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

November 2014 Elementary News and Notes

Glen Providence Park, the oldest park in Delaware County, PA, engages in streamside buffer plantings on Earth Day every year. These native trees, shrubs, ferns, and perennials, along with limestone blocks brought in from outside the area, help to stabilize the stream bank and control serious erosion. This project also creates a riparian buffer, improving wildlife habitat and water quality. You can view this image and past images geospatially located on a map at:

WELCOME to our sixth 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 September, October and November audio welcome messages from our 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.  The latest podcast shares exciting information about our annual Award for Teaching Excellence winner, and our 30th PAESTAR (who happens to be an elementary school teacher in PA!)

PAESTA Conference Wrap-Up

Did you miss the conference?  Not to worry, you can access some of our speaker presenter files at our website.  Be sure to follow-up with them if you have any questions!

Use EPA's Healthier Schools for Healthier Kids Program

You can take action to improve children's health at your school. EPA's comprehensive schools website offers all the resources you need to establish, maintain, or enhance a school environmental health program. Find guidelines, studies, and other resources at:

USGS Teaching Guide for Mineral Education

The U.S. Geological Survey has compiled a great resource for K-12 teachers on "The Life Cycle of a Mineral Deposit". The guide provides an overview of mineral science as well as several fun, edible activities for kids just learning about minerals. Visit:

PBS Video: Mae Jemison: The Cosmic Dance

*Science content appropriate for you and your students!

Mae Jemison is a physician, engineer, educator, entrepreneur and the first woman of color in the world to go into space - she was a NASA astronaut for six years. Currently Mae devotes much of her attention to the 100 Year Starship, which she says is "pursuing an extraordinary tomorrow to create a better world today." In her spare moments, Mae is a lifelong and accomplished dancer.

Learn about Mae's secret life!
View this <2 min video to hear how dance training can help an astronaut in space!

Play Climate Trivia with NASA's Space Place

How much do you know about climate science? Would you call yourself an expert? Would you dare call yourself a guru? There’s only one way to find out—play Climate Kids Trivia! Kids learn as they test their knowledge. Incorrect answers are comical and entertaining, and each question comes with a clear explanation. Get them all right and become a Climate Kids guru! Climate Kids is a NASA educational website about climate change and sustainability. It targets upper-elementary-age children.

Global Soundscapes for students to listen/record

The emerging field of "soundscape ecology" is documenting the types of sounds that occur in various major land use types and how planning and management might impact the quality and quantity of natural sounds in these environments. On the Global Soundscapes website (, students can listen to a variety of sounds recorded in rainforests, deserts, and urban areas over time. Students can search a world map to listen to sounds recorded across the globe, and they can contribute their own recorded sounds through a mobile app.

New NASA Educational iPhone/iPad Game - OFFSET

Check out NASA's latest educational game—OFFSET! Take matters into your own hands and help cut back on carbon emissions to slow the pace of global warming. Part pong, part resource-management, and 100% retro, this game is challenging, exciting, and educational. Players learn how the global carbon cycle works, about different sources of carbon, and about the ways alternative energy and reforestation can help offset those sources. And if a player wants to succeed, they will also learn the importance of having quick fingers and strong multitasking skills! Made for ages 9-11. Download here.

Science Friday Science Club: Observe Everything

SciFri’s Science Club challenges you to go out, do science, and share it with others. Sometimes you’ll make or build something. Other times you’ll investigate a question that experts might not even know how to answer. Using e-mail or social media, share your discoveries with other participants, then tune in to Science Friday to hear their panel of experts highlight the most interesting, significant, and unique findings or creations. Science Club is open to any interested individual, lab, institution, club, school, student, educator, or organization. You may want to explore the set up of their Observe Everything challenge to do with your students and/or with all students across your school!

From NASA Space Place - 3-D Gallery

What’s it like to be standing on the surface of Mars? What about floating outside a Space Shuttle or walking the surface of a massive asteroid? Well, the Space Place can’t take you to these places, but they have the second best option—3D images of them! Pick up a pair of red-blue 3D glasses and take a look at their latest image gallery. It has pictures from all around our solar system and from right here on Earth. The Space Place is a NASA educational website about space and Earth sciences and technologies. It targets upper-elementary-aged-children.

Watermelon Magic - a giant screen film on healthy food and farming for grades K-5

Watermelon Magic, filmed in southeastern PA and currently screening at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and at The Whitaker Center in Harrisburg, is about a little girl that grows watermelons on her family farm to sell at market. The movie website has a free Educator's Guide and several activities, and for PAESTA members attending the film, several free packets of watermelon seeds are being made available by the movie producer. The Watermelon Magic Educator’s Guide focuses on plant biology, applied mathematics, and making healthy food choices, and is designed to develop scientific reasoning skills for K-5 audiences. The 8-page guide aligns with the science, math and language arts skills specified by the Next Generation Science Standards, the National Common Core Standards, and the National Science Resources Center’s STC Curriculum. Visit the Watermelon Magic website to learn more about this unique film, and contact PAESTA President Laura Guertin ( for information on obtaining the free watermelon seeds.

View the movie trailer at:

NASA's Space Place: Where Does the Sun's Energy Come From?

Please visit our PAESTA website to view a short video and to download a poster for your classroom that answers the question: Where does the Sun's energy come from? To view additional short videos produced by NASA that explain basic scientific concepts, check out NASA's Space Place YouTube Channel.

Additional information on the PAESTA website

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:
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  --  Greg Collins
Copyright © 2014 PAESTA (Pennsylvania Earth Science Teachers Association), All rights reserved.
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