator sessions at the annual meeting. Opportunities for professional geologists to speak to classes are also available to members, as well as resume writing workshops and scholarships for students.
AEG also links to AGI’s K-5 GeoSource online at http://www.aegweb.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3361/. K-5 GeoSource is an online professional development tool for elementary-level teachers who offer instruction on Earth science topics such as weather, fossils, rocks, soil, and water. To find out more about what AEG has to offer or become a member, visit http://www.aegweb.org.
Smithsonian Education offers a fascinating exploration of Earth’s soil with its “Dig It! The Secrets of Soil” exhibition. For information, videos, expert instruction, and activity sheets, visit http://forces.si.edu/soils.
For example, a “Root Words” word-search sheet combines science and language arts with insights into the origins of related scientific terms. Download a PDF at http://www.smithsonianeducation.org/families/point_click/
Earth science teachers and students often examine the connections between two related topics: energy and climate. For those wishing to take a closer look at climate change, the National Science Foundation (NSF) offers a useful web site.
“Our planet’s climate affects - and is affected by - the sky, land, ice, sea, life, and people found on it. To understand the entire story of climate change,” according to the site, “we must study all of the natural and human systems that contribute to and interact with Earth’s climate system.”
Go to http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/climate?
govDel=USNSF_51 to find an NSF report summarizing the current state of knowledge about climate change. The succinct format is enhanced with slideshows and videos.
What would you do without your cell phone, computer, or car? These technological marvels require dozens of elements, which come from a finite supply of minerals. In a new EarthNote, AGI looks at what makes a mineral “critical” and how a sudden loss of resources could impact the economy.
Critical minerals are defined by their dollar value, availability of substitutes, and increasing demand. Green technologies such as wind turbines and electric cars, communications technologies such as computers and cell phones, and cutting-edge military systems all depend on critical minerals. Learn more in the new EarthNote (http://www.agiweb.org/environment/earthnotes/note.html?
Find out how Earth science issues influence your life with EarthNotes, summaries of timely information about geoscience issues. Reports on a wide range of topics are contributed by geoscientists. To read more EarthNotes, visit http://www.agiweb.org/environment/earthnotes/.
Want to shake up education? Start with the Seismological Society of America (SSA), the international scientific association devoted to advancing seismology and applications in imaging Earth’s structure and understanding and mitigating earthquake hazards.
SSA, an AGI member society, offers a number of links to educational web sites, including geoscience activities related to seismic science and earthquakes. Sponsored by Purdue University, the site (http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~braile/indexlinks/educ.htm) features seismic eruption models, wave animations, plate tectonics simulations, information on tsunamis, and much more.
SSA also offers publications, information on seismology careers, a distinguished lecturer series, and an electronic encyclopedia of earthquakes. Learn more about SSA online (http://www.seismosoc.org).
Many public schools have dropped Earth science from the required curriculum in recent years. Some colleges have closed geoscience departments. Employers have said they need more qualified candidates for geoscience jobs. Does your public education system ensure that all students learn important Earth science content?
AGI allows you to track the status of Earth science education nationwide. The “Pulse of Earth Science” web site, launched in connection with Earth Science Week, offers detailed, up-to-date information on geoscience education in every state, as well as guidance for advocates. View online at http://www.agiweb.org/education/statusreports/2007/index.html.
The U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) promotes education about oceanic and atmospheric science - and not only during Earth Science Week. NOAA offers resources and opportunities for students and teachers all year long.
On NOAA’s education site at http://www.education.noaa.gov/teachers1.html you’ll find lesson plans, interactive activities, educational games, videos, images, scholarships, career opportunities, and detailed information on weather, climate change, oceans, and satellites. Also, look for information on NOAA’s Teacher at Sea program, which allows a K-16 teacher to serve aboard a NOAA ship as a researcher. For archived resources geared toward students, including games and scholarship and career information, go to http://www.education.noaa.gov/students.html.
In addition to online offerings, NOAA’s Office of Education conducts teacher development workshops throughout the year to help improve oceanic and atmospheric literacy among science teachers. To find out where a workshop is being held near you, see http://www.oesd.noaa.gov.
The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of 50 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.
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