Earth Science Week Update October 2020

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 18, No. 10: October 2020


See Earth Science Week 'Earth Materials Frontiers' Webinars

In collaboration with the Mineralogical Society of America (MSA), the International Raw Materials Observatory, and additional partners, AGI invites educators, students, and geoscience enthusiasts of all stripes to participate in the "Earth Materials Frontiers" Webinar Series during Earth Science Week (October 11-17, 2020) and beyond.
This webinar series will cover an array of thought-provoking, timely topics relating to the Earth Science Week 2020 theme of "Earth Materials in Our Lives." Aimed at the general public and education community, the series features:

  • "Advances in the Mineralogy of Mars," Dr. Elizabeth Rampe, Johnson Space Center. (Recorded to premiere at 10 a.m. EDT, Monday, October 12, 2020)
  • "The Future of Data-Driven Discovery in Mineralogy and Crystallography," Dr. Shaunna Morrison, Carnegie Institution of Science. (Live at 2 p.m. EDT, Monday, October 12, 2020)
  • "Resources Beyond Earth: Enabling Future Exploration and the New Space Economy," Dr. Angel Abbud Madrid, Center for Space Resources, Colorado School of Mines. (On Demand with a live Q&A at 12 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, October 13, 2020)
  • "Gemology: Time Capsules Connecting Us Through History," Dr. Aaron Palke, Gemological Institute of America. (Recorded to premiere at 3 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, October 13, 2020)
  • "The Need and Solutions for Robots in Responsible Raw Material Exploration and Mining," Dr. Norbert Zajzon, University of Miskolc. (On Demand with a live Q&A at 12 p.m. EDT, Wednesday, October 14, 2020)
  • "New Insights Into Wire Silver and Gold Formation," Dr. John Rakovan, Miami University. (Recorded to premiere at 3 p.m. EDT, Wednesday, October 14, 2020)
  • "Consumers: The Most Potent Army Against Conflict Minerals," Vitor Correia, International Raw Materials Observatory. (On Demand with a live Q&A at 12pm EDT, Friday, October 16, 2020)
  • "May the Quartz Be With You," Shannon Mahan, U.S. Geological Survey. With an introduction by Sarah J. Ryker, USGS Associate Director for Energy & Minerals. (On Demand)
  • "The Global Supply of Critical Minerals: Assessing and Tracking Critical Mineral Commodities," Nedal Nassar, U.S. Geological Survey. (On Demand)

Selected on-demand webinars will have a live question-and-answer period with presenters. On-demand webinars will be available starting at 12 a.m., October 11, 2020.  Webinars will be available in 62 languages with multilingual captioning. Most webinars do not require registration. For more information, visit Earth Science Week Webinars.

All Earth Science Teachers Need: Education GeoSource

What's available for science educators and students back at school this fall? Education GeoSource — the most comprehensive collection of Earth science educational resources available online — features a wealth of offerings, courtesy of AGI, organizer of Earth Science Week.

The website provides Earth science educational activities, curricula, teacher professional development, education standards, virtual field trips, videos and animations, assessment materials, funding opportunities, award information, organization contacts, and additional resources. Education GeoSource boasts user-friendly functionality and offers more than 3,500 resources. The website makes it easy to find what you're seeking, for example, allowing users to search for activities by a given standard of the Next Generation Science Standards.

A major feature of AGI's Center for Geoscience & Society, the website's free geoscience education resources, curated from a variety of sources, are available with the or the tap of a finger. Visit Education GeoSource today.

Water Footprint Calculator Estimates Water Usage

Are you a "water waster"? Earth Science Week 2020 is helping you estimate your water-usage habits with the GRACE Communications Foundation's Water Footprint Calculator. This tool illustrates how activities we do every day impact water use.

Do you drive to work? Do you prefer showers or baths, and how long do you take them for? Do you eat meat? So much of what we do, from shopping to dishwashing, uses water. The Water Footprint Calculator asks a series of questions about your day-to-day life, calculating the number of gallons used after each question. Watch a background water graphic rise (or fall) as you answer each question. The site also provides facts about water usage and tips to lower your footprint.

Whether you're a water waster or water warrior, The Water Footprint Calculator is a fun tool to learn more about sustainability. The Water Footprint Calculator is available on desktop computers, as well as mobile and tablets.

Watch Exciting Video on Earth Science Week

To kick off Earth Science Week 2020 in style, watch the promotional video produced by AGI to trumpet the importance of the Earth sciences and the celebration's role in promoting public awareness.

Why is Earth science a big deal? How does Earth Science Week help promote learning and teaching about the subject? And what can you do to get involved? Find out in this brief, exciting, eye-popping video - and discuss what you're learning together.

View the Earth Science Week video. To see additional AGI videos relating to Earth Science Week, check out our Videos page.

Earth Science Week 2020 Contests Extend Globally

Earth Science Week continues to offer eligibility for its annual photography and video contests to international audiences. Individual members of all AGI Member Societies and members of AGI's International Associate Societies are eligible to participate in the photo contest, while the video contest is open to everyone. Though previously open only to residents of the United States, the contests have always been a major part of Earth Science Week, which this year is being celebrated October 11-17.

International members of AGI Member Societies and members of AGI International Associate Societies, as well as U.S. residents, are encouraged to enter this year's Earth Science Week photography contest. The video contest is open to national and international audiences of any age. These individuals are invited to use a camera to show how people of various backgrounds and abilities participate in geoscience. In addition, Earth Science Week offers contests in visual arts and essay writing, open to U.S. residents.

