Earth Science Week Update August 2011

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 9, No. 8: August 2011


Save With a Bulk Order of
Earth Science Week Toolkits

Thinking of buying multiple copies of the Earth Science Week 2011 Toolkit for local educators or organization members? Save money by placing a bulk order!

Get 12-25 kits for $6.70 each, 26-100 kits for $6.45 each, or over 100 kits for $6.20 each. At these prices, the savings add up. The 2011 kit (ordinarily $6.95 each) includes:

* A 12-month school-year activity calendar, suitable for hanging
* The new Earth Science Week poster, including a learning activity
* A “Big Ideas of Earth Science” DVD linked to online activities
* American Chemical Society global water experiment materials
* National Park Service items on fossils, air, and geologic heritage
* NASA education resources examining Earth from space
* A poster on earthquakes and seismology from IRIS
* A GIS-in-science-education resource from ESRI
* A poster by SPE on renewable and nonrenewable energy
* A genuine field notebook from Rite in the Rain
* An activity from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
* A USGS poster on the bicentennial of the New Madrid quake
* Activity sheets from the Association for Women Geoscientists
* Brochures, bookmarks, fact sheets, postcards, and more

The kit contains everything you need to prepare for Earth Science Week (October 9-15, 2011), which celebrates the theme “Our Ever-Changing Earth.” For ordering, special shipping, bulk orders, and more information, visit

Earth Science Week 2011
Contest Expands Globally

Earth Science Week is expanding eligibility for its annual photography contest to allow members of AGI International Affiliates to participate for the first time. Previously open only to residents of the United States, the photo contest has always been a major part of Earth Science Week, which this year is being celebrated October 9-15.

“By celebrating the theme of ‘Our Ever-Changing Earth,’ Earth Science Week 2011 focuses attention on the natural forces that shape our planet,” says Ann E. Benbow, Ph.D., AGI’s Director of Education and Outreach. “This is the perfect time to invite our colleagues and friends around the world to join this celebration of Earth science.”

Members of AGI International Affiliates are encouraged to enter the contest, titled “A World of Change in My Community.” These individuals are invited to use a camera to capture evidence of the long- or short-term changes taking place around their planet and even in their own neighborhoods. Learn more at

Show Artistic Talent in
National Fossil Day Contest

A major focus of Earth Science Week 2011 will be National Fossil Day (October 12), and one of the best ways for students nationwide to participate is by entering the National Park Service’s National Fossil Day Art and Photography Contest. Entries should address the theme “Fossils in My Backyard.”

Artwork may include a photo, painting, drawing, or watercolor. Explore the various types of fossils found in your region, state, or hometown. Some states even have designated “state fossils.” Fossils are more common than you might think. From trilobites and mosasaurs to giant sloths, the past is full of fantastic creatures waiting to be discovered.

The contest is open to any U.S. resident. Entries are due by 5pm EST, October 5, 2011. Learn more at If you have questions, please email

Find New Resources at
National Fossil Day Online

To help you prepare for the second annual National Fossil Day (October 12) during Earth Science Week 2011, the National Park Service has launched a web site full of educational resources and information designed specifically for students and teachers (

On the site’s NPS Fossil Park Highlights page, for example, you’ll find lesson plans developed to reflect select state standards, fossil trading cards, videos about pygmy mammoths, special brochures, a virtual museum exhibit on dinosaurs, and more. Check out the page at

Also see the site’s Useful Resources and Links page, which features a trove of educator resources (

NGWA: Learn How to
Protect Your Groundwater

The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) celebrates its second annual Protect Your Groundwater Day on September 13, 2011, promoting water conservation and contamination prevention as ways to protect groundwater resources.

“Every person can do something to protect local groundwater, from not polluting it to using water wisely,” says NGWA Public Awareness Director Cliff Treyens. “The good news is that for most people all it takes is a small adjustment in their daily habits.”

Why bother? For starters, 95 percent of all available freshwater comes from aquifers underground, according to the NGWA event web site.

NGWA, an AGI member society, hopes that by focusing on actionable steps that every person can take, Protect Your Groundwater Day can spur people to protect this resource. For educational information and resources, see

**************************** Offers News
And Info on Earth Science
****************************, a major Earth Science Week partner, provides a variety of geoscience materials including daily Earth science news, maps, an online dictionary of Earth science terms, and information on geoscience careers.

Also on ( are resources for teachers, including links to lesson plans from major Earth science organizations such as the U.S. Geological Survey, the Geological Society of America, and NASA. To view the teacher page, visit

FEMA Offers Resources
On Earthquake Education

Following the earthquake that shook the East Coast last week, you may be looking for ways to make the most of such “teachable moments.” The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency recently released several free earthquake education resources for all ages.

The collection, “Earthquake Publications and Tools,” includes posters, teacher packages, a storybook for children, hands-on activities, and guidance for teachers, students, and child care providers. To download or order copies, go to To order copies of select items, phone 1-800-480-2520.

New K-12 Framework
Calls for Earth Science

A report recently released by the National Research Council presents a framework for K-12 science education, identifying the key scientific ideas and practices all students should learn. “Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas,” which prominently emphasizes Earth science, will serve as the foundation for new science standards, to replace those issued more than a decade ago.

The framework specifies four disciplinary areas - life sciences; physical sciences; Earth and space sciences; and engineering, technology, and the applications of science - in which students should master core ideas by high school graduation.

The committee that wrote the report calls for significant improvements in how science is taught nationwide. The framework urges integrating understanding the ideas of science with engagement in the practices of science. For the full report, visit The National Academies (

NSTA’s Free Webinars
Tackle Earth Science

The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) is offering a series of professional development web seminars that deal with timely topics in Earth science in the coming weeks. Upcoming webinars include:

* Meteorology: How Clouds Form (August 30) - Teachers will learn about the relationships between air pressure, temperature, volume, and cloud formation.

* The Science of Solar Power for Middle and High School Students (September 13) - Solar power presents a number of STEM applications that appeal to students and their interest in improving the environment.

* Interactive Visualization Tools for Climate (September 14) - Presenters will demonstrate interactive visualization tools that help teachers and students generate graphs and visualizations of climate-related data.

These 90-minute, live professional development experiences use online learning technologies to allow participants to interact with nationally acclaimed experts, NSTA Press authors, and scientists, engineers, and education specialists from NSTA partner organizations. Visit the NSTA web seminar page ( for more information.

EPA Has Climate Resources
For Teachers, Students

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an Earth Science Week partner, offers a climate education web site for students, teachers, and school administrators, including information and activities related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In one activity, for example, middle school and high school students estimate and conceptualize their schools’ emissions and explore ways to mitigate them. Also, teachers can learn from climate experts and search a database of lesson plans, videos, books, and tools. See the EPA web site at

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


To subscribe to this newsletter, visit and Submit your email address.