Earth Science Week Update July 2020

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 18, No. 7: July 2020


Order Your Earth Science Week 2020 Toolkit Today

Place your order for an Earth Science Week 2020 Toolkit now. The toolkit contains everything you need to prepare for Earth Science Week 2020 (October 11-17), which celebrates the theme "Earth Materials in Our Lives." This year's toolkit includes:

  • 12-month school-year activity calendar, suitable for hanging
  • New Earth Science Week poster, including a learning activity
  • Factsheet on minerals in cellphones and Navy gear from USGS
  • NASA materials on water science and a poster on agriculture
  • National Park Service resource on paleontology in our parks
  • Factsheet from the Soil Science Society of America
  • Geologic Map Day poster dealing with Earth materials
  • Mineral Education Coalition material on mineral science
  • IRIS flyer dealing with seismology and earthquakes
  • AmericaView Earth materials board-game poster
  • Geothermal Resources Council poster on energy science
  • American Geophysical Union poster on environmental science
  • UNAVCO sticker and poster on geoscience measurement
  • Switch Energy Project sticky notes about energy science
  • Hydrology flyer from Nutrients for Life Foundation
  • Bureau of Land Management dinosaur coloring page
  • National Science Foundation worksheets on rocks and water
  • GemKids poster from Gemological Institute of America
  • Water Footprint Calculator information on water science
  • Forest Service, Paleontological Society, AIPG items and more

Toolkits are available for advance order now. The Earth Science Week 2020 Toolkit will begin shipping in August 2020. 

Order the Earth Science Week 2020 Toolkit today. The toolkit is free and available for the cost of shipping and handling. Pay just $8.50 for the first toolkit and $2.25 for each additional toolkit in the United States. See the AGI Store for special pricing on a multi-pack of three years' toolkits addressing different topics. For ordering, special shipping, bulk orders, and more information, email AGI Publications at

Launch of Minerals Day Coming Up October 12

AGI and the Mineralogical Society of America (MSA) are pleased to announce the launch of Minerals Day, taking place on Monday, October 12, 2020, during this year's Earth Science Week celebration. Minerals Day is being organized to raise awareness of and appreciation for minerals among the general public as well as students and teachers of all ages and at all levels.

Earth Science Week 2020, which celebrates the theme of "Earth Materials in Our Lives," provides an ideal opportunity to launch Minerals Day as part of this international celebration of the geosciences. AGI and MSA currently are developing materials, organizing outreach, and collaborating with geoscience partners in government agencies, professional associations, private corporations, and other groups - such as museums, libraries, and rock and mineral clubs, to name just a few - to gear up for the October premiere of Minerals Day.

"Minerals are essential to the world in which we live, as well as our understanding of geoscience," said AGI Interim Executive Director Sharon Tahirkheli. "By working together, AGI and MSA hope to reach a broad community of students, teachers, and partners and inspire interest in minerals and the role they play in our lives."

"Minerals Day activities will celebrate the beauty of minerals and highlight their uses in a wide range of products and technologies," added MSA President Carol Frost. "Minerals Day will also promote the many different careers that are available to experts in mineralogy."

At a time when families and educators alike are seeking new ways of providing young people with the education tools they need to succeed, AGI and MSA are proud to join forces through Minerals Day in rallying the minerals, mining, and mineralogical studies communities to help meet this challenge. In the coming weeks, look for a growing collection of Minerals Day information and resources on the new Minerals Day page.

View 'Why Earth Science' Online With Your Students

AGI's amazing "Why Earth Science" video is now available for free viewing online on YouTube and TeacherTube. For an exciting introduction to the geosciences, you can't do better than this six-minute clip, featuring eye-popping cinematography and computer-animation highlights from AGI's "Faces of Earth" mini-series on The Science Channel.

The video, which won a Silver Telly Award, is ideal for illustrating the importance of Earth science to students, parents, and community members who want to learn about the subject's place in your curriculum. View the clip on YouTube or on TeacherTube.

AMS DataStreme Project Offers Teacher Courses

The American Meteorological Society's Education Program invites K-12 teachers to enroll in content-rich professional development courses in weather, ocean, and climate science. With support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, DataStreme Project distance learning courses are available to teachers nationwide:

  • DataStreme Atmosphere focuses on the study of key meteorological concepts and dynamic weather events in near real-time.
  • DataStreme Ocean addresses the ocean's physical, chemical, biological, and geological properties and their effects on coastlines, ecosystems, and climate.
  • DataStreme Earth's Climate System explores the scientific principles governing the climate system and the ways humans interact in it.

Each course is 13 weeks, offered in fall and spring semesters. Courses are open to all K-12 teachers interested in promoting the teaching of Earth science. Located around the country, mentor teams select participants and help implement the courses each semester.

All participants earn three graduate credits per course from California of Pennsylvania University. Upon completion, participants are expected to share course concepts with other teachers, administrators, students, and members of the community, and promote the value of an Earth science education. Apply today for the Fall or Spring semesters. Learn more about the DataStreme Project.

'Visiting Geoscientists' Make Impact on Students

Are you an Earth scientist who wants to help educate young people about the field, but you're just not sure how to start? Check out "Visiting Geoscientists: An Outreach Guide for Geoscience Professionals," a handbook co-produced by AGI and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists' Youth Education Activities Committee.

Professional geoscientists such as geologists and geophysicists who visit with K-12 students or lead field trips - even virtually in this time of quarantine - provide unique enrichment opportunities, based on their education, experience, and firsthand knowledge of the workplace. Whether you work in a resource or environmental company, a research institute, a state or federal agency, or a college or university, you can make a difference.

Contact a local school and plan now for a "virtual visit" in the fall. The handbook offers strategies and resources. Various sections discuss how students learn science best, issues in Earth science education, recommendations for volunteers, sample activities, and more. To download the handbook, see "Visiting Geoscientists."

Free App Explores Ice, Sea Level Change

Why does sea level change at different rates? How has it changed in the past? Who will be at risk from more extreme weather and sea level rise in the future? Geoscientists often hear questions like these from students, government officials, and the media.

A free app called "Polar Explorer: Sea Level" lets users explore a series of maps of the planet, from the deepest trenches in the oceans to the ice at the poles. See how ice, the oceans, precipitation, and temperatures have changed over time and listen as scientists explain what you're seeing and why.

"We wanted to make climate data accessible and engaging to the public, for everyone from students to interested adults," says Margie Turrin, education coordinator at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, who designed the app with Bill Ryan, Robin Bell, Dave Porter, and Andrew Goodwillie. "The data is displayed in interactive maps with just enough guidance to support independent exploration." Learn more online.

Geologic Map Day: Celebrate on October 16

On Friday, October 16, 2020, you are invited to join in the celebration of the ninth annual Geologic Map Day! The final major event for the school week of Earth Science Week 2020 (October 11-17), Geologic Map Day will promote awareness of the study, uses, and importance of geologic mapping for education, science, business, and a variety of public policy concerns.

The event will enable students, teachers, and the wider public to tap into educational activities, print materials, online resources, and other opportunities for participation. Check out the Geologic Map Day poster included in the Earth Science Week 2020 Toolkit.

The poster provides maps, plus step-by-step instructions for related classroom activities encouraging students to explore how the names of places have been shaped by the availability and processing of raw materials, such as copper. Join us in celebrating the Earth Science Week theme of "Earth Materials in Our Lives" on Geologic Map Day 2020.

Geologic Map Day is hosted by the U.S. Geological Survey, the Association of American State Geologists, the National Park Service, the Geological Society of America, and NASA in partnership with AGI. Additional resources for learning about geologic maps can be found on the Geologic Map Day page.

EPA Site Boosts Environmental Education

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers a rich collection of education resources to boost public awareness and knowledge about environmental issues. The aim, according to EPA's Environmental Education website, is to provide the public with "the necessary skills to make informed decisions and take responsible action."

The site features lesson plans, videos, project ideas, teacher training, funding opportunities, and information on children's health and awards for students and educators. To learn more, visit Learning and Teaching About the Environment.

Engage Students With Geoscience Visualizations

How various kinds of learners become excited about the study of geoscience? For many students, visualizations can be an effective way of exploring "Earth Materials in Our Lives," the theme of Earth Science Week 2020 (October 11-17).

Visualizations are graphic depictions of data. Using technologies ranging from on-site data collection to satellite-based remote sensing, geoscientists investigate Earth systems. Additionally, geoscientists display their findings in visual media such as charts, diagrams, illustrations, videos, computer-generated animations, and 3D-printed creations.

Now you can explore human interaction with the natural world through "Visualizing Earth Systems," a recent addition to the Earth Science Week website. The page links you to dozens of recommended visualizations dealing with minerals, water, energy, climate, hazards, and other topics.

Visit the Visualizing Earth Systems page. In addition, the page links you to overviews of these topics provided by AGI's Critical Issues Program, featuring additional information on timely topics.

Online Videos Show 'Faces of Climate Change'

Three short online videos depict the dramatic changes in Alaska's marine ecosystems through interviews with scientists and Alaska natives. The videos were produced by the Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) Alaska, the Alaska Sea Grant program, the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, and the Alaska Ocean Observing System.

View "Faces of Climate Change - Introduction." See more at Alaska COSEE Resources.

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.