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

August 2017 News and Notes

This month's image is from PAESTA member Timothy Gleason, a small stream through Shingletown Gap near State college, PA. 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:
From the PAESTA President - August happenings

There are many events taking place in August. Most notably, the winding down of summer break and thoughts of returning, hopefully energized, back to fall classrooms. The PAESTA website is always a great resource when you're in need of lesson ideas.

August 21st has been in the news and every social media feed I've come in contact with this summer. Unless you've been living under a beach shell, you'll recognize this date as the date of the solar eclipse. If you are lucky enough to observe this phenomenal event and can safely take pictures and/or a video, please share with the PAESTA website and let us live vicariously through you. Many of us will be either locked inside for in-service trainings or perhaps watching with our students as an internet stream feed. Learn more from the resources we have on our PAESTA page of resources for the eclipse which includes a link to a podcast by Penn State's Dr. Chris Palma.

Finally, please be sure to mark your calendar for the PAESTA Fall Conference happening at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania on Saturday, October 14th. Several IUP professors will be presenting noteworthy lessons, and our past president, Dave Curry, will be leading a Maury project lesson on measuring sea level from space. Finishing touches of the agenda are being put in place; look for the registration form mid August. Until then, enjoy what's left of summer!

-- Christie Orlosky, PAESTA President

PAESTA Past President receives OEST Award for PA and NAGT's Eastern Section 

We are thrilled to share that PAESTA Past President Kathy Tait (middle school teacher at J.R. Masterman School in Philadelphia) has been recognized by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) Eastern Section with their Outstanding Earth Science Teacher Award (OEST) for the state of Pennsylvania and for the entire Eastern section. Kathy was recognized by NAGT-ES at their meeting in May.

Outstanding Earth Science Teacher (OEST) awards are given for "exceptional contributions to the stimulation of interest in the Earth Sciences at the pre-college level." Any teacher or other K-12 educator who covers a significant amount of earth science content with their students is eligible. Ten national finalists are selected, one from each NAGT regional section.

Please continue to our PAESTA website to read more about the award and Kathy's citation. Congratulations, Kathy, for this significant honor!

GET INVOLVED: Be a citizen scientist and help NASA collect data during the solar eclipse

***NOTE that you do not need to be a certified GLOBE educator to participate in the eclipse observations (but you still need the appropriate eyewear!)

From The Globe Program  -  NASA invites eclipse viewers around the country to participate in a nationwide science experiment by collecting cloud and air temperature data and reporting it via their phones.

The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment, or GLOBE Program is a NASA-supported research and education program that encourages students and citizen scientists to collect and analyze environmental observations. GLOBE Observer is a free, easy-to-use app that guides citizen scientists through data collection.

“No matter where you are in North America, whether it’s cloudy, clear or rainy, NASA wants as many people as possible to help with this citizen science project,” said Kristen Weaver, deputy coordinator for the project. “We want to inspire a million eclipse viewers to become eclipse scientists.”

In order to participate, first download the GLOBE Observer app and register to become a citizen scientist. The app will instruct you on how to make the observations. Second, you will need to obtain a thermometer to measure air temperature.

Observations will be recorded on an interactive map.

To join in the fun, download the GLOBE Observer app After you log in, the app explains how to make eclipse observations.

To learn more about how NASA researchers will be studying the Earth during the eclipse visit

The GLOBE Observer Eclipse App

HHMI Spotlight on: Data Points  

Whether you’re planning new units for next year, or just want to incorporate more data literacy into your existing classes, check out HHMI BioInteractive's Data Points collection (

BioInteractive’s Data Points are a monthly series that features a graph or figure from a scientific journal article for students to interpret and discuss as a class. The student handout includes the figure, caption, and a short background description. The educator guide includes discussion questions and additional information to help you guide a class discussion.

View the following examples of Data Points to being your exploration: Trends in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide, Resistance to Coral Bleaching,  and Tracking Global Changes in Forest Cover.

From PBS LearningMedia - Life's Rocky Start: Minerals

Link to resource -

From WGBH, "Minerals are made up of elements that are essential to modern life. See minerals inside rocks and learn about their uses, in this video from NOVA: Life's Rocky Start. Look at thin sections of rocks, such as peridotite and basalt, under a microscope and see their mineral compositions. Designed for grades 6-8."

Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth

The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth hosts the best and most complete online collection of astronaut photographs of the Earth from 1961 through the present. Collections are also grouped into glaciers, volcanoes, impact craters, and more.

Begin exploring the photos and collections at:

Additional information on the PAESTA website and around the internet

We have lots of news and notices this month - too many to put in our newsletter! We encourage you to check out these announcements (and more!) on the PAESTA website:

Just How Deep Does the Ocean Go? (from Tech Insider)

Just how deep does the ocean go? Way further than you think. Tech Insider's animation puts the actual distance into perspective, showing a vast distance between the waves we see and the mysterious point we call Challenger Deep.   Here is the direct video link: A full TED-Ed lesson around this video can be accessed at:
Related TED-Ed videos with lessons include:

The otherworldly creatures in the ocean's deepest depths
How much of human history is on the bottom of the ocean?
Do you have any items or announcements to share in News and Notes? Contact us!
News and Notes Editor  --  Laura Guertin
News and Notes Assistant Editor  --  (vacant)
Copyright © 2017 PAESTA (Pennsylvania Earth Science Teachers Association), All rights reserved.

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