Earth Science Week Update November 2020

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 18, No. 11: November 2020


Earth Science Week 2020 an Extraordinary Success 

While exact figures are still being tallied, it is estimated that more than 50 million people again gained a new awareness of the geosciences through the 23nd annual Earth Science Week last month. Amid a global pandemic, the event celebrated the theme "Earth Materials in Our Lives" by exploring the relevance of raw materials to individuals and society.

To support teachers and students laboring under challenging pandemic conditions, AGI and partners organized an "Earth Materials Frontiers" Webinar Series for Earth Science Week, bringing the latest developments in the field to a wider audience. In addition, AGI partnered with the Mineralogical Society of America to launch Minerals Day on the Monday of Earth Science Week 2020.

Events throughout the week featured students conducting learning activities led by teachers and educators at science centers and museums on various Focus DaysGeoscience for Everyone Day enabled geoscientists to share the excitement of their careers with communities underrepresented in the field. And the ninth annual Geologic Map Day engaged students in learning about vital uses of geologic maps.

If you conducted a special activity to celebrate Earth Science Week, let us know. Your activity can be featured in the Earth Science Week 2020 Highlights Report, which will be posted online and used to help secure support for the program in the future. Please email information, news clips, and images to

Earth Science Week Contest Winners Announced

Justin Xu of Sugar Hill, Georgia, won first place in the Earth Science Week 2020 visual arts contest. Finalists were Teagin Costanzo of Mauldin, South Carolina; Everett Lee of Fargo, North Dakota; Elizabeth Xu of Sugar Hill, Georgia; and Nathan Xu of Clyde Hill, Washington. Students in grades K-5 made two-dimensional artworks illustrating how Earth materials play a role in their lives.

Alex Xu of Clyde Hill, Washington, won first place in the photo contest. Finalists were Evan Costa of Chepachet, Rhode Island; Ella Giguere of San Carlos, California; Tori Judy of Belmont, California; and Jessica Malkin of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Submissions illustrated the theme "Earth Materials in My Community." 

Akhshith Rengaraju of Aurora, Illinois, won first place in the essay contest. Finalists were Korina Cortezano of Virginia Beach, Virginia; Archelaus Paxon of El Paso, Texas; Rachel Xu of Gainesville, Florida; and Clara Zabik of Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Students in grades 6-9 wrote essays of up to 300 words exploring ways people can develop practices and policies that allow them to derive practical value from raw materials while maintaining community values.

Isabella Van Deman and Faith Qin (team) of Virginia Beach, Virginia won first place in the video contest. Finalists were Achyut Balaji of Hillsboro, Oregon; Shreya Dhanala of Folsom, California; Jeremiah Johnson-Reynolds of Blythewood, South Carolina; Sri Utami of Pamukkale, Denizli Province, Turkey. Individuals and teams created brief, original videos that show how people of various backgrounds around the world make the most of Earth materials.

Congratulations to the winners, finalists, and hundreds of students and others who entered. Each first-place winner receives $300 and an AGI publication. Entries submitted by winners and finalists are posted online.

Check Out Center for Geoscience & Society

AGI's Center for Geoscience & Society aims to enhance geoscience awareness by generating new approaches to building geoscience knowledge, engaging a wide range of stakeholders, and creatively promoting resources and programs. Explore the website's two main components:

  • Education GeoSource offers access to geoscience resources from a variety of providers. The goal is to provide visitors with the widest possible collection of curricula, classroom activities, teacher professional development opportunities, science education standards, virtual field trips, teaching ancillaries and much more.
  • The Critical Issues Program provides a portal to decision-relevant, impartial geoscience information. By aggregating material from multiple organizations in one place, the Critical Issues website makes it easier for users to find comprehensive information from across the geosciences. Critical Issues features easy-to-digest peer-reviewed summaries, answers to common questions, and links to more detailed resources.

