Earth Science Week Update April 2009

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 7, No. 4: April 2009


Go Online for Targeted
Professional Development

Looking for professional development made easy? Look no further than GeoScience Connections, a new set of online graduate courses offered by AGI and the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT).

GeoScience Connections is designed specifically to increase science teachers’ knowledge of Earth system science and inquiry-based science instruction. Focusing on interactions among Earth systems - geosphere, biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, and exosphere - courses incorporate hands-on and technology-based teaching techniques.

New courses being offered during Summer 2009 include “Dynamic Earth: Understanding the Processes Affecting Earth’s Crust” (June 29-Aug. 14) and “Introduction to Fossils” (July 15-Sept. 2). “Energy Resources” is planned for the Fall 2009 schedule. Each course provides 3 graduate credits from IIT. To learn more, visit,

As Scientists, Students
Cast Long Shadows

Help your students become “citizen scientists” by taking part in an international research project. The Sun Shadows Project is looking for help in studying the relationship between the seasons and the length of shadows.

Beginning with a science experiment at James Monroe Middle School in Albuquerque, N.M., in October 2007, students hypothesized that their shadows would be longer in winter than in summer. The study has grown since then, using data from both of Earth’s poles and many locations in between. Last year, the project students presented initial results at the American Geophysical Union’s Annual Conference.

The Sun Shadows Project students are looking for fellow scientists, to measure shadows and submit findings online at Because the Sun Shadows Project offers a great way to begin “understanding climate” - this year’s Earth Science Week (Oct. 11-17) theme - the project also is featured as AGI’s Earth Science Week Research Project. Learn more at

Explore Geophysics During
Earth Science Week 2009

The Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG), an Earth Science Week partner and AGI member society, offers programs for educators and students. For example, a distinguished lecturer series and an honorary lecturer series both enable students to meet professional geophysicists, learn about groundbreaking research in the field of seismic research, and obtain valuable career information.

Short courses offered through SEG not only enable seismologists to continue their education, but also help teachers to study seismology with introductory courses on seismic data processing. Meetings, forums, and workshops are also available.

SEG members have access to journals, an online digital library, reference publications, meetings, workshops, networking, and employment referral. To learn more, visit

‘Visiting Geoscientists’
Making an Impact on Students

Are you an Earth scientist who wants to help educate young people about the field - but you’re just not sure how to start? Check out “Visiting Geoscientists: An Outreach Guide for Geoscience Professionals,” a handbook recently co-produced by AGI and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists’ Youth Education Activities committee..

Professional geoscientists such as geologists and geophysicists who visit schools and lead field trips, especially at the K-12 level, can provide unique enrichment opportunities, based on their education, experience, and firsthand knowledge of the workplace. Whether you work in a resource or environmental company, a research institute, a state or federal agency, or a college or university, you can make a difference.

The handbook offers strategies and resources to enhance the experience. Various sections discuss how students learn science best, current issues in Earth science education, recommendations for volunteers, sample activities and resources, and more. To learn more or download a PDF version, see

NASA Wants Your Input
On Its Achievements

Yesterday NASA issued an invitation to vote online for the most important contribution the space agency has made to exploring Earth and improving the way we live on our home planet. NASA is conducting the survey as part of its celebration of Earth Day. Vote now - the poll closes next Tuesday, April 21.

NASA has selected 10 candidates for consideration as the greatest achievements about planet Earth, including diagnosing Earth’s ozone layer, predicting food shortages, and tracking ecosystems worldwide. Poll results will be announced on NASA’s website on Earth Day, April 22.

To cast your votes, visit , For more information about Earth Day and NASA, visit

Become a Proud Sponsor
Of Earth Science Week

Would your organization like to join longstanding Earth Science Week Sponsors such as the U.S. Geological Survey, NASA, the National Park Service, and the AAPG Foundation in supporting Earth Science Week? If so, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to this year’s campaign as a Program Sponsor.

Reaching more than 20 million people a year, Earth Science Week is the geoscience community’s premier outreach campaign, promoting awareness of Earth science among audiences such as science educators, students, and professionals. Program Sponsors receive visibility through recognition on Earth Science Week’s website, poster, kit, and other materials. To learn more, please visit

View ‘Why Earth Science’
Online With Your Students

AGI’s “Why Earth Science” video is now available for free viewing online on YouTube. For an exciting introduction to the geosciences, you can’t do better than this six-minute clip, featuring eye-popping cinematography and computer-animation highlights from AGI’s “Faces of Earth” mini-series, which aired recently on The Science Channel.

The video, an alternate version of which recently won a bronze Telly Award, is ideal for illustrating the importance of Earth science to not only students, but also education decisionmakers who may be weighing the subject’s place in the local curriculum. To view the clip, go to

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


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