Earth Science Week Update December 2019

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 17, No. 12: December 2019


Earth Science Teaching Award: See the Webcast

With a little more than 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. You can view the webcast today.

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 2020 competition, applications must be postmarked by January 22, 2020. The winner will receive a $2,500 prize and a travel grant of $1,000 to attend the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) Annual Conference in April 2020 to accept the award. To learn more, teachers should visit online.

AMS Offers Teacher Professional Development

The American Meteorological Society (AMS), an Earth Science Week partner, is promoting two teacher professional development programs focusing on the atmosphere and oceans in 2020.

Project Atmosphere is a comprehensive teacher professional development program based on studies in the atmospheric sciences. It is directed toward improving teacher effectiveness in generating interest and understanding in science, technology, and mathematics among students at pre-college levels.

Project Ocean is a teacher professional development program based on studies of the physical foundations of oceanography. It is directed towards improving teacher effectiveness in generating interest and understanding in science, technology, and mathematics among pre-college students.

Applications should be submitted by March 27, 2020. Questions should be directed to

National Fossil Day Contest Names Winners

Winners of the 2019 National Fossil Day Art Contest - "Extinct Giants and Survivors of the Last Ice Age" - were recently announced by the National Park Service, a major Earth Science Week partner. To view the artworks of winners, please visit the website.

The National Park Service teamed up with AGI to launch the first annual National Fossil Day during Earth Science Week 2010. 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 Wednesday, October 14, 2020. Learn more online.

AAPG Recognizes a Top Geoscience Teacher

Submit your entry now! The American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) Foundation, a longtime Earth Science Week partner, will award $6,000 to its Teacher of the Year in 2020.

Granted to a K-12 teacher within the United States who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the field of geoscience education, the Teacher of the Year Award consists of $3,000 for school use under the teacher's supervision for educational purposes and $3,000 for personal use by the teacher.

To be eligible, teachers must: have at least three years full-time teaching experience and currently teach at a U.S. K-12 school; and teach one unit per year on natural resources (unit must fit the definition of natural resources).

The application deadline is January 31, 2020. To learn more, see the program website.

More 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? Visit the Earth Science Week Classroom Activities page - continually updated and recently redesigned - for more than 200 free learning activities, most of them contributed by the leading geoscience agencies and groups that are Earth Science Week partners.

Activities 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." Search by grade levels and Next Generation Science Standards. Maybe most useful, you also can search among 24 categories of Earth science topics, such as energy, environment, plate tectonics, and weathering.

This 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 Earth Science Week's Classroom Activities page.

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?

Too 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.

Find Your Photos Online for Earth Science Week

Want to see yourself and your students on the Earth Science Week website? Simply send us photographs from your Earth Science Week celebrations and activities (along with any required permission forms). We'll post selected images on the Earth Science Week Photo Gallery.

By submitting a photo, you represent that the image is an original work, and you are the sole owner of all rights to the photo. You also agree to allow AGI to use your name to post on the AGI website, without compensation unless prohibited. You retain your rights to the photo but grant to AGI a royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual, nonexclusive license to publicly display, distribute, reproduce and create derivative works of the photo, in whole or in part, in any media now existing or later developed, for any AGI purpose, including, but not limited to, advertising and promotion. AGI will not be required to pay any additional consideration or seek any additional approval in connection with such uses.

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 from the website and send your photos to See you 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 AEG online.

See Yourself in an Earth Science Career

Earth Science Week can help you explore career opportunities in the geosciences. If you became an Earth scientist, for example, what would you actually do? What funds are available to help pay for your studies? How could you get real-world work experience while still being a student?

For the answers to questions like these, look no further than "Geoscience Career, Scholarship, and Internship Resources." This recent addition to the Earth Science Week website can help you learn how to build a geoscience career - in fields such as oceanography, paleontology, seismology, mineralogy, meteorology, geophysics, petroleum geology, environmental science, and space science.

The site includes dozens of links to online resources offered by AGI member societies, program partners, and other governmental, corporate, and nonprofit organizations in the geoscience community. To learn more, visit online.


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.