Earth Science Week Update February 2014

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 12, No. 2: February 2014


Independent Study Details
Earth Science Week Success

Earth Science Week once again succeeded in engaging education audiences and the general public in substantive, valuable geoscience experiences in 2013, according to an independent evaluation recently completed by PS International.

Comparing participation last year and plans for next year, 84 percent of survey respondents said they anticipate either increasing or maintaining level participation. Still, participants noted that their participation was limited by the federal shutdown, which coincided with Earth Science Week 2013. Survey respondents cited budget cuts and an inability to access key government web sites as obstacles.

A large majority of participants (87 percent) said Earth Science Week offers opportunities for teaching and promoting Earth science that they wouldn’t have otherwise. “[ESW] seems to raise awareness of the Earth sciences on a national level,” noted one participant. Similarly, 86 percent said program resources and activities are “very” or “somewhat” important to educating students and others about Earth science.

Seventy-eight percent rated the program’s overall usefulness as “excellent” or “good.” When respondents were asked to rate 20 key items from the Earth Science Week 2013 Toolkit and the program web site, all were rated “very useful” or “useful” by majorities of participants. To learn more, see Earth Science Week 2013 Highlights, coming soon at

ExxonMobil, AGI Offer
Training Opportunities

ExxonMobil Exploration and AGI are pleased to announce that they will be holding a K-5 Earth Science Teacher Leadership Academy in Houston, Texas, June 22-27, 2014. In addition, a Middle School Earth Science Teacher Leadership Academy will be held in Houston on July 20-25, 2014.

Each academy will provide teachers with Earth science content, hands-on activities, resources and field experiences that they can use with their students in the classroom and with their colleagues in professional development settings. Also, each academy has space for 28 participants and encourages participation in teams of four educators. Learn more online ( and

For each academy, science supervisors and principals are encouraged to nominate teachers by February 28. Please send names and e-mail contact information for nominees to Colin Mably, AGI, at Go online for the K-5 academy application form ( and the middle school academy application form (

NOAA Boosts Teaching
About Oceans, Atmosphere

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) promotes education about oceanic and atmospheric science - and not only during Earth Science Week. NOAA offers resources and opportunities for students and teachers all year long.

On the NOAA Education Resources site ( you’ll find teaching tools and materials on oceans and coasts, climate, weather and atmosphere, marine life, freshwater, and other special topics. A “Climate Science Activity Book,” for instance, offers 10 learning activities focusing on essential principles of climate science.

In addition, the portal provides access to multimedia resources, lessons and activities, real-world data, related articles, science career profiles, and other background materials. Whether you’re looking for science-based news coverage of recent extreme weather events or a social networking link to reinforce learning activities, NOAA is your source for oceanic and atmospheric science education resources.

Esri Helps Teachers
Map Out Education

Looking for cutting-edge geoscience resources for Earth Science Week 2014? Leading the charge to incorporate GIS (geographic information system) technology and mapping software in Earth science education, Esri is one of the many corporate partners of Earth Science Week.

GIS technology - which can illuminate features such as local geology, watersheds, and roads - can require some training before it can be used effectively. That’s why Esri offers instructor-led training classes as well as “virtual campus” web-based training courses.

Instructor-led classes are held in small groups at Esri’s training facilities worldwide, where attendees have access to knowledgeable staff and ample time to practice GIS skills. Virtual campus web-based training courses include software exercises, conceptual material, and instructional resources. For more information about training, go to To learn more about GIS and Esri, see

Energy Department Programs
Empowering Teachers

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), an Earth Science Week partner, provides learning opportunities for teachers and students at all levels. For example, DOE’s Energy Education & Workforce Development web site offers hundreds of K-12 lesson plans.

For standards-based activities covering topics from energy basics to biofuels, hydropower, and wind energy, check out DOE lesson plans ( The annual National Science Bowl ( tests middle and high school students’ science knowledge.

With laboratories across the country, DOE scientists and instruments offer valuable resources for geoscience education. DOE programs for educators include the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship, in which teachers work for a year in a congressional office or federal agency to improve science education. See more on DOE programs for teachers (

Festival, Kavli Launch
‘Science in Fiction’ Contest

The USA Science & Engineering Festival, in association with the Kavli Foundation, has launched the “Science in Fiction” video contest.

Using scenes from popular science fiction movies and TV shows, and video games, grade 6-12 students are invited to create 30- to 90-second videos that investigate how science fictional scenes could be realized using current and developing technologies. The video contest culminates in a popular awards show, hosted by Bill Nye, as part of the festival, which returns to Washington, DC, on April 26-27, 2014.

Entries are due by March 21, 2014. First prize is $2000 cash prize and a travel stipend to travel to Washington, DC, for the Expo. The second prize is $750, and the third prize is $500. The People's Choice Award prize is $250. For more information, see

OERB Provides Info on
Energy ‘Career Paths’

Formed by industry leaders working in cooperation with state legislators, the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board (OERB) provides materials and services to improve the lives of Oklahomans and others through education and restoration.

Since its inception over 20 years ago, OERB has shared its exciting energy curricula and safety messages with more than one million Oklahoma students. OERB educational resources such as the “Career Paths” web page provide information on careers in the Earth sciences.

As in many other parts of the country, Oklahoma oil and natural gas producers are aggressively seeking qualified professionals - geologists, geophysicists, environmental specialists, and more. Learn more about the many professional careers in the petroleum industry nationwide (

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Help NGWA Promote
Ground Water Awareness

Ground Water Awareness Week (March 9-15, 2014) will shed light on one of the world’s most important resources - ground water. Ground water is essential to the health and well being of humanity and the environment, according to the National Ground Water Association, an AGI member society.

To learn more about Ground Water Awareness Week, visit the Virtual Museum of Ground Water History ( or watch a “water well show” ( For additional educational activities and resources, create an account at

SSSA Offers Riches
Of Soil Science Education
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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 online educational resources tailored for teachers ( and for students ( Included are lessons, activities, fun facts, sites of interest organized by soil topic and grade level, and soil definitions for the novice soil scientist.

And you can visit the online version of “Dig It,” an SSSA-sponsored exhibition on soil from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. The exhibit 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 (

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Study Plate Tectonics,
Rock Cycle Online

The Geological Society of London (GSL), an international Earth Science Week partner, offers a pair of online resources for learning about key geoscience topics. Electronic map-based resources are the focus of GSL’s Plate Tectonics page ( In addition, a site is being launched to accompany GSL’s Rock Cycle online module (

Founded in 1807, GSL is the oldest geological society in the world. Learn more about GSL, the United Kingdom’s national society for geoscience, online (

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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