Earth Science Week Update March 2017

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 15, No. 3: March 2017


Earth Science Teaching Award Winner Announced

M.J. Tykoski, an eighth grade teacher at Cooper Junior High School in Wylie, Texas, has been named the 2017 recipient of the Edward C. Roy, Jr. Award for Excellence in K-8 Earth Science Teaching. Tykoski earned her master's degree in educational leadership from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona. She is a member of several professional organizations, including the Texas Earth Science Teachers Association, and is the recipient of numerous grants and awards. She was a finalist for last year's award.

"Ms. Tykoski has proven - through her teaching and her professional engagement outside the classroom - to be a champion for science educators and a strong defender of Earth science curriculum," said Allyson Anderson Book, executive director of the American Geosciences Institute. "We are delighted to present her and her school with this award."

The award will be given in April to Tykoski at the National Earth Science Teachers Association's Friends of Earth Science Reception during the National Science Teachers Association 2017 National Conference in Los Angeles. Finalists for the award were Troy J. Simpson of Glenn Raymond School in Watseka, Illinois, and Chad Pavlekovich of Salisbury Middle School in Salisbury, Maryland.

Given annually, AGI's Edward C. Roy, Jr. Award recognizes one classroom teacher from kindergarten to eighth grade for leadership and innovation in Earth science education. The award is named in honor of Dr. Edward C. Roy, Jr., who was a strong and dedicated supporter of Earth science education.

AGI's 'Faces of Earth' Series in HD on YouTube

Promoting understanding of the Earth Science Week 2017 theme of "Earth and Human Activity," AGI has released its award-winning "Faces of Earth" series on YouTube in full High Definition allowing wider use in K-12 classrooms. From the cacophony that originated Earth 4.6 billion years ago to the changes that shape it today, AGI's "Faces of Earth" explores the natural processes of planet Earth - and humans' relation to those processes.

"Building the Planet," episode one in the four-part series, travels back in time and strips away layers of Earth to witness the explosion that formed the planet. Earthquakes rumble, volcanoes explode, and lands transform as viewers explore the science behind plate tectonics in "Shaping the Planet," the second episode. In "Assembling America," the third installment, viewers explore how time and natural forces have shaped the United States.

Finally, in "A Human World," viewers learn how Earth has shaped human evolution and how humans, in turn, are shaping the world. Experience eye-popping imagery, exclusive interviews, and captivating commentary from distinguished geoscientists.

Earth Science Week at NSTA 2017 Conference

You're invited to visit the organizers of Earth Science Week in the Exhibit Hall of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Conference later this month in Los Angeles! We'll have materials and demonstrations dealing with Earth Science Week as well as information about additional curriculum, training, and other products and services available from the American Geosciences Institute.

The NSTA conference expo takes place at the Los Angeles Convention Center on March 30-April 2, 2017. Please stop by our booth for activities, resources, and information from AGI and our Earth Science Week partners.

Webcast Details 'Focus Days' of Earth Science Week

What does Earth Science Week 2017 have in store for you? Each day during the week, you can focus on a different area of Earth science. Go online today to view a new webcast about the "Focus Days" of this year's celebration:

  • International EarthCache Day (Sunday, October 8)
  • Earth Science Literacy Day (Monday, October 9)
  • Earth Observation Day (Tuesday, October 10)
  • National Fossil Day (Wednesday, October 11)
  • Geoscience for Everyone Day (Thursday, October 12)
  • Geologic Map Day (Friday, October 13)
  • International Archaeology Day (Saturday, October 14)

This free webcast provides an overview of opportunities, activities, and resources available. The roughly four-minute tutorial includes a wealth of online links, which viewers can click during the presentation to review available resources. 

To view the webcast, visit . In the coming months, look for additional webcasts on Earth Science Week 2017: "Earth and Human Activity." Learn more about Focus Days.

World Water Day: Celebrate, Study With WEF

Today is World Water Day! Celebrate and learn about clean water with the help of the Water Environment Federation (WEF). Polluted water and inadequate sanitation kill result in two deaths every minute worldwide, making clean water critical for sustaining life, according to WEF. 

