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

October 2013 News and Notes

This month's photo shows a ground penetrating radar survey being completed at a cemetery in Media, PA. 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:

From the PAESTA President - Mapping Our Way

So as the fall rolls in, so does our annual conference!  Looking at our agenda for the conference, I am really looking forward to all that will be available to our conference attendees this year.  Our theme of the conference is Mapping Our Way as Educators: Leaders In and Out of the Classroom.  As teachers, we are all leaders within our classrooms and are constantly striving to employ the best practices.  At PAESTA, we want all of our teachers to push forward and be leaders outside of the classroom as well.  The theme of our conference focuses on both of these aspects of our teaching.  All of our workshops will highlight either a classroom practice or a way to step outside of the comfort zone of our classrooms and get involved.  The addition of a second keynote session allows us to tackle both topics as well.  Our morning keynote address by Dr. Bauman will explore how we can use scientific practices that are necessary to use inquiry in our classrooms.  Our afternoon keynote by Dr. McDonald and Ms. Lewis-King will focus on leadership opportunities available to teachers.
          The theme of our conference was developed to complement the “Mapping Our World” theme of this year’s Earth Science Week.  Earth Science Week will be held from October 13 – 19, 2013 and I want to take this opportunity to highlight some of the ideas teachers have to celebrate Earth Science Week on our monthly forumHow are you and your students celebrating Earth Science Week?  What activities will you be doing to demonstrate how mapping professionals use maps to represent land formations, natural resource deposits, bodies of water, fault lines, volcanic activity, weather patterns, travel routes, parks, businesses, population distribution, our shared geologic heritage, and more?  We would love for you to share your ideas with the rest of the group!!!
          I look forward to seeing all of you both at the conference and on the discussion forum!

Kelly Hunter - PAESTA President

PAESTA Conference News - Live Stream of the Morning Keynote

Can't make it to the PAESTA Conference? Disappointed that you won't be able to hear David Bauman give his keynote on Scientific Thinking in Earth and Space Science? For the first time, we are going to be doing a live stream of one session from the PAESTA Conference! Visit this page at the PAESTA website no later than 9:30AM on Saturday, October 5, to link to the live stream of our morning keynote.

October PAESTAR - Pennsylvania Earth Science Teacher Achievement Recognition

This month, we recognize Adam Durant, 7th and 8th grade science teacher that started at The Meredith School in Philadelphia last year.  In the words of his nominator: "He has been a breath of fresh air. Overall, I would say that his biggest impact is the continued improvement of the Meredith students' work for the end of the year science fair. The projects are more clearly organized, objectives are more often measurable, and the presentations were more attractive and easier to follow. In the classroom, Mr. Durant is efficient, organized, and enthusiastic about science. He is thought of as fun, creative, and fair.  His lessons are organized and include a regular review session and well developed PowerPoint presentations on the topic of the day. Students are rewarded for hard work and for improvement. Mr. Durant's homework is also seen as reasonable and well organized. He gives students choices on each assignment and encourages students to delve deeply into the topics at hand.

"My one hope for Mr. Durant is that he continue the trend he started early last year to make his lessons as hands on and experiential as possible." We at PAESTA hope Mr. Durant continues this excellence in the classroom as well.

Congratulations, Adam - you are clearly a PAESTAR!

James Hutton: Mapping Time and Thought

Charles Darwin is a household name.  Isaac Newton has one of the largest monuments in Westminster Abbey.  James Hutton, the Father of Modern Geology, on the other hand is a bit less well-known.  Describer of the rock cycle and developer of the concept of deep time, Hutton mapped local rock formations to gain a better understanding of Earth processes.

While whatever fame he has garnered comes from his work in geology, Hutton was also a philosopher of the Scottish Enlightenment.  He was an acquaintance of poet Alison Rutherford and engineer James Watt and also met regularly for discussions with preeminent empiricist, David Hume.  Among his closest friends was Adam Smith, the Father of Modern Economics, with whom he shared many walks around Arthur's Seat Volcano in Edinburgh.

To give your students some background on Hutton and his scientific contributions, visit

For further exploration of the effects of Hutton's ideas on other aspects of the Scottish Enlightenment, visit Education Scotland's site at site includes descriptions of many notable figures from the movement, short videos on their achievements, and a look at how their contributions changed the Western world.

NAGT Maps Out Earth Science Week

The National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) is getting ready for Earth Science Week’s 2013 theme of “Mapping Our World” with more than 100 free classroom activities using maps. Teachers can find lessons online for kindergarten through grade 12. Activities include contemporary mapping tools like Google Earth and GeoMapApp as well as topics such as GIS and Mars geology.
To view these resources and learn more, visit the Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College at

Reserve the Giant Map of Pennsylvania

The PA Alliance for Geographic Education introduces the Giant Map of Pennsylvania—free to teachers, schools, and other non-profit groups interested in exploring Pennsylvania by foot. The map (30 feet x 20 feet) depicts elevation, counties, cities, rivers, and major roads.  Currently, lesson plans are under development by PA Alliance teachers.  Go to their website to learn more about the map and to download a reservation form (teachers must be members of the PA Alliance and can join online for free). Visit:

Cassini Scientist for a Day Contest

Audience: Students Grades 5-12
Entry Deadline: Oct. 25, 2013

The Cassini Scientist for a Day contest challenges students to become NASA scientists studying Saturn. Participants examine three possible observations taken by Cassini and choose the one they think will yield the best scientific results. This year's targets are Saturn and its moons Iapetus and Dione. After researching the three options, students write an essay under 500 words explaining their choice.

The contest is open to all students in the United States in grades 5-12. The essays will be divided into three groups for scoring: grades 5-6, 7-8 and 9-12. All submissions must be students' original work. Participants may enter as individuals or as part of a team of up to four students.

For more information, visit .

Teachers' Domain moves to PBS LearningMedia

Many of us have been fans of the resources on Teachers' Domain, the online library of more than 1,000 free media resources from public television, such as NOVA, Frontline, Design Squad, American Experience. Teachers' Domain resources include video and audio segments, Flash interactives, images, documents, lesson plans for teachers, and student-oriented activities. Note that on October 15, Teachers' Domain officially moves to PBS LearningMedia ( You can continue to use your Teachers' Domain login to access these great resources!

Sustainability: Water - A New Video Series

The National Science Foundation (NSF) and NBC Learn have teamed up to produce a seven-part video series that examines significant challenges to managing the water supply in selected regions and cities across the United States.
As climate rapidly changes and population grows, providing a sufficient supply and quality of water will be a critical challenge to people everywhere. These videos aim to help advance public understanding of the effects human activity and climate variability have on water and its distribution system. The first video on The Water Cycle is especially worth checking out and sharing with students.
Sustainability: Water is freely accessible online at:

From our friends at NESTA! NESTA-NOVA Webinars

Join presenters from NOVA and NESTA for the second and third of a series of free webinars about Earth system science resources for middle school and high school educators!

Title: Mapping Our World
Date: Wednesday, October 16
Time: 6:00 PM EDT

Title: Sun's Energy & the Earth System
Date: Wednesday, October 23
Time: 6:00 PM EDT

Visit the following link to register:


We receive so many announcements about professional development opportunities, new and exciting classroom resources, and contests for students, that we cannot possibly pack all of those items in our monthly newsletter.  We encourage you to check the front page of our website often to review these new announcements.

Why not check out our website right now?

We also post highlights of the newest reports and discoveries in the Earth & Space Sciences, under the Science in the News column.  Stay informed about the latest earthquakes, climate reports, and natural disasters.
Copyright © 2013 PAESTA (Pennsylvania Earth Science Teachers Association), All rights reserved.
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