October 16 is the deadline to email and mail all submissions. AGI thanks the many hundreds of students, educators, and others who are entering this year's Earth Science Week contests. Winners will be announced in November. AGI will contact winners directly and recognize their success both on the Earth Science Week website and in this electronic newsletter.

Don't Delay: Order Your Earth Science Week Toolkit Today

Earth Science Week Toolkits are flying off the shelves! The kit contains everything you need to celebrate Earth Science Week 2020 (October 11-20) and explore Earth science education throughout the coming year. 

  • 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

The toolkit is free and available for the cost of shipping and handling. Order your Earth Science Week 2020 Toolkit today. For information on ordering, special shipping, bulk orders, and more, email AGI Publications at

'No Child Left Inside' Day Comes to Your Area

On the Tuesday of Earth Science Week, October 13, you can make sure there's "No Child Left Inside" (NCLI). Dedicate a day to safe outdoor activities enabling young people to experience the geosciences firsthand — during Earth Science Week or any time throughout the year.

To help, the NCLI Day Guide is now available in PDF format for easy printing and outdoor use. This free guide provides everything you need to start planning your own NCLI Day event, including 17 outdoor learning activities recommended for elementary, middle, and high school students.

Plan your own NCLI Day event, where educators and young people can wade into ponds, climb hills, or search the skies to learn Earth science. Find the NCLI Day Guide, including the PDF version, online. Have a great NCLI Day!

Explore 'Big Ideas' in Videos, Classroom Activities

AGI now offers award-winning videos and related classroom activities to help students, educators, and others explore the "big ideas" of Earth science during Earth Science Week 2020 (October 11-17) and all year long. Recently added are dozens of additional activities selected specifically to help educators teach about core concepts of Earth science.

Big Ideas videos are brief video clips that bring to life the big ideas of Earth science — the nine core concepts that everyone should know. The Earth Science Literacy Initiative, funded by the National Science Foundation, has codified these underlying understandings of Earth science which form the basis of the Big Ideas videos.

View the Big Ideas videos on YouTube. The Earth Science Week website provides related resources. Educators can find more than 100 classroom activities online to help students build understanding of the "big ideas."

Act Now to Win Award for K-8 Earth Science Teaching

Earth Science Week 2020 (October 11-17) wouldn't be so successful without the efforts of amazing Earth science teachers. That's why AGI is announcing details for its upcoming award competition, the 2021 Edward C. Roy, Jr. Award for Excellence in K-8 Earth Science Teaching.

Given annually, this award is presented to one teacher of grades K-8 in the United States or Key Stages 1-3 in the United Kingdom each year. The award recognizes leadership and innovation in Earth science education.

The winner of the Roy Award will receive a cash prize and an additional travel grant to attend the National Science Teaching Association Annual Conference in Chicago in April 2021. To be eligible, applications must be submitted by January 20, 2021.

The award is given in honor of Dr. Edward C. Roy, Jr., a strong and dedicated supporter of Earth science education. For more information on requirements, application procedures and deadlines, please visit online.

Geologic Map Day Boosts Mapping Education

You're invited to take part in the ninth annual Geologic Map Day by conducting learning activities along with teachers and students across the country on Friday, October 16, and throughout the year. New online is this year's geologic mapping activity, entitled "What's in a Name?"

Check out the Geologic Map Day poster included in the Earth Science Week 2020 Toolkit. The poster provides a geologic map, plus step-by-step instructions for the classroom activity, which emphasizes this year's theme, "Earth Materials in Our Lives."

Hosted by the U.S. Geological Survey, Association of American State Geologists, National Park Service, Geological Society of America, and NASA in partnership with AGI, this special event promotes awareness of the study, uses, importance of geologic mapping for education, science, business, and a variety of public policy concerns. Additional resources for learning about geologic maps can be found on the Geologic Map Day web page.

Thank You to Earth Science Week's Generous Sponsors

Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, Earth Science Week is able to promote awareness and appreciation of the geosciences among over 50 million people every year. AGI would like to express its appreciation to the many government agencies, nonprofit groups, and corporations that make the program possible.

Earth Science Week couldn't do its important work without the support of organizations such as the U.S. Geological Survey; NASA; National Park Service; AAPG Foundation; ExxonMobil; International Raw Materials Observatory; Newmont Corporation; International Union of Geological Sciences; Resourcing Future Generations; American Geophysical Union; Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences; AmericaView; Geothermal Resources Council; Consumer Energy Alliance; Geological Society of America; IF/THEN (Lyda Hill Philanthropies); Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration; Society of Exploration Geophysicists; and Water Footprint Calculator (Grace Communications Foundation); American Meteorological Society; and CLEAN (Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network).

To become an Earth Science Week sponsor or to learn more, contact AGI's Geoff Camphire at

Earth Science Week Closes With Day of Archaeology

Earth Science Week 2020 reaches its climax with International Archaeology Day on Saturday, October 17. Every October, the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) — an Earth Science Week partner — and archaeological organizations across the United States, Canada, and elsewhere present archaeological programs and activities for people of all ages and interests.

Whether it is a family-friendly archaeology fair, a guided tour of a local archaeological site, a simulated dig, a lecture or a classroom visit from an archaeologist, the interactive, hands-on International Archaeology Day programs provide the chance to indulge your inner "Indiana Jones." Check out educational resources on the International Archaeology Day website.


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.