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

May 2013 News and Notes

This month's photo was taken from one of the former streets that ran through Centralia, PA, looking towards a line of wind turbines.  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:

CALL FOR NOMINATIONS - President-Elect and Secretary/Treasurer of PAESTA

Announcement from Eliza Richardson, Past President of PAESTA: 
It is PAESTA election time! PAESTA members annually elect our President-Elect (who would then move into the organization's presidency for 2014-2015) and our Secretary-Treasurer.

All PAESTA members in good standing are eligible to run for these positions. You may self-nominate. Whenever possible, we seek at least two candidates for each position. You may email your nomination to Eliza Richardson ( Nominations are due by May 31. Each nominee will be asked to provide a short statement as to how he/she would like to contribute to PAESTA in the chosen position.

Elections are conducted electronically. Once the nominations have been received, the nominating committee will make available electronic ballots. All members in good standing are eligible to vote. For more information about our election process, please look at the section of the PAESTA Constitution entitled "Bylaw III - Elections" which may be accessed here:  Members of the PAESTA Nominations Committee include Eliza Richardson, Eric Aitala, and Dale Kraynak.

May PAESTAR - Pennsylvania Earth Science Teacher Achievement Recognition

This month, we recognize Abbey Dufoe, a May 2013 graduate of The Pennsylvania State University, earning her undergraduate major in Media Studies and minors in Environmental Inquiry and Civic & Community Engagement.  In her time as an undergraduate student, Abbey completed several research projects where she developed curricular materials and supporting resources now available on the PAESTA website, including five iBooks on topics relating to the hydrosphere.  Abbey presented her PAESTA contributions at the 2012 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco and has written an article for the Summer 2013 issue of The Earth Scientist.  Her work has earned her an Award of Honorable Mention from the Council on Undergraduate Research for being high-quality research among the top 10% of the undergraduate submissions from across the country and across all disciplines to CUR’s Poster on the Hill.  Abbey will begin a Master's degree this fall in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism at the University of Montana - after spending one last summer developing materials for the PAESTA Classroom.

Congratulations, Abbey - you are clearly a PAESTAR!

Uncovering Earth's Secrets: An e-book

Uncovering Earth's Secrets ( is a free children's picture eBook about the drill ship JOIDES Resolution. Written for kids in Grades 1-5, it shows how the JOIDES Resolution has allowed scientists to learn about volcanoes, earthquakes, extinction of the dinosaurs, and much more about the Earth. The book is available as a free download and can be viewed on iPads and other computer and tablet devices, including interactive whiteboards. Download through iTunes for the iBooks app or as a PDF file.

Views of the National Parks

Views of the National Parks is a program of the National Park Service designed to present the natural, cultural, and historical resources of our national parks. These presentations include a wealth of information and some fascinating 3-D views on subjects that focus on specific parks or cover broad-ranging themes. Select any of the presentations on parks such as the Grand Canyon and Petroglyph, browse them by subject such as Caves and Volcanism, or choose topics by location in the map room.

Be sure to stop by the Teachers' Lounge to peruse all of the lesson plans within Views, as well as applicable standards. Visit Views at:

Earth, Wind, and Lyre

From the ties between meteorology, biology, and geology to the links to the politics and economics of the Great Depression, few events offer as many cross-discipline opportunities as the Dust Bowl.

Life in America during the Dust Bowl has famously been captured in photograph, but the tales told in song are often overlooked.  Woody Guthrie, best known for his song "This Land Is Your Land," recorded numerous ballads about the human suffering, and many offer a glimpse of what a "black blizzard" looked like to those stuck within it. 

The Official Woody Guthrie Website offers some interesting lesson ideas on incorporating his songs into elementary and secondary science units.  Visit their website at to explore the idea of bringing music to science class.

Ask a Paleontologist - Dinosaurs Explained by the American Museum of Natural History

A video series on delves into the topic of dinosaurs; 30 short videos cover topics you may have always wanted to ask an expert: How were dinosaurs named? How fast did they move? Arising some 230 million years ago, the animals thrived until large dinosaurs became extinct about 65 million years ago. Why? In the video series, paleontologists Mark Norell, Michael Novacek, and Lowell Dingus explain extinction and much more.

Resources for soil education

The National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) operates a soil education web site ( with resources designed for both science educators and K-12 students.

Resources for the elementary level include lesson plans, links to soil education web sites, and even soil songs. To find educational items for grades K-6, visit

NRCS also offers a CD-ROM titled “Soils - Tools for Educators,” which includes soil facts, state-specific soil information, lesson plans, and more. The CD is designed for middle and high school instructors who are teaching Earth science, environmental science, or soil science. For more about the disk and free online resources for grades 7-12, visit

The Keeling Curve

To provide a resource for understanding the implications of rising CO2 levels, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego is providing daily updates of the "Keeling Curve," the record of atmospheric CO2 measured at Hawaii's Mauna Loa.

These iconic measurements, begun by Charles David (Dave) Keeling, a world-leading authority on atmospheric greenhouse gas accumulation and Scripps climate science pioneer, comprise the longest continuous record of CO2 in the world, starting from 316 ppm in March 1958 and approaching 400 ppm today with a familiar saw-tooth pattern. Before this,  CO2 levels had never exceeded 300 parts per million in the past 800,000 years.

Visit for background information about how CO2 is measured, the history of the Keeling Curve, and resources from other organizations on the current state of the global climate.

Follow @keeling_curve on Twitter for the most recent Keeling Curve CO2 reading in a daily tweet.

Have you checked out the PAESTA Classroom?

Be sure to check out the latest resource for our PAESTA members, the PAESTA Classroom!  Log in to the PAESTA website to be able to access and search the entire collection. Consider submitting your own classroom innovations to help fellow teachers with classroom ideas. For assistance in searching and submitting to the Classroom, please see the special issue of News and Notes.

PSTA now accepting conference proposals

The Pennsylvania Science Teachers Association (PSTA) is currently accepting proposals for presentations at their annual conference, to be held this year in State College, PA, December 4-6, 2013. The proposal deadline is May 30. Session applications can be submitted at:

SAVE THE DATE!  The 2013 PAESTA Annual Conference

The 2013 PAESTA Annual Conference will be held again at Penn State Brandywine in Media, PA, from October 4-5, 2013. Mark your calendars now! We are currently looking for PAESTA members interested in serving on the conference organizing committee.  Contact us at:
Copyright © 2013 PAESTA (Pennsylvania Earth Science Teachers Association), All rights reserved.
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