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

July 2013 News and Notes

This month's photo was taken in Oil Creek State Park, along Oil Creek.  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:

WELCOME! - From PAESTA's New President, Kelly Hunter

"It is with great pleasure that I am beginning my term as President of PAESTA.  PAESTA has been dedicated to the advancement of Earth and Space Science education since its creation.  Our past presidents have grown PAESTA from its first few members to our current 270 members spanning eleven states.  We had our first annual conference last year and are continuing work on the second conference.  I am so excited to begin my term and to continue to advance the hard work done by all of PAESTA's past presidents.  As we look forward, I hope to expand PAESTA's membership even more and to take PAESTA on the road throughout the state. Remember to mark the conference on your calendar for October 4 - 5, 2013 where we will be "Mapping Our Way As Educators: Leaders In and Out of the Classroom".  And, as we continue to grow, please feel free to contact me with any suggestions or ideas you may have that can help make our organization better.  I am excited  for the upcoming year with all of the excitement and challenges ahead and look forward to seeing everyone in October!"

July PAESTAR - Pennsylvania Earth Science Teacher Achievement Recognition

This month, we recognize Greg Collins from Southern Lehigh High School in Center Valley. In the short time of PAESTA's existence, Greg has stepped up as one of PAESTA's most dedicated leaders and innovators. Greg has been serving as the PAESTA News and Notes Assistant Editor, adding recommended curricula to each issue and taking on the task of creating a database of all recommended resources. In addition to tracking our eNewsletter accesses, Greg proposed to the PAESTA Executive Committee the addition of an elementary grades-focused edition of News and Notes, which will begin in August 2013. PAESTA is also exploring several suggestions from Greg to increase PAESTA's membership and visibility across the state.

Congratulations, Greg - for all of your contributions to PAESTA, you are clearly a PAESTAR!

Geology and the Battle of Gettysburg

The start of July marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War's Battle of Gettysburg.  Studying the campaign in a historical and literary context are common in the Pennsylvania classroom, but the importance of geology to the battle is not often a subject of focus.  The position taken by the Confederate troops at Seminary Ridge and the formation of the Union Fishhook were largely determined by terrain and make good examples in studying geomorphology.

On the National Park website (, they offer a brief description of some of the key geologic features at Gettysburg.  For a much more detailed look at how these features were formed, see the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources' publication, "Geology and the Gettysburg Campaign."  The publication is available at

If you're looking for ideas on how to implement these concepts in the classroom, the PA Department of Education's SAS portal offers a ready-made lesson aimed at secondary school students.  See the lesson, complete with supporting materials, here:

Head to the Beach and Explore Foraminifera

If you are heading to the beach this summer, our friends at HHMI have an activity for you! Grab a handful of sand on your summer beach vacation, look under the microscope, and you may see tiny shells. They might be the shells of foraminifera (click here to learn more about foraminifera). Download the poster, “Foraminifera: Earth’s Microscopic Recordkeepers,” to learn more about these fascinating organisms and what they can tell us about Earth’s history and climate change.

USGS Natural Hazards Video Collection

The U.S. Geological Survey has quite a multimedia collection with items related to potential dangers from both natural processes (e.g., earthquakes, floods, and climate change) and human impacts on the environment. The collection includes over 200 videos. Check it out:

Smithsonian to Close Its Life in the Ancient Seas Hall

Life in the Ancient Seas at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History will close permanently on September 30, 2013, as the Smithsonian begins the Fossil Halls renovation. Over 1,000 marine fossils, including trilobites, a mosasaur, and an early penguin will remain on view for only three more months. It is worth planning a summer trip to Washington, DC to capture images of these amazing fossils one final time.  Information about The Ocean Through Time can be found at the Smithsonian's Ocean Portal website.  Read more about the hall and the new T. rex coming on exhibit at the PAESTA website.

NBC Learn - Science of Innovation

NBC Learn, in collaboration with the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, explores the process of innovation. These short, online videos are freely available at: Specific topics include Synthetic Diamonds, Fuel Cell Efficiency, and What is Innovation? For related lesson plans by the National Science Teachers Association, open each video and click on the "Lessons" tab on the right of the video window.

Additional free resources from NBC Learn include the Changing Planet and Science Behind the News video clips and activities.

PAESTA Announcement - a new eNewsletter!

At PAESTA, we listen to comments and feedback to make sure we provide services and resources helpful to our members. You have spoken, and we have listened! Starting in August, we will be producing an elementary school edition of our eNewsletter. The newsletter will have content and recommended resources appropriate for younger grade levels and will come out four times a year. If you are interested in contributing to this new eNewsletter and/or serving as the Assistant Editor for this exciting new resource, please contact us at

New on the PAESTA Website!

Under the PAESTA Member Forum, we have added new discussion boards specifically asking for stories on successful field trips with students, and a PAESTA Conference attendee introduction. Be sure to log in and share your information!

We have also created a new page on our website called Regional Resources ( with links to Pennsylvania clubs and organizations, as well as sites for field trips and professional development. If you have any sites to add to this list, please fill out the online Contact Us form.

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS!  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! Our conference theme is: "Mapping Our Way as Educators: Leaders In and Out of the Classroom." We are now accepting conference registration and session proposals! Learn more at:
Copyright © 2013 PAESTA (Pennsylvania Earth Science Teachers Association), All rights reserved.
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