Earth Science Week Update December 2009

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 7, No. 12: December 2009


Still Time to Share
Climate Science Resources

As the Copenhagen climate change summit continues to dominate headlines, now is the perfect time to harness student’s interest in this timely topic. The Earth Science Week 2009 Toolkit, available in limited supply, is packed with instructional materials on “Understanding Climate.”

Order now to ensure that you receive dozens of exciting educational resources, ideal for teaching throughout the year:

      • The new Earth Science Week poster, including a climate activity
      • USGS climate education resources, including volcano materials
      • NASA climate resources, including a “Dynamic Earth” DVD
      • A special report on “Ecological Impacts of Climate Change”
      • A National Park Service poster on glaciers nationwide
      • A CD on GIS technology and activities from ESRI
      • A genuine geoscientist’s field notebook from Rite in the Rain
      • Climate literacy materials provided by NOAA
      • Brochures, bookmarks, fact sheets, postcards, and more

For ordering, special shipping, bulk orders, and more, visit

Act Now to Win Award
For Earth Science Teaching

If you teach Earth science to students between kindergarten and eighth grade, you may be eligible to apply for the Edward C. Roy, Jr. Award for Excellence in K-8 Earth Science Teaching. Each year, this award recognizes one full-time U.S. classroom teacher for leadership and innovation in Earth science education.

The winner will receive a $2,500 prize and an additional grant of $1,000 to enable the recipient to attend the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Annual Conference in March 2010 to accept the award. To be eligible for the 2010 competition, applications must be postmarked by February 1, 2010. Please note that this deadline is earlier in the year than was the case in 2009, so start preparing your entry packet today.

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. The 2010 award ceremony will be hosted by the National Earth Science Teachers Association at the NSTA Conference. To learn more, visit If you have questions, please email AGI’s Geoff Camphire at

Earth Science Week a
Big Deal at Grand Canyon

One of the highlights of Earth Science Week 2009 was Grand Canyon National Park, which celebrated by offering special programs and activities that directly engaged more than 1,000 people. On October 13, for example, the park celebrated No Child Left Inside Day by offering a “touch table” on the canyon rim, allowing visitors to explore the canyon”s geology through hands-on activities.

Fossil Walks and Geology Walks featured a fossil bed containing the remains of marine organisms exposed near the canyon rim. A “Mapping the Canyon” exhibit, developed by the Grand Canyon Association, was on display in the park headquarters lobby. And a geology field trip led by USGS Research Geologist George Billingsley culminated the week’s events.

“Grand Canyon National Park is very pleased to offer special events in recognition of Earth Science Week,” said Superintendent Steve Martin. “The Earth sciences are essential tools that the National Park Service uses to preserve and protect Grand Canyon.”

Serving 400 natural, cultural, and recreational sites throughout the United States, the National Park Service is dedicated to teaching both the natural and cultural history of the country through programs designed for teachers and students. For education programs, visit and

NSTA Offers Links to
Free Science Resources

Looking for teaching resources? Check out a page called “Freebies for Science Teachers” on the National Science Teachers Association website.

Updated periodically, this searchable “array of free resources for you and your classroom” frequently features online links to publications, CD-ROMs, DVDs, videos, kits, and other materials for Earth science education. For more, go to

Website Monitors ‘Pulse’
Of Earth Science Education

Concerned about the weak heartbeat of geosicence education? 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
      • contact information for state education agencies

The website ( features findings that some find surprising. Find out, for example, whether your state is one of many that includes Earth science in standards - but not in curriculum requirements or high school exit exams. The site also offers an Advocacy Guide with steps for taking action.

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

SSSA Offers Riches
Of Soil Science Education

Six thousand members strong, the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is a scientific organization that aims to support geoscience teaching and learning about soils. This AGI member society provides an educational resources webpage ( that includes lessons, activities, fun facts, sites of interest organized by soil topic and grade level, and soil definitions for the novice soil scientist.

And for a few more weeks, you can visit “Dig It,” an SSSA-sponsored exhibition on soil at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. The exhibit, closing January 2010, includes interactive displays, hands-on-models, videos, and monoliths representing soils from each state, territory, and the District of Columbia. Check online for viewing times (

Reaching Out to
Spanish-Speaking Students

Many geoscience organizations and educators distribute AGI’s “Why Earth Science?” brochure to promote awareness of the importance of Earth science in K-12 education. To ensure that this vital message reaches the widest possible audience, AGI has translated the publication into Spanish.

The geoscience community encourages minority participation. America’s 40 million Hispanics comprise the nation’s largest race or ethnic minority, a population that is rapidly growing. What’s more, three in four Hispanics ages five and up speak Spanish at home, says the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Why Earth Science?” explains the importance of Earth science education for success in school, careers, informed decision-making, and civic engagement. To receive copies, contact AGI’s Geoff Camphire at English and Spanish versions of the brochure also are available online as downloadable files at

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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