Earth Science Week Posting on Twitter

For all kinds of geoscience news, resources, and opportunities, follow Earth Science Week on Twitter! To sign up for instant updates from Earth Science Week, please log-in to your Twitter account and follow us on @earthsciweek.

If you don't have a Twitter account, you can sign up online. All you need is your name and email address to get started!

AGI's Workforce Program Illuminates Geoscience

AGI, organizer of Earth Science Week, operates a Geoscience Workforce Program that collects and publishes geoscience workforce data, supports students focusing on the geosciences, supports university-level geoscience departments, and offers geoscience career information.

AGI collects data about the human resources of the U.S. geoscience community. The central component of this effort is the Directory of Geoscience Departments publication, now in its 54th edition. Gathering data on the supply and demand of geoscientists, AGI works with organizations and agencies to ensure that the health of the profession is understood.

Outreach efforts not only help students make a well-informed decision about studying the geosciences, but also recruit top quality students to the geosciences as well as prepare current students for entering the geoscience workforce.

The Geoscience Workforce Program supports academic geoscience departments by providing critical data on enrollments and degrees, comprehensive information about faculty, and collaborating with AGI member societies to host webinars on critical issues for department chairs.

AGI also provides information on careers in the geosciences for the public, educators, and interested students. Find out more online.

AMS CAT Courses Cover Weather, Oceans, Climate

The American Meteorological Society (AMS), an Earth Science Week partner, now offers a Certified AMS Teacher (CAT) Program to professionally recognize teachers who have satisfied select educational requirements and are actively engaged in raising Earth science literacy.

The CAT Program is underpinned by AMS Education Program courses which offer teachers the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of weather, ocean, and climate science.

Teachers who have already successfully completed any two online AMS DataStreme courses or the summer courses, Project Atmosphere or the Maury Project (now Project Ocean), are already eligible to apply. Learn more and apply at the CAT website.

Cool Online Resource Available from NASA

NASA has a new online science resource for teachers and students to help bring Earth, the solar system, and the universe into their schools and homes. Called NASA Wavelength, the site features hundreds of resources organized by topic and audience level from elementary to college, and out-of-school programs that span the extent of NASA science.

Educators at all levels can find educational resources through information on standards, subjects, keywords, and other details, such as learning time required to carry out a lesson or an activity, cost of materials and more.

Teachers can identify resources relevant to specific themes and current events, such as lessons dealing with NASA's Curiosity rover or using Earth science resources. Visit online for access to NASA Wavelength. Learn more about education programs at NASA STEM Engagement.

Answering the Question: Why Earth Science?

AGI's "Why Earth Science?" virtual brochure promotes awareness of the importance of Earth science in K-12 education. In clear, concise language, this publication explains to students why they should study this significant discipline.

The virtual brochure is offered in both English and Spanish. If you're a science teacher or guidance counselor who would like to share this publication with students, go online now.

"Why Earth Science?" explains the importance of Earth science education for success in school, careers, informed decision-making, and civic engagement. To view or download the virtual brochure, visit AGI's Educational Resources. Offers News and Info on Earth Science, a longtime Earth Science Week partner, provides a variety of geoscience materials including daily Earth science news, maps, an online dictionary of Earth science terms, and information on geoscience careers.

Also on are resources for teachers, including links to lesson plans from major Earth science organizations such as the U.S. Geological Survey, the Geological Society of America, and NASA. View's Teaching Earth Science.

Earth Science Week Toolkit a Great Holiday Gift

Looking for a gift for an Earth science teacher, a science-minded young person, or geoscientist friend? Supplies of this year's Earth Science Week Toolkit are running low - but you can still order copies of the Earth Science Week 2020 Toolkit containing dozens of materials that can be enjoyed throughout the year!

Focusing on the theme "Earth Materials in Our Lives," the Earth Science Week 2020 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

Copies of the toolkit are free and available for the cost of shipping and handling ($8.50 for the first kit, $2.25 for each additional kit in the United States). For ordering, special shipping, bulk orders, and 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.