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

July 2014 News and Notes

This month's photo shows signs of recovery on a once-defoliated mountainside in Palmerton, Carbon County, near the site of the New Jersey Zinc operation. 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:


Congratulations to our newest elected officers, Kathy Tait (President-Elect) and Deanna Fogelman (Secretary/Treasurer)!  We welcome Kathy and Deanna to the PAESTA Executive Committee, and we are thrilled to have them join Laura Guertin as she moves from President-Elect to the President of PAESTA and Kelly Hunter as she moves from President to Past-President.

We will be sending out a formal conference announcement in mid-July, but mark your calendars now and
save the date for Saturday, October 4, 2014, as the PAESTA Annual Conference moves to a new location - State College, PA!
From the PAESTA President - A Welcome Podcast

Meet our 2014-2015 President of PAESTA, Laura Guertin! Please click here to listen to a welcome message and some short announcements recorded by Laura.

July PAESTAR - Pennsylvania Earth Science Teacher Achievement Recognition

This month, we recognize Valerie Adams, a sixth-grade teacher at John H. Taggart School in Philadelphia, PA. Valerie has used hands-on collaboration as an effective classroom strategy for her students to share their perspective on Earth science topics without the fear of criticism or being misunderstood. For her female students that still had a fear of sharing their ideas, Valerie started a Girl Power STEM group during the lunch period. She found the girls excited with the focused investigations and able to share their knowledge and understanding through Girl Power.

Congratulations, Valerie - you clearly are a

PAESTA Will Be at STEMathon!

The second annual STEMathon will be held in Camp Hill, PA, August 5-6.  We encourage all PA (and outside of PA) STEM educators to check out the conference and visit us at the PAESTA booth in the exhibit hall.  Click here to register today!

From the
STEMathon website: "STEMathon is the premier statewide conference for all disciplines of STEM education – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Attendees come from every corner of the state of Pennsylvania; as well as, surrounding states. Conference activities include world-class keynotes, breakout sessions on a wealth of STEM topics, and opportunities to network with the STEM leaders and visionaries that are transforming education."

On the first day of
STEMathon (Tuesday, August 5), activities and meals included in the conference registration are featured presentations, boxed lunch, networking reception, dinner, and an evening keynote. On the second day of STEMathon (Wednesday, August 6), activities and meals included in the conference registration are a morning keynote, continental breakfast, breakout sessions, and lunch. 

A Day at the Beach  

Summertime leads many to the beach.  This year while you're sipping lemonade at the shore, think of the fun learning your students could do through this natural lab setting.

Sand presents one such learning opportunity, and your students need not make it to the beach to make sense of the topic.  Simply gather sand from a few sea- or lakeshores this summer, and then let your classes explore.  Japan's JAMSTEC provides a website with a lot of student information about sand, complete with approaches for analyzing its composition.

To enhance your investigation and move beyond qualitative science, try applying probability and statistics to your study.  Younger students may calculate the percent of different mineral and biotic components in each sample.  High school upperclassmen could employ standard deviations and confidence intervals to more accurately communicate their findings.

For more information about the geology and ecology of "Pennsylvania's Only Seashore" on the coast of Lake Erie, view the Wildlife Watching section of the website for Presque Isle State Park


Free Professional Development Workshop at The Franklin Institute 

July 21-25, 9AM - 4PM, The Franklin Institute, Philadelphia

Join The Franklin Institute for a free Professional Development workshop specifically for grades 6-8 teachers. Areas of focus include chemistry, astronomy, landforms, and more. Space is limited, register today!


New STEM Careers Video Series: What Does it Take?

The GreenTreks Network has produced a video series on STEM-related careers, aimed at young people who might not realize that their interests align more closely with one of the fields of science, technology, engineering or math. The first two videos discuss careers in fisheries and as a federal wildlife officer.  The videos are on Vimeo ( and therefore will likely not be blocked in your classroom. Keep an eye on the website, where more videos and lessons will be added in the future!

The NASA Physics and Engineering Collection 

We know many of our PAESTA  members teach more than Earth and space science - we required a wide breadth of STEM knowledge! The NASA Physics and Engineering Collection, available on PBS LearningMediaâ„¢, contains 60 media-rich online resources designed to bring real-world applications of physics and engineering concepts into your classroom. Enhance your everyday lessons with: (a) Videos and interactive presentations drawn from NASA's vast collection of media resources; (b) Informational texts, discussion questions, and teaching tips to support the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core State Standards for literacy; and (c) Professional development resources that illustrate best practices and provide concrete models of effective teaching. Example lessons include Composite Materials for Space, and Space Dust-Proofing A Mars Rover. To learn more about the resources and how to integrate them into your curriculum, check out the Webinar.

Summer Watershed Education Workshops in PA State Parks

Watershed Education (WE) is an inquiry-based, interdisciplinary curriculum for students in grades 6 -12. Developed by the DCNR Bureau of State Parks, WE helps educators utilize local natural resources as a valuable teaching tool. By blending hands-on classroom and field investigations modeled on professional research methodologies, students participate in data collection and analysis, community networking and partnerships, stewardship and service learning activities. WE promotes in-depth learning and understanding of water resources while encouraging students to examine the watershed holistically.

Be sure to check out the WE summer workshop at Kings Gap Environmental Education Center on August 8 and 15.

Free Membership with the Citizen Science Association

Many of us involved our students in citizen science projects, from Galaxy Zoo to Project BudBurst. Now, you have the opportunity to become a member of a national organization that focuses specifically on citizen science projects! The Citizen Science Association is now inviting inaugural members. At this time, there is no cost for membership. As this new organization is being established (setting up bylaws, non-profit status, goals, etc.), inaugural members can help to shape the Association through opportunities to vote on key decisions about direction, priorities, and leadership. To learn about and join the Association click here. The organization will be holding its first annual meeting February 11-12, 2015, in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (San Jose, California).

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 the National Science Foundation's Science Nation: The Online Magazine That's All About Science for the People. NSF describes Science Nation as an examination "of breakthroughs, and the possibilities for new discoveries about our planet, our universe and ourselves: An artificial retina that can help the blind to see; new materials to build things bigger, better, lighter, and stronger; new ways to make our lives better without making the environment worse; and what we can learn from organisms that can live and thrive in frozen deserts or steaming-hot volcanic vents. Each week, Science Nation takes a dynamic, entertaining look at the research--and the researchers--that will change our lives." The Science Nation videos (<3 min each) are perfect to show to middle school through college-level students as an introduction to each topic.  Explore our PAESTA page that lists NSF-provided articles at: In the words of NSF, "science is never out of style--and there's never a "final frontier.""
Copyright © 2014 PAESTA (Pennsylvania Earth Science Teachers Association), All rights reserved.
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