Committed to the advancement, extension, improvement and coordination of Earth Science education across all levels

November 2015 Elementary News and Notes

Past PAESTA President Kelly Hunter presenting in the PAESTA Strand at the Regional NSTA meeting held in Philadelphia, PA. You can view this image and additional conference images at:

WELCOME to our latest issue of Elementary News and Notes!

We are thrilled to continue addressing the needs of our members that teach in the elementary grades, while at the same time sharing these resources appropriate for scaling up to more advanced students. We are always looking for recommendations of resources! If you have a map or activity you use with your students, please share your suggestion with us so that we can share it across the PAESTA membership!

HELLO from the PAESTA President!

For our PAESTA members that only receive our quarterly Elementary issues of News and Notes, be sure to check out the September and November messages in our monthly issues of News and Notes from PAESTA President Kathy Tait!  And if you have not yet heard, congratulations to our winners of the 2015 PAESTA Earth Science Week Essay Contest! Read the winning essays on the PAESTA website.

Congratulations to our 2015 teacher selected for the PAESTA Award for Teaching Excellence - Elementary school teacher Judith Treichler!

PAESTA President Kathy Tait (left) presented presented Judy Treichler (right) this year's PAESTA Award for Teaching Excellence at the annual PAESTA Conference in Philadelphia in November. Judy teaches 12th and Marion Elementary School in Reading, Pennsylvania, and is our organization's first elementary school teacher to be honored with this award. Congratulations, Judy!

NESTA and three of its state affiliates (including PAESTA!) are organizing a topical session at the Northeastern Section - Geological Society of America annual conference in Albany, New York, March 21-23, 2016. The session, "Connecting K–12 and Higher Education: What Teachers Need, What Faculty Can Offer," will bring together educators to identify what K-12 teachers need for resources and professional development, what faculty can provide in terms of content expertise and opportunities, and why partnerships are essential to the future of Earth Science. Abstract deadline is December 8, 2015. Add your voice to the session and let higher education faculty know what you need for your students, your classroom, and your professional development! Learn more at Please contact Laura Guertin ( with any questions about the meeting or session.

Thinking Spatially Using GIS

This summer, Esri released an updated edition of Thinking Spatially Using GIS (with ArcGIS Online) for elementary geography and science classes. It is free and requires no login or software installation. The lessons are for a one-student-to-one computer/device learning environment, and they are designed for fourth and fifth grades but may serve younger or older learners based on reading level. Activities are teacher-friendly and include a student worksheet and assessment. Learn more at:

Elementary school teachers will also find the Magellan Crosses the Atlantic Ocean worksheets for students and teacher’s guide from Thinking Spatially Using GIS useful in their classes.

Register your 5th & 6th graders to be judges in the international Flame Challenge! 

Early registration deadline: December 21, 2015 (guarantees a Flame Challenge poster and priority for World Wide Assembly invite)
Final registration deadline: March 21, 2016 (Schools may join after this date, but there is no guarantee for participation)

To register, CLICK HERE!

The Flame Challenge is an international competition where scientists answer the question in a way that is most appropriate for 11-year-olds. Entries will be judged by thousands of 5th and 6th grade schoolchildren around the world! Your students could be part of the judging team! Each year, The Flame Challenge picks a new question students around the world want to see answered and hundreds of scientists send in entries in written or video form. This year's question - What is sound?

Learn more about The Flame Challenge (and view the promo video), check out the FAQs for teachers, and don't forget to register today!

Educational tool kits for kids on Arctic environments and biodiversity, from the Arctic Council

The Arctic Council's Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) group has produced a series of educational resources to help children and their educators explore and understand Arctic ecosystems and processes. These educational resources consist of:
  • a pocket guide for children (aged 8-12)
  • an accompanying leader's manual for teachers, parents, siblings, and other instructors
The current collection of resources includes Life Linked to Ponds, Life Linked to Spring, and Life Linked to Tundra. To explore and download these resources, visit:

USGS Science Resources for Primary Grades (K–6)

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) web site contains selected USGS educational resources that may be useful to educators in primary school grades (Kindergarten to Grade 6). Many of these resources can be used directly in the classroom or will be useful in classroom lessons or demonstration activities preparation, or as resources for teacher education and curriculum development. Explore the collection at:

SERC websites aimed at the K-8 teacher community

The Science Education Resource Center (SERC) has lessons for K-8 students covering topics in Life Science, Physical Science, and Earth & Space Science. Search the entire collection of approximately 700 activities and lessons appropriate for K-8 students. Lessons are typically hands-on and include all necessary student handouts. Visit:
Do you have any items or announcements to share in Elementary News and Notes? Contact us!
News and Notes Editor  --  Laura Guertin
News and Notes Assistant Editor  --  Greg Collins
Copyright © 2015 PAESTA (Pennsylvania Earth Science Teachers Association), All rights reserved.
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