Earth Science Week Update February 2017


American Geosciences Institute

Vol. 15, No. 2: February 2017



Independent Study Details Earth Science Week Success

Earth Science Week succeeded in engaging education audiences and the public in geoscience experiences in 2016, according to an independent evaluation recently completed by PS International. Comparing participation last year and plans for the next year, 86 percent of survey respondents said they anticipate either increasing or maintaining level participation.

A large majority of participants (82 percent) once again said Earth Science Week offers opportunities for teaching and promoting Earth science that they wouldn’t have otherwise. Participants commented on the “new information” and “teacher Kits.” 

Similarly, 85 percent said program resources and activities are “very” or “somewhat” important to educating students and others about Earth science. “The ESW resources in the teaching toolkits are wonderful resources,” remarked one participant.

Seventy-eight percent rated the program’s overall usefulness as “excellent” or “good.” When respondents were asked to rate 15 key items from the Earth Science Week 2015 Toolkit, all were rated “very useful” or “useful” by strong majorities of participants. Online offerings received similarly high marks. To learn more, see Earth Science Week 2016 Highlights, coming soon.


ExxonMobil, AGI Offer Training Opportunities 

ExxonMobil Exploration and AGI will be holding a K-5 Earth Science/STEM Teacher Leadership Academy in Houston, Texas, June 25-30, 2017. In addition, a Middle School Earth Science/STEM Teacher Leadership Academy will be held in Houston on July 16-21, 2017.

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 25 participants and encourages participation in teams of two or more educators.

Learn more online. Scroll down to “Earth Science Teacher Leadership Academy” and click on the appropriate option (K-5 or Middle School).

For each academy, science supervisors and principals are encouraged to nominate teachers soon. Please send names and e-mail contact information for nominees to AGI’s Juliet Crowell at Nominees will be sent an online application form and given instructions on how to complete the application process. The priority review of completed applications will begin on March 10.


Esri Helps Teachers Map Out Education

Looking for cutting-edge resources to help you explore the theme of “Earth and Human Activity” during Earth Science Week 2017? Leading the charge to incorporate GIS (geographic information system) technology and mapping software in Earth science education, Esri is a key partner 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, see online. Learn more about GIS at Esri.


AGU On-Demand Offers Lecture, More

The American Geophysical Union, a longtime Earth Science Week Partner, offers “AGU On-Demand,” which provides free access to breakthrough research and scientific discussion presented at the AGU Fall Meeting - live-streamed and on-demand viewing - whenever you are ready to watch.

To gain access, simply register for free or log in. Once logged in to AGU On-Demand, you can navigate through the on-demand channels to browse the entire list of available presentations, including sessions from the 2016 Fall Meeting. There are dozens of Fall Meeting sessions now available on-demand, such as the public lecture, “How Do We Choose a Landing Site on Mars?”

For answers to non-technical questions, contact For technical questions, contact


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. 

At NOAA Education Resources you’ll find teaching tools and materials on oceans and coasts, climate, weather and atmosphere, marine life, freshwater, and other special topics. The “Water Cycle” page, for instance, offers multimedia resources, lessons and activities, real-world data, background information, and career profiles of water science professionals.

The portal likewise provides a wealth of resources on a wide variety of subjects. 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.


Implement NGSS With Achieve Resources, Tools

Tune in for a free webinar, “Achieve Resources and Tools for NGSS Implementation,” by Achieve Associate Director for Science Matt Krehbiel at 1 p.m. PT, 2 p.m. MT, 3 p.m. CT, 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 9, 2017.

A thoughtful and effective implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is overwhelming if you go it alone, but luckily there is a growing body of resources and tools that can help, according to Achieve. This webinar will highlight the resources and tools on Achieve's website that can help you to use the implementation of the NGSS as a lever to support advancing science education for all students in your classroom, building, district, and region.

The webinar is free, but registration is required. The registration deadline is March 7. For more information, visit online.

This webinar is part of a broader effort to support NGSS implementation. If you are involved with a curriculum development project related to NGSS in Earth and space science, we’d like to hear from you. We are interested in the “lesson learned” from NGSS development efforts in local and state contexts. Please contact Ed Robeck, AGI’s director of education and outreach, at to share your experiences and insights.


Help NGWA Promote Groundwater Awareness

National Groundwater Awareness Week (March 5-11, 2017) will shed light on one of the world’s most important resources - groundwater. Groundwater is essential to the health and well being of humanity and the environment, according to the National Groundwater Association.

To learn more about National Groundwater Awareness Week educational activities and resources, visit NGWA online.


SSSA Offers Riches of Soil Science Education

Over 6,000 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.


AAPG Offer Access to Distinguished Lecturers

With members ranging from professional geologists and corporate executives to students and academics, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) has plenty to offer Earth science educators. AAPG, a longtime AGI member society and a major Earth Science Week partner, aims to foster scientific research and promote the science of geology.

AAPG’s Distinguished Lecturers program, for example, allows colleges, universities, and geological societies to arrange for a geoscientist to make a presentation. For details, see AAPG online.


Reminder: Survey on Earth Science Calendar

Make your voice heard! Thank you for making use of our instructional materials, including the Earth Science Activity Calendar that is included each year in the Earth Science Week Toolkit.

Want to help make next year’s calendar an even better instructional tool for you and other participants? We will use your input to help guide a potential redesign of this publication. Please take just one minute to complete the four-question survey by 5 p.m. today.



The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of 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 online. To subscribe to this newsletter, visit online and submit your email address.