Earth Science Week Update October 2011

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 9, No. 10: October 2011


Explore ‘Big Ideas’
Of Earth Science Online

AGI now offers free videos and other electronic resources to help students, educators, and others explore the “big ideas” of earth science during Earth Science Week 2011 (October 9-15) and throughout the year.

Big Ideas videos are brief video clips that bring to life the big ideas of Earth science - the nine core concepts that everyone should know. The Earth Science Literacy Initiative, funded by the National Science Foundation, has codified these underlying understandings of Earth science which form the basis of the Big Ideas videos.

The Big Ideas DVD is featured in the Earth Science Week 2011 Toolkit ( View the Big Ideas videos on YouTube ( or search TeacherTube later this year. The Earth Science Week web site provides related resources. Educators can find dozens of classroom activities to help students build understanding of the “big ideas” online

Act Now to Win Award
For Earth Science Teaching

Earth Science Week 2011 wouldn’t be so successful without Earth science teachers. That’s why AGI is announcing details for its upcoming award competition, the Edward C. Roy, Jr. Award for Excellence in K-8 Earth Science Teaching. Each year, this award recognizes one full-time U.S. teacher from kindergarten to eighth grade 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 Indianapolis in March 2011 to accept the award. To be eligible for 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. The 2012 award ceremony will be hosted by the National Earth Science Teachers Association at the NSTA Conference. To learn more, visit

Classroom Activities
Now Searchable Online

Ever wish you could go online to search for a classroom activity tailor-made to match the Earth science topic you’re teaching? Earth Science Week to the rescue!

Visit the new and improved Earth Science Week Classroom Activities page for more than 120 free learning activities, most of which have been contributed by the leading geoscience agencies and groups that are Earth Science Week partners. Activities now are organized and searchable by various criteria, including specific Earth science topics.

To find the perfect activity for your lesson, just click on “Search Classroom Activities?” Now you can search by grade level and science education standard. Maybe most useful, you also can search among 24 categories of Earth science topics, from energy and environmental impacts to plate tectonics and weathering.

This updated, database-driven resource is ideal not only for supplementing a prepared curriculum, but also for generating activities that address in-the-news events such as fossil discoveries and volcanic eruptions. See the Classroom Activities page at

Use NASA’s Site for
Earth Science Week

To help educators explore “Our Ever-Changing Earth” during Earth Science Week 2011, NASA recently unveiled its updated Global Climate Change web site. For example, teachers and students alike are invited to join NASA Chief Scientist Waleed Abdalati for a live webcast in which he’ll share his stories and perspectives on the ever-changing planet.

Looking for activities? Tap into a trove of recommended web sites and classroom activities that explore Earth science, such as activities for analyzing land cover changes and a kid-friendly site answering the big questions about climate change with simple illustrations, humor, and interactivity.

Or explore a collection of data visualization and image resources, including real-time data presented in a 3D environment and visualizations searchable by keyword, mission, instrument, and scientist. See it all at

Contest Winners to Be
Announced Next Month

AGI thanks the many hundreds of students, educators, and others entering this year’s Earth Science Week photo, visual arts, and essay contests.

Winners will be announced in November 2011. AGI will contact winners directly and recognize their success both on the Earth Science Week web site ( and in this electronic newsletter.

Language Not a Barrier for
Women in Geosciences

Young women from many diverse communities will be celebrating the third annual Women in the Geosciences Day on Thursday, October 13, during Earth Science Week 2011. Making it easier than ever to do so are new educational resources from the Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG).

Courtesy of AWG, two worksheets - a word search and a coloring sheet - can be found in the Earth Science Week 2011 Toolkit ( Copies of the worksheets also can be downloaded from the AWG web site ( And now the coloring sheet is available in Arabic, Chinese, Danish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Tagalog, and Turkish translations.

The aim of Women in the Geosciences Day is to enlist geoscientists who are already established in the geoscience world to share their work and experience with aspiring women who have an interest in geoscience. If you are organizing or participating in an event, please send an email about it to AWG at

Post Your Photos Online
From Earth Science Week

Want to see yourself and your students on the Earth Science Week web site? Simply send us photos from your Earth Science Week celebrations and activities (along with any necessary signed permission forms). We’ll post selected images on the Earth Science Week Photo Gallery (

By submitting a photo, you agree to allow AGI to post the image on the Earth Science Week web site, without compensation unless prohibited. All submissions and all rights of ownership in and to the images, including all rights to use, reproduce, publish, modify, edit, and distribute the same will become the exclusive property of AGI and will not be returned. AGI reserves the right to edit, modify, adapt, copyright, publish, use, and reproduce any and all entries without further compensation.

You can snap shots with your digital camera or cell phone, or scan regular photos for electronic transmission. JPEG files are preferred. Download permission forms at
and send your photos to
. See you online!

Earth Science Week
Host Changes Name

Known since its inception in 1948 as the American Geosciences Institute, AGI changed its name this month to the American Geosciences Institute. AGI, which organizes Earth Science Week, adopted the new name to reflect the evolving natures of the association and the scientific fields it represents.

“To understand the Earth and its workings, many aspects of the geosciences are required,” says Executive Director P. Patrick Leahy. “By changing to the American Geosciences Institute, AGI is recognizing the inherently integrative nature of our profession and as a way to celebrate the robust nature of the profession and practice today.”

AGI recently has grown to embrace 50 member societies, reflecting roughly a quarter of a million geoscientists in the United States alone. The range of fields represented by these societies has broadened as well, including space scientists, geographers, geophysicists, soil scientists, hydrogeologists, paleobotanists, educators, geobiologists, geoscientists involved in human health, and information specialists. To learn more about AGI, please see

AAPG Recognizes Top
Earth Science Teachers

The American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) and the AAPG Foundation, longtime Earth Science Week partners, will award $5,000 at the April 2012 AAPG Annual Convention to an individual teacher for “Excellence in the Teaching of Natural Resources in the Earth Sciences.”

All entries must be postmarked no later than November 1, 2011. Local and regional selection of candidates will be made by AAPG’s affiliated Societies and Sections. AAPG society affiliates must provide their candidates directly to their AAPG Section. Societies must contact their AAPG Section for their respective submittal deadline.

Teachers may apply directly to their local AAPG affiliated society or if they do not know their local society should submit their entries to Tulsa by November 1 where they will be forwarded to the appropriate society for their nomination process. Local deadlines vary. Entries received too late for the current contest will be submitted for the following contest. To learn more, see

Thanks to Earth Science
Week’s Generous Sponsors

Thanks to the generosity of sponsors who support our efforts, Earth Science Week is able to promote awareness and appreciation of the geosciences among over 45 million people every year. AGI would like to express its appreciation to the many government agencies, nonprofit groups, and corporations that make the program possible.

Earth Science Week couldn’t do its important work without the support of organizations such as the U.S. Geological Survey, National Park Service, AAPG Foundation, U.S. Department of Energy, ExxonMobil, and Esri. In addition, year after year, Earth Science Week Toolkits are purchased in bulk for distribution to educators by organizations such as NASA, the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists’ Carolinas Section, and Loudon County Public Schools.

To learn how your organization can become an Earth Science Week Sponsor, visit online. To order Earth Science Week Toolkits for teachers in your area, go to

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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