The association's website provides a wealth of educational information. Key offerings include Education Resource Links and Regional Resources. Visit the Water Heroes page to meet real-life professionals who keep water resources clean and safe.

WEF is a nonprofit association that provides technical education and training for thousands of water quality professionals who clean water and return it safely to the environment.

AAG Offers Geography Resources for Teachers

The Association of American Geographers (AAG), an AGI member society, offers an array of web resources for K-12 and college-level instruction. These materials support geographic approaches to Earth science education:

  • The Geographic Advantage, an educational companion for the National Research Council's "Understanding the Changing Planet," outlines teaching strategies and geographic investigations that show students how geographers explore environmental change and sustainability.
  • AAG's Center for Global Geography Education, offers online modules for undergraduate courses in geography and related social and environmental sciences. All modules feature a conceptual framework, regional case studies, and collaborative projects.
  • GeoSTART helps middle- and high-school students develop geography, Earth science, and spatial thinking skills using NASA Earth Observing Missions remote sensing imagery and related data. Go online for free activities and materials.

Introduce Students to 'Sustainability Scientists'

Looking for a way to celebrate Earth Day with a focus on the geosciences? There's no better way than by exploring the Earth Science Week theme of "Earth and Human Activity." And the California Academy of Sciences is offering a free live online event allowing you to do just that on April 21 and 27.

Earth supports life - plants and animals, including humans. So, how do we humans take care of Earth just like it takes care of us? You can connect with Academy Sustainability Scientists who are studying that question. This one-hour program explores the innovation and ingenuity of individuals across the planet who are designing ways to support ecosystems and communities.

Students will build and reflect upon their own ideas on impacts of one of the biggest impacts on Earth's ecosystems - feeding all humans. Throughout the program, students will be challenged to design simple, personal solutions for minimizing impacts while meeting the needs of humans, as well as other plants and animals on our planet. By the end of the program, they will have created their own Planet Hero Action Plan.

Students will have an opportunity to ask Academy Sustainability Scientists about their curiosities regarding food production, environmental impacts, and designing solutions to such challenges. Sign up today.

Young Meteorologist Program Targets Learning

PLAN!T NOW's Young Meteorologist Program takes students on a severe weather preparedness adventure where they encounter lightning, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and winter storms - all while learning about severe weather science and safety.

Developed in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service and the National Education Association, the program shows young people how to prepare for severe weather. A digital evolution of the National Weather Service's Owlie Skywarn initiative, the program features an interactive online game starring a 21st-century Owlie, who helps young people learn about preparing for real-life severe weather and natural hazards.

Players who complete the game earn a Young Meteorologist Certificate. Young Meteorologists are shown opportunities to put their knowledge to work in hands-on activities and community service projects.

IRIS Reaches Students at 'Teachable Moments'

Want to delve into the science behind current events with your students? Start with a visit to a website operated by the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), an Earth Science Week partner.

IRIS offers a set of online resources - Recent Earthquake Teachable Moments - dealing with recent events of particular interest to seismologists, such as the magnitude-7.9 earthquake that shook Papua, New Guinea, on January 22, 2017. View PowerPoint presentations, animations, and visualizations, as well as links to Spanish-language materials and USGS data. Additional resources address other quakes worldwide.

Founded in 1984 with National Science Foundation support, IRIS is a nonprofit consortium of over 100 universities engaged in the acquisition, management, and distribution of seismological data.

Examine Natural Systems in 'Windows on Earth'

Science teachers and students might want to gaze through "Windows on Earth," an online educational project that features photographs taken by astronauts on the International Space Station. Each day, astronauts take hundreds of photos - many focusing on "Earth and human activity" - for science research, education, and public outreach.

This web site provides free public access to virtually all of these photos, updated at least weekly. The site is operated by TERC, an educational non-profit, in collaboration with the Association of Space Explorers (the professional association of flown astronauts and cosmonauts), the Virtual High School, and CASIS (Center for Advancement of Science in Space). Technical support is provided by NASA's Crew Earth Observation Program.

Windows on Earth also operates software on the International Space Station, as a window-side aide to help astronauts identify priority targets for photography. The images help show Earth from a global perspective. All images are in the public domain, credited to NASA.


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.