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

February 2014 News and Notes

This month's photo was taken at Tyler Arboretum in Media, PA, during maple sugaring season. 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:
From the PAESTA President - A Survey and Supernova

As we head further into the New Year, we at PAESTA are looking for your input. We are currently assessing our existing resources and features. You were recently sent a PAESTA member survey to help our Advisory Board and Executive Committee deem which of our features are most useful or important to you, our membership. We are looking to improve PAESTA more and more every year and your input on this survey is dire to our progress. We want PAESTA to be the number one source for all of your Earth and Space Science needs, but we need your feedback to help us achieve this goal. The survey will only take a few minutes of your time to complete and will close on February 11. Access our survey at this link.

Recently, PAESTA member and Penn State astronomer Chris Palma informed us of a major new discovery in the field of astronomy. A new Type I-a Supernova was discovered which will be a very hot topic for the next several months. With such a huge new discovery, I wanted this to be the focus for this month’s discussion forum. How can you introduce this major discovery in your classroom? What activities do you already do involving supernovas or the life cycle of a star? What will you do to keep your students up-to-date with this story as it progresses? Please login to our monthly discussion forum to weigh in on this big story!

--  Kelly Hunter, PAESTA President

February PAESTAR - Pennsylvania Earth Science Teacher Achievement Recognition

This month, we recognize Beverly Weinstein at Franklin D. Roosevelt Middle School in Bristol Township. This year marks Beverly’s 21st year teaching Earth science. Beverly taught Earth science and geology for 14 years at Truman High School, where she also served as the high school science department chair. During her time at Truman High, Beverly took over the coordination and revitalized the Bucks County Science Teachers Association, organizing mini-conference style meetings twice a year with keynote speakers. When she transitioned to teaching at FDR Middle School, she won a PECO Energy Grant and coordinated a school-wide energy fair. Beverly is also known and respected by her peers for being active in every district effort to develop K-12 standards, curricular frameworks, and enhanced science scope and sequence guides.

Congratulations, Beverly - you clearly are a

Apply Now to the The School of Rock (SOR) Expedition for Earth and Ocean Science Educators

Ocean Leadership and Indiana University of Pennsylvania are offering a unique immersive course focused on how the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) collects and analyzes seafloor sediments and rocks to understand important Earth history questions. The course will include field trips to investigate land-based sediments and laboratory work with IODP cores that inform about sedimentation, global change, and geological hazards. Participants will use a range of techniques, practice spatial learning, and connect basic scientific concepts to societal interests. This School of Rock is open to undergraduate earth science students, as well as pre-service and in-service science teachers, and will take place June 8-14, 2014 in Indiana, Pennsylvania. The application deadline is February 7, 2014. For more information and the application, please visit:

Pennsylvania's Cement Heritage

Pennsylvania's geologic history has greatly influenced its technological, economic, and cultural history, and the growth of the cement industry is a prime example of this.

At the start of the 20th Century, the Lehigh Valley in eastern PA was the cement capital of the nation.  Atlas Cement, in Northampton, was the largest plant in the world and provided the cement for the construction of the Panama Canal.  Its access to railways and proximity to large cities contributed to the region's industrial growth, but key to the cement boom was its location in the Jacksonburg Limestone Formation.  View this formation in relation to the rest of the state on the
PA GIS by turning on Bedrock Geology under the Geology button.  For a more complete look at the distribution of limestone in PA, view this DCNR map.

Just prior to World War I, the availability of cement in the state led to the construction of several communities of concrete homes.  Cement City in Donora and Concrete City in Hanover Township (Luzerne County) are two examples of these housing developments built for industrial workers.

Schools looking for a cross-discipline field trip opportunity may be interested in the Atlas Cement Museum, just north of Allentown.  The museum, designed and run by a retired high school teacher, offers displays on the history of quarrying and cement production, the prevalence of limestone in the region, and lab equipment used by the scientists responsible for product quality.  Visit their website for more information.

View Data with NOAA View 

The most comprehensive data imaging tool to date has just been made available to the public, for free. NOAA View brings together more than 60 different sets of data, some even as far back as 1880, with new data sets being added regularly. See things like wind speed, coral bleaching, ice cover, vegetation, precipitation, and views of the Earth at night. View a demonstration of the service through this video, or go directly to the website at:

Become a NOAA Ocean Guardian Classroom 

Does your class want to make a difference and promote environmental conservation at your school or in your local community? Do you and your students want to help protect your local watershed, the world’s ocean and special ocean areas, like national marine sanctuaries, for future generations? Visit the Ocean Guardian Classroom website to learn more about this action-based program for classrooms.

AMS Summer Teacher Enhancement Program: The Maury Project

This two-week summer workshop focuses on the physical foundations of oceanography and is held at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. Lectures are combined with hands-on activities and field experiences, including a research cruise, to enhance knowledge of physical oceanography. Participants become master oceanographic resource teachers and peer trainers, and are expected to develop as teacher leaders within their schools and districts. To learn more about this program offered through the American Meteorological Society, including application information, visit:

Energypath 2014 - a Student Science Fair

Energypath is excited to announce that the fourth annual Science Fair will be hosted at Albright College on June 20, 2014. The Energypath Middle/High School Science Fair is the region’s only science fair dedicated to research projects in the sustainable energy field. The event brings together the top sustainable energy research projects from all around the region. Interested participants should email Kelly McCartney at or 610-264-4440 for more information on how to participate in this great event. Applications must be submitted by June 2, 2014.

NSF Classroom Resources

The National Science Foundation's Classroom Resources are a diverse collection of lessons and web resources for classroom teachers, their students, and students' families. Materials are arranged by subject area to help you quickly find resources in your interest area, and then use them to create lesson plans or at-home activities. Example resource categories include Arctic & Antarctic, Astronomy & Space, Earth & Environment, People & Society, and Physics. Start your exploration at:

Polar Portal - Monitoring Ice and Climate in the Arctic

The Polar Portal provides the general public with current information on the state of both the Greenland ice sheet and Arctic sea ice.  In addition, the exploratory framework of Polar Portal can serve as a powerful tool for teachers.  Particularly at the secondary and post-secondary levels, the portal can provide students with straightforward overviews of complex and comprehensive climate-cryosphere data sets.  Visit the Polar Portal at:

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 our Event Calendar that lists national and international celebrations of Earth and space science!  For this school year, you can still participate in UN World Water Day, UN World Meteorological Day, Earth Day, Global Wind Day, and more!  Explore the calendar for the dates and event websites:
Copyright © 2014 PAESTA (Pennsylvania Earth Science Teachers Association), All rights reserved.
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