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

August 2014 Elementary News and Notes

What does this month's photo, a granite column from the Pennsylvania State Capitol, have to do with Antes Creek and the Andaste Tribal Chief King Wi-daagh? You can view the answer to this question, the full image and past images geospatially located on a map at:

WELCOME to our fifth 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 July and August audio welcome messages from our new PAESTA President Laura Guertin! Laura will be recording a new message with organization news and updates each month that can be accessed from the PAESTA President's Podcast tag on our website.


Date: October 4, 2014
Location: The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, University Park, PA (Directions)

Register for the conference: September 26, 2014 deadline.
Submit a proposal to present: August 31, 2014 deadline.
Nominations for the PAESTA Award for Teaching Excellence: September 19, 2014 deadline.

Visit the conference website for the online forms to register and to submit your abstract and teacher nomination:

PLUS, check out our Conference Schedule page - more details are being added throughout the month. NEWLY ADDED: Friday evening observing at the Penn State rooftop observatory! SOON TO BE ADDED: A research lab tour and post-conference geology fieldtrip!  Stay tuned for these exciting updates and more!

FREE articles in Science and Children

NSTA's publication Science and Children is focused on teaching ideas and strategies for science in the elementary grades.  The following articles may be of interest and are available for FREE to non-NSTA members.
  • Observe, Explain, Connect - An interdisciplinary lesson using poetry and science highlights the parallels of the disciplines while developing literacy.
  • The eBook Hook - Use nonfiction eBooks to engage students in science research.
  • Assessing for Achievement - Formative assessments are woven throughout a series of lessons structured upon the 5E Instructional Model.
  • Wacky Weather - An integrative science unit combines science content on severe weather with the engineering design process.

Videos on Estuary Education helps educators bring the beauty and the importance of estuaries into classrooms and educational programs. Their website provides an avenue for elementary, middle and high school students, and their teachers, to learn more about estuaries, research, and explore NOAA’s “living laboratories” - the National Estuarine Research Reserves. View the Elementary-Level video collection and other sections of their site for educational materials.

NOAA Teacher at Sea Children's Books

The NOAA Teacher at Sea (TAS) program has a children's book series with the aim to make NOAA science understandable and exciting for students across the country. The first TAS book focuses on oceanographic and atmospheric research. The second book addresses hurricane research, and the third focuses on hydrographic research (mapping of the seafloor). The fourth and final book addresses fisheries research.  Content includes science and math activities, glossaries of terms and full-color images. Access the PDFs of all four books as well as a unit of lesson plans at:

The Minnesota Science Teachers Education Project

The Minnesota Science Teachers Education Project was a statewide professional development program for teachers of science. MnSTEP offered no-cost, grade-appropriate, standards-based summer science workshops for Minnesota K-12 science teachers. Topics included Earth Science, Biology/Environmental Science, Chemistry, Physics, and Inquiry and Assessment. The activities in their online collection are submissions written by teachers who participated in one of these summer workshops on science content and pedagogy. The activities reflect individual integration plans for applying newfound content knowledge and inquiry strategies directly in classroom curriculum and practice. We highlight some of their exaples below, but please visit their examples website for all activities.

AGI's Visual Arts Contest - "Earth's Connected Systems and Me"

For students in grades K-5.
Deadline: Friday, October 17.

Earth scientists — or geoscientists — study land, water, air, and living things. In particular, these scientists pay attention to the ways these “connected systems” affect each other. Scientists study, for example, how water shapes the land, how living things use air, and how air and water act on each other. Let's ask our students - how do these connected systems affect you? Let's challenge our students to use artwork (two-dimensional (flat) visual arts project no larger than 24 x 36 inches) to show how land, water, air, and living things are connected in the world around them. To learn more, visit:

Sesame Street Explores National Parks

In partnership with the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, Sesame Street has produced videos and an educators guide with activites around the themes of nests, seasons, families, and habitats. Each video includes a National Park ranger and includes imagery from Grand Canyon National Park and Gateway National Recreation Area. The videos and activities are designed for a younger audience.

You can catch additional science-themed Sesame Street videos from 5facts, such as 5 Fun Science Experiments (with Grover) and 5 Hidden Worlds Revealed Under a Microscope (with Telly).

Rock cycle visualizations

This webpage from the Science Education Resource Center (SERC) hosts a handful of animations for the rock cycle including metamorphic rock formation, clastic sedimentary rocks formation, igneous rock formation, and igneous rocks classification: You may be interested in additional resources at their Site Guide: Weathering and the Rock Cycle:

On the PAESTA website - did you know you can find...

Press releases written for students on scientific discoveries - what an excellent resource! Planet Press is an initiative from the European Geosciences Union (EGU) aimed at getting kids (mainly 7-11 year olds), parents, and educators interested in and engaged with up to date scientific research and news. Each Planet Press is reviewed by a scientist and educator to ensure the content is scientifically accurate and that the language used is appropriate for the 7-11 age range. For educators, these press releases can be used in the classroom to aid teaching about current subjects such as climate change or earthquakes and tsunamis, to make lessons more interesting and relevant by taking into account modern science and developments. To see previous Planet Press articles on our website, visit: Note that you will always be able to search for the latest articles on our website by using the "Planet Press" tag.

Space Scoop - Astronomy press releases for kids

We will share links and resources relating to Planet Press on the PAESTA website, but if space science is up your alley, then be sure to check out the equivalent service - Space Scoop!  Space Scoops are short news articles about astronomical discoveries, written in a child-friendly language and accompanied by a stunning astronomical image. The educational goals are to
  • Share the excitement of new discoveries with children.
  • Show that there’s still potential for contribution in the area.
  • Enhance understanding of the world and encourage critical thinking. 
  • Broaden children’s minds and cultivate world citizens.
Visit the Space Scoop page for stories, and learn how you can do a Space Scoop Storytelling activity with your students!
Copyright © 2014 PAESTA (Pennsylvania Earth Science Teachers Association), All rights reserved.
unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp