Earth Science Week Update December 2013

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 11, No. 12: December 2013


Earth Science Teaching
Prize Detailed in Webcast

With less than a month left to apply, now is the time to go online and view a new webcast about the prestigious Edward C. Roy, Jr. Award for Excellence in K-8 Earth Science Teaching. The free, two-minute webcast provides an overview of the competition. To view the webcast, visit

AGI also has expanded the eligibility requirements. In addition to U.S. teachers, instructors in the United Kingdom may compete. The program, a major part of Earth Science Week, recognizes one full-time teacher from kindergarten to eighth grade, or the U.K. equivalent, for leadership and innovation in Earth science education.

To enter the 2014 competition, applications must be postmarked by January 10, 2014. 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 April 2014 in Boston to accept the award. To learn more, U.S. teachers should visit U.K. teachers should visit

NASA Asks Students for
‘REEL Science’ Videos

NASA’s REEL Science Communication Contest invites high school students to try their hand at producing video to help their counterparts in middle school better understand Earth science.

Open to all U.S. residents ages 13 to 18, the new contest asks for a two-minute video on one of the following science concepts: how ice impacts climate and climate impacts ice; forest fire effects on air quality; or water of the water planet.

Entries are due February 21, 2014. Winners will have their videos posted on the NASA web site, and will have the opportunity to be a NASA producer, working on a communication project with NASA scientists and communications experts during the month of July 2014. To learn more and to enter, visit

NGWA Offers Sprinkling of
Ground Water Education

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 To learn about NGWA, see

National Fossil Day
Contest Names Winners

Winners of the 2013 National Fossil Day Art Contest were recently announced by the National Park Service, a major Earth Science Week partner. To view the artworks of winners in four categories - ages 5 to 8, 9 to 13, 14 to 18, and 19 and up - please visit

The National Park Service teamed up with AGI to launch the first annual National Fossil Day during Earth Science Week 2010. Since then, the program has grown enormously in reach and resources. Plans already are being made for the next National Fossil Day on October 15, 2014. Learn more at

Smithsonian Education
Digs Into Earth’s Soil

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

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

NSF Offers Online
Climate Change Resources

For Earth science teachers and students searching for the latest, most up-to-date information on climate change, the National Science Foundation (NSF) now 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 to find an NSF report summarizing the current state of knowledge about climate change, as well as resources dealing with related news, discoveries, statistics, and publications.

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SSA Resources Produce
Seismic Shift in Learning

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 ( 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 (

Is Earth Science Education
At Risk in Your State?

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 guarantee that all students are taught important Earth science content?

A recent report by AGI’s Center for Geoscience Education and Public Understanding describes significant shortfalls nationwide. For example, only one of the nation’s 50 states requires a year-long Earth/Environmental Science course for high school graduation, and only six states require that students are taught Earth Science concepts as part of graduation requirements, according to the 2013 report (

“The Pulse of Earth Science: An Advocacy Guide,” launched in connection with Earth Science Week, offers step-by-step recommendations for educators, parents, and other advocates wishing to ensure strong Earth science education in their local area, state, and nation. Learn how to build coalitions, influence policymakers, and shape education at every level. View the guide online at

NOAA Teaches Teachers
About Oceans, Atmosphere

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 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

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

AEG Promotes Environmental
And Engineering Geology

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. To find out more about what AEG has to offer or become a member, visit

The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of 50 geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 250,000 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, resiliency to natural hazards, and interaction with the environment. For contact information, please visit

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