Earth Science Week Update December 2014

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 12, No. 12: December 2014

Earth Science Teaching Award: See the Webcast
* NGWA Offers Sprinkling of Ground Water Education
* National Fossil Day Contest Names Winners
* Smithsonian Education Digs Into Earth’s Soil
* NSF Offers Online Climate Change Resources
* SSA Resources Produce Seismic Shift in Learning
* Is Earth Science Education at Risk in Your State?
* Offshore Energy Center Offers Career Resources
* AEG Promotes Environmental and Engineering Geology
* Borrow a Burke Box, Teach Earth Science

Earth Science Teaching
Award: See the Webcast

With just over 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 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 2015 competition, applications must be postmarked by January 20, 2015. 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 March 2015 in Chicago to accept the award. To learn more, U.S. teachers should visit U.K. teachers should visit

NGWA Offers Sprinkling of
Ground Water Education

Besides advancing the expertise of ground water professionals, the National Ground Water Association (NGWA), an EarthScience 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 website 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 2014 National Fossil Day Art Contest were recently announced by the National Park Service, a major EarthScience 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 Week2010. Since then, the program has grown enormously in reach and resources for students and teachers. Plans already are being made for the next National Fossil Day on October 14, 2015. 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 relatedscientific 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 NationalScience Foundation (NSF) now offers a useful website.

“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.

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 websites, 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. How well does your public education system ensure that all students are taught important Earth science content?

“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

Offshore Energy Center
Offers Career Resources

The Offshore Energy Center (OEC) aims to expand awareness of the vast energy resources beneath the world’s oceans - and chronicle the heritage and technological accomplishments of the industry that discovers, produces, and delivers these resources in a safe and environmentally responsible way.

Based in Houston, Texas, OEC offers a range of educational resources for Earth science teachers ( For example, if you click on “Education” in the top banner and pull down the menu, you’ll find a Career Interest Profile that students can fill out to learn which energy careers dovetail with what they enjoy doing.

For hands-on exploration, check out OEC’s Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum and Education Center, located near Houston. To learn more, visit OEC online (

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
Borrow a Burke Box,
Teach Earth Science

Would you like to use instructional resources emphasizing the scientific method, geology, and paleontology? Through the Discoveries in Geosciences (DIG) program - a collaboration of Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture and the University of Washington - teachers are invited to borrow a Burke Box including scientific specimens, materials, and lesson plans.

Founded in 2010, the DIG Field School was developed by Dr. Gregory Wilson, assistant professor of biology at the University of Washington and adjunct curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, and UW Graduate Student Lauren Berg. To learn more about obtaining a DIG Box on loan, 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