January 2013
News and Notes

Earth Science Education - At Risk?
Many public schools have dropped Earth science from the required curriculum in recent years. Employers have said they need more qualified candidates for geoscience jobs. Does your public education system ensure that all students learn important Earth science content?  AGI allows you to track the status of Earth science education nationwide. The Pulse of Earth Science website offers detailed, up-to-date information on geoscience education in every state, as well as guidance for advocates.

NOVA: Doomsday Volcanoes
In April, 2010 the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano turned much of Europe into an ash-strewn no-fly zone, stranding millions of travelers. But was Eyjafjallajökull just the start? Now, an even more threatening Icelandic volcano, Katla, has begun to swell and grumble. Two more giants, Hekla and Laki, could erupt without warning. Could the explosions of Iceland's volcanoes cause cold and famine worldwide? Tune in to Doomsday Volcanoes on PBS on January 2 at 9PM (a preview and related links available online).

US Drought Monitor
Help your students visualize the temporal and spatial extent of drought in the United States with the US Drought Monitor.  Maps include short-term and long-term drought indicators and animations.  State and regional maps can also be accessed.  For an excellent discussion on the definition of drought, visit the National Drought Mitigation Center.

Summer 2013 Nanotechnology Teacher Program at Penn State
In Summer 2013, the Penn State's Center for Nanoscale Science will host a Research Experience for Teachers (RET) Program from June 24 to August 02. Engineering, technology, science and math teachers with broad interests across disciplines focusing on nanotechnology are eligible to apply. The chosen teachers taking part in this six-week program will receive hands-on nanoscience and technology experience through research, with applications to bio-engineering, chemistry, electronics, materials science, optics, optoelectronics, physics, and life sciences. RET fellows are encourage to develop a lesson plan and/or modular curriculum based on their research topic.

Citizen Science, for Students and Teachers

"Citizen Science" programs are growing in terms of their numbers of types of opportunities. Teachers may be familiar with Project BudBurst and Project FeederWatch, but have you tweeted snowfall amounts, or measured tree diameters, or categorized satellite imagery of tropical cyclones?  Read below to find out how you and your students can contribute to these larger projects, or start a long-term database of measurements at your own school.

The Snowtweets Project

Turn snow days into data-collection days! Just using a ruler, students can engage in real-time science research with the snow and ice researchers at the University of Waterloo, Canada. Using Twitter, everyone across the globe is asked to tweet snow depths wherever you are located. The collected data can then be viewed in Google Earth. Visit The Snowtweets Project.

Join the Smithsonian Global Tree Banding Project!

Get involved in the Smithsonian Institution's Tree Banding Project, a citizen science program that contributes to research about tree biomass and will track how trees respond to climate. Students around the globe will monitor the rate at which their local trees grow and learn how that rate corresponds to Smithsonian research as well as comparing their work to other students world-wide. Once involved, participants will help to create the first global observatory of how trees respond to climate as well as contributing vital information to an important ecological study.  Visit the website to learn more about the project and how you can order your free kit to participate.

Cyclone Center needs your help!

This new crowd-sourcing project could use the assistance of some sharp-eyed teachers!  Climate scientists are asking for assistance in classifying over 30 years of tropical cyclone satellite imagery.  The global intensity record contains uncertainties caused by differences in analysis procedures around the world and through time.  Scientists are enlisting the public because patterns in storm imagery are best recognized by the human eye.  Learn more by visiting the Cyclone Center website, and see how quickly you can jump in and help.

January PAESTAR - Pennsylvania Earth Science Teacher Achievement Recognition

This month, we recognize Kathy Tait, a science teacher at the Julia R. Masterman School in Philadelphia.  For the past several years, Kathy has engaged with several Earth Science teacher workshops and has moved into leading workshops and projects for other teachers.  In 2010, Kathy presented her pedagogical innovations at a regional Geological Society of America conference in Pittsburgh, PA.  Her talk, titled "Dispelling middle school student misconceptions of Grand Canyon formation through hands-on activities," led to her publishing this work in the The Earth Scientist in 2011.  Kathy has continued in teaching curricular innovations to others as the lead organizer of a teacher workshop at the Franklin Institute in Summer 2012.

Congratulations, Kathy - you are clearly a PAESTAR!

5th & 6th Graders Needed as Judges for The Flame Challenge

Stony Brook University brings us the second Flame Challenge question: What is time?  The Flame Challenge is an international contest that asks scientists to communicate complex science in ways that can be understood by an 11-year-old.  The competition judges are... you guessed it, thousands of 11-year-olds in schools from across the globe.  Find out how to get your students to participate as judges.

Copyright © 2013 PAESTA (Pennsylvania Earth Science Teachers Association), All rights reserved.
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