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

August 2013 Elementary News and Notes

This month's photo was taken at the Centre Furnace in State College, PA, the site of the first charcoal iron furnace in the region. You can view this image and past/future images geospatially located on a map at:

WELCOME to PAESTA's Newest Resource!

We are thrilled to bring to you our newest addition to the collection of PAESTA resources - Elementary News and Notes! We will begin with four issues a year for this newsletter, filled with resources that are appropriate for the elementary school classroom and younger audiences. None of the information presented here is duplicated in our monthly News and Notes.

We are sending this premiere issue to the entire PAESTA membership in hopes that you will pass along this resource to your colleagues, friends, and family that teach the early grades. You can select not to receive any future issues with the one-click unsubscribe link at the bottom of this message.

New PAESTA members can sign up for Elementary News and Notes and the monthly issues of News and Notes when they join PAESTA (membership is free!):

PBS Design Squad Nation

The Design Squad Nation website is an online community that grew out of the Design Squad television series that aired on PBS KIDS. The site targets kids ages 8 and older and features creative activities, engaging video, interactive games, and exciting contests. The goal of Design Squad is to give kids a stronger understanding of the design process, and the connection between engineering and the things we all use in everyday life. The website contains activities, animations, video profiles, and episodes appropriate for classrooms. Topics include electricity, force/energy, green, health, simple machines, sound/music, space/transportation, sports/games, structures, and technology/materials. Check out the website:

USGS Kids and Earthquakes for Kids

At USGS Kids (, you will find games, puzzles, stories, and projects that help kids learn about nature and conservation while having fun. Activities can be searched by age group (K-2, 3-5, 6-12). The USGS Earthquake Hazards Program also has a section on their site titled Earthquakes for Kids (, with a set of resources specifically for the elementary school level.

Climate Kids - NASA's Eyes on the Earth

NASA recently launched its Global Climate Change web site with its associated site for children and educators, Climate Kids. The site incorporates research findings not only on climate change, but also on effective web design for children through illustrated and narrated “slide shows,” animated expositions, interactive concept-rich games and demonstrations, videos, animated fictionalized stories, and printable picture galleries. In recognition of the attention span of the audience, content is presented in short, modular form, with a suggested order of access. Empathetic animal and human cartoon personalities are used to explain concepts and tell stories. Expository, fiction, game, video, text, and image modules are interlinked for reinforcement of similar ideas. Check out these resources at:

CONTEST - Making Maps Through the Ages

In connection with National Earth Science Week, the American Geosciences Institute is hosting a Visual Arts Contest for students in grades K-5. From the contest website ( "Throughout history, Earth scientists — or "geoscientists" — have made maps showing the locations of land, water, air, and living things. Even today they chart the stars, the seas, and their communities in a variety of ways. Imagine that you are a