Earth Science Week Update December 2020

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 18, No. 12: December 2020


Earth Science Week 2021 Theme Announced

AGI is pleased to announce that the theme of Earth Science Week 2021 will be "Water Today and for the Future." The coming year's event, to be held October 10-16, 2021, will emphasizes the importance of learning how to understand, conserve, and protect water, perhaps Earth's most vital resource.

"Water is essential for life on Earth," AGI Education and Outreach Director Edward C. Robeck said on announcing the theme. "While more than 70 percent of Earth's surface is covered by water, most of it is saltwater in oceans. Only about 3 percent of the water on our planet is freshwater, and most of that is in glaciers, the atmosphere, or otherwise inaccessible, leaving less than 1percent of the total available for use by people and other living things."

Earth Science Week 2021 learning resources and activities will engage young people and others in exploring the importance of water - and water science - for living things, Earth systems, and the many activities that people undertake. Individuals of all backgrounds, ages, and abilities will be engaged in building understanding of water's role in timely topics including energy, climate change, the environment, natural hazards, technology, industry, agriculture, recreation, and the economy.

Raising awareness of the geosciences nationally and around the globe, AGI leads Earth Science Week in cooperation with its sponsors and the geoscience community as a service to the public. Each October, community groups, educators, and interested citizens organize celebratory events. Earth Science Week offers opportunities to discover the Earth sciences and engage in responsible stewardship of the Earth. Learn more online.

National Fossil Day Contest Names Winners

Winners of the 2020 National Fossil Day Art Contest - "Life of the Paleozoic Oceans" - were recently announced by the National Park Service, a major Earth Science Week partner. You can view the artworks of winners online now.

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 13, 2021. 

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. View the webcast now.

Given annually, this award is presented to one teacher of students ranging from kindergarten through grade eight in the United States or Key stages 1-3 in the United Kingdom. The award recognizes leadership and innovation in Earth science education.

The winner of the Roy Award will receive a monetary prize of $2,500 and a travel grant of up to $1,000 to attend the upcoming National Science Teaching Association National Conference in Chicago, April 8-11, 2021. To be eligible, applications must be submitted by January 20, 2021.To learn more, teachers can view guidelines.

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.

Global Change Offers Wildlife and Woodlands Toolkit

The U.S. Global Change Research Program's "Climate Change, Wildlife and Wildlands Toolkit for Formal and Informal Educators" updates and expands the program's award-winning and popular kit, first published nearly 20 years ago.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in partnership with six other federal agencies - National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA, NASA, U.S. Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management - developed the kit to aid educators in teaching how climate change affects the nation's wildlife and public lands, and how all Americans can become climate stewards.

Designed for classroom teachers as well as informal educators in settings such as parks, refuges, forest lands, nature centers, zoos, aquariums, and science centers, the kit targets the middle school grade level. To get started, view a video, browse kit materials, and explore eco-regions nationwide online.

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.

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. Go online to view the guide.

AAPG Recognizes a Top Geoscience Teacher

Who will be named the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) Foundation's 2020 Teacher of the Year? Could it be you?

AAPG Foundation, a longtime Earth Science Week partner, annually awards $6,000 to its Teacher of the Year. Granted to a K-12 teacher within the United States who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the field of geoscience education, the 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, 2021. Learn more online.

Picture 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.

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!

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.