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

June 2014 News and Notes

This month's photo of a karst window was taken in Nippenose Valley. You can view this image and all past 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:


It is PAESTA election time! PAESTA members annually elect our President-Elect (who would then move into the organization's presidency for 2015-2016) and our Secretary-Treasurer. Please visit to cast your vote. You must be logged in to the PAESTA website in order to vote. Voting closes at Noon on Friday, June 27.


With a greater push for teachers to connect across disciplines and to integrate nonfiction reading and writing, we are creating an annual showcase that highlights outstanding student work with an Earth or space science theme in written or multimedia formats. Student work may be a narrative, an essay, a poem, a photo, a video… any piece of nonfiction generated by a student of a PAESTA member. We are looking for something beyond a scientific report (for example, we do not want a student paper on “The 1980 Eruption of Mount Saint Helens”), and the topic must be related to Earth and/or Space science.

We have a few submissions already - but we are looking for more to really showcase the excellence of our students and of Earth and space science teaching! To learn more about this program and how YOU can contribute the innovations of one of your students, please visit:

June PAESTAR - Pennsylvania Earth Science Teacher Achievement Recognition

This month, we recognize Christopher Hartman, a math and science teacher at Daniel Boone High School in Birdsboro, PA. Chris has consistently pursued professional development opportunities, such as the summer and academic-year programs offered through the Penn State Earth and Space Science Partnership. He also shows a strong commitment to the overall academic excellence of his students, having served as his school's Academic Challenge adviser since 2009. This year, against Berks County's sixteen public high schools, his students went undefeated until the final round before the state championship. 

Congratulations, Chris - you clearly are a

Summer 2014 Workshop - Discover! Art and Science Integration for the K-12 Educator  (July 20-25, 2014)

One of our PAESTA members, Dr. Erin Kraal, asked us to share with you this professional development opportunity - a week-long summer institute at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania that explores the integration of art and science across the curriculum. It is co-taught by Dr. Amy Wunder (art educator) and Dr. Kraal (geoscientist). This is the second year they have offered it, and the week is filled with labs on river processes, trips to New York City museums, and studio art instruction. This year they are excited to also have a 3-D lab printing activity! Please contact Dr. Kraal with any questions, and learn more at: You can also visit the blog from last summer's workshop.  Only a few spot remain - apply now!

Ocean Sampling Day (OSD) - June 21st

Ocean Sampling Day (OSD) is a simultaneous sampling campaign of the world’s oceans taking place on Saturday, June 21, 2014. In addition to the 100 plus science teams from all over the world OSD is engaging the public to join the OSD Citizen Science campaign (MyOSD) by collecting important environmental data. This data will help scientists get a better understanding of the world’s oceans. Anybody who is interested and has access to marine (or fresh) water can join MyOSD.

You can help scientists unravel the mysteries of the marine microbial world with a few simple steps:
  • get surface water with a bucket or container,
  • do the measurements of your choice (air temperature, water temperature, windspeed, salinity, Phosphate, Nitrate, Nitrite, pH, and Secchi depth – you don’t have to measure all of them, just choose which one you prefer),
  • enter the measured data in the free Smartphone App (see below) or write them down and upload your data and see all other data on the OSD mapserver.

Click these links for an overview of Ocean Sampling Day and for a video explaining MyOSD. To download the free OSD App go to: Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

From Cornwall to Corn Flakes

Owing to mines and furnaces like Hopewell and Cornwall, iron has contributed to the health of Pennsylvania's economy for 300 years and has given its name to villages (and even baseball mascots) around the state.  Iron is also essential to human health, with too little or too much in the body producing medical problems.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have a brief primer on iron dietary requirements available on their website.

To meet the need for iron in the diet, foods in the U.S. are fortified.  Since the Progressive Era, and growing in prevalence after World War II, fortification and enrichment have increased the intake of key vitamins and minerals.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers a look at this history and the technologies that have been used in their document, The Fortification of Foods: A Review.

If your students find it hard to believe there is metal in their meals, try putting this to the test by extracting the iron from a bowl of breakfast cereal.  Following a simple processing procedurestudents can remove the mineral from the food and hold the flecks of iron in their hands.  Educators at Women in Mining also suggest that this activity models the extraction of metals from their naturally-occurring ores, thus providing twice the benefits in one easy-to-swallow lesson.

Classroom-tested Arctic Climate Connections Curriculum Available for Free Download

The Arctic Climate Connections curriculum was developed by CIRES for high school audiences but is easily adaptable for middle school or lower college levels. The curriculum is classroom-tested, modular in design, data-rich, incorporates Google Earth and Excel as key tools, is based on authentic scientific data, uses active learning techniques, and includes hands-on activities. It is complete with assessments, answer keys, and a grading rubric. Classroom implementation showed that students were very engaged. Download the curriculum. Also available is a recording of a presentation from the scientist who collected the data that the curriculum is built on. Everything, including the presentation, is classroom-ready.

New Pterosaurs iPad App

A new, free iPad app, adapted from the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) exhibition Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs, offers information about the first vertebrates to take to the air. You’ll find interactive animations of the Mesozoic Era pterosaurs flying, walking, eating, and even showing off some of their sizable head crests. Multi-layered interactives let users explore pterosaur anatomy, habitats, and dramatic stories of discovery. Download the app for free at this site.

VIDEO:  A Primer on Hydropower

Our friends at the Switch Energy Project have a collection of short videos organized by energy topic and expert interviews. Dr. Scott Tinker, who you may recognize as the host of our 2012 PAESTA Conference Friday night movie, speaks for ~2 minutes with "Your Primer on Hydro."  The video is in Vimeo and not YouTube, so you can share this video with your students in class.  To view the video and additional hydro videos, visit:

Also from the Switch Energy Project... Online Curricula

Switch Energy Lab curricula ( is brought to you by their nonprofit partner the National Energy Education Development Project ( Used in conjunction with the Switch Energy Lab video series, NEED curriculum facilitates hands-on, problem-based learning in which students explore opportunities and challenges for energy resources. NEED has correlated all of their materials to The Common Core State Standards for English/Language Arts and Mathematics, as well as each state’s individual science standards. The curricula are broken down to grades K-4, 5-8. and 9-12.

Curricula topics include electricity, fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, coal), nuclear, and renewable (solar, hydro, biofuels, wind, geothermal).

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 NASA Space Place monthly articles. Explore our page that lists NASA-provided articles at:
Copyright © 2014 PAESTA (Pennsylvania Earth Science Teachers Association), All rights reserved.
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