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

March 2014 News and Notes

This month's photo shows a cross section of a tree that came down during the February storms in Pennsylvania. Zooming in on the photo, you can see the tree rings. You can view this image and all future images geospatially located on a map at: 

Don't forget, YOU can have one of your Pennsylvania Earth science photos featured in our eNewsletter and on our website and social media sites! Visit this link to learn how:

March PAESTAR - Pennsylvania Earth Science Teacher Achievement Recognition

This month, we recognize KeriAnn Rubin for her work with Penn State University's Earth and Space Science Partnership (ESSP) and congratulate her as she finishes her Master’s degree in the College of Education at Penn State. Prior to entering graduate school, KeriAnn taught 7th and 8th grade at Saint Patrick School in Newry, where she received a FirstEnergy grant to purchase equipment necessary for students to measure energy consumption of common technological devices. While a member of the astronomy learning progression research group of ESSP, KeriAnn presented at the 2013 National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Regional Conference in Charlotte, NC, and has taken the lead on writing up and submitting an article to the peer-reviewed NSTA journal Science Scope. In the words of her nominator, “KeriAnn has really embraced and taken opportunities to learn astronomy content and is making really significant contributions to our research group. She’s been fantastic staying on top of all of the different aspects of the project we have asked her to take on.”

Congratulations, KeriAnn - you clearly are a

Any PAESTA Members Attending/Presenting at NSTA? 

The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) will be holding its annual conference in Boston from April 3-6, 2014.  Will you be attending and/or presenting?  Let us know - we want to highlight our PAESTA members heading to NSTA!  Be sure to look for PAESTA President-Elect Laura Guertin at the NESTA events and at her presentation on Sunday at 9:30AM, Boston Convention Center Room 260, for a presentation on Levels of Leadership for Teachers in Educator-based Organizations: An Example from the Pennsylvania Earth Science Teachers Association.

Advocacy Resource: Geology for Society

Aimed at policy- and decision-makers as well as the wider public, Geology for Society outlines the importance of geology to our society. This free PDF is available for download and highlights the following topic areas: geology for the economy, energy, water, mineral resources, engineering the future, environmental health, valuing and protecting our environment, geohazards, climate change, the Anthropocene, communicating geology, and geology for the future. You can access this Geological Society of London publication at:

The Climate Change In Focus Video Challenge for Middle School Students

The Environmental Protection Agency and the National Environmental Education Foundation have launched a new video contest that asks middle school students to produce a short video about why they care about climate change and what they are doing about it. Winning videos will be highlighted on the EPA website and the top 3 entries will receive cool prizes like a solar charging backpack. The first 100 contestants to enter will also receive a year’s subscription to National Geographic Kids magazine. The deadline for submissions is March 10. Visit the challenge website at for all the details.

Help NGWA Promote Ground Water Awareness

Ground Water Awareness Week (March 9-15, 2014) will shed light on one of the world’s most important resources - ground water. Ground water is essential to the health and well being of humanity and the environment, according to the National Ground Water Association, an AGI member society. To learn more about Ground Water Awareness Week, visit the Virtual Museum of Ground Water History ( or watch a “water well show” ( For additional educational activities and resources, create an account at

AMS Summer Workshop: Project ATMOSPHERE 

Project ATMOSPHERE is a free teacher professional development program offered by the American Meteorological Society’s Education Program. Directed toward improving Earth science literacy and teacher effectiveness by generating interest in science, technology and mathematics among students at pre-college levels, the two-week workshop is held at NOAA’s National Weather Service Training Center in Kansas City, MO. K-12 teachers who teach weather in the classroom are encouraged to apply and will receive three free graduate credits. The workshop will introduce teachers to the latest technologies and techniques for sensing, analyzing, and forecasting weather, as well as explore ways these concepts can be implemented in classrooms. Attendees will help promote weather education in their home regions by conducting training sessions in atmospheric science during the following school year.  The workshop runs July 13-25, 2014, and the application deadline is March 28.

Biofuels for the 19th Century 

While studying today's energy resources and looking to the fuels of the future, it can be helpful to reflect on the past.  From the 1750's through the mid-19th Century, the city streets of Philadelphia were lit not with kerosene or natural gas but with whale oil.  Using lamps perfected by Benjamin Franklin, many homes, factories, and towns across the country were illuminated by the brightly-burning fats of right and sperm whales.

American whaling was pivotal in the growth of the early United States.  As such, it provides a great opportunity for cross-discipline studies of energy science and oceanography with literature, history, sociology, and economics along with biology and chemistry concepts.

PBS offers several lessons tying whaling and ocean ecology to Moby Dick and colonial America on their American Experience companion site: Share the resource with your social studies and English colleagues for a more complete cross-discipline experience.

Photoglossary of Glaciers

A collaboration between groups in Switzerland and the United Kingdom has resulted in this fantastic online, illustrated glossary of glacial terms.  Filled with impressive images and definitions, this website is worth bookmarking for your students! This same website also has an introduction to glaciers of the world and other photo collections.

NASA ScienceCasts Video Series

ScienceCasts (, NASA’s new video series, offers middle and high school educators and the public a fast and fun way to learn about scientific discoveries and facts about Earth, the solar system, and beyond. The videos were produced by an astrophysicist and a team of agency narrators and videographers. The format is designed to increase understanding of the world of science through simple, clear presentations. The videos are accessible in YouTube, Vimeo, and available for download.

On the PAESTA Website - Did You Know You Can Find...

We want to make sure our membership is aware of all of the resources and opportunities we provide on our website.  Each month, we will highlight a website feature you may be interested in checking out, such as our listing of Contests that lists contests open to K-12 students as well as opportunities to present in science fairs.  Explore our page that lists student contests:
Copyright © 2014 PAESTA (Pennsylvania Earth Science Teachers Association), All rights reserved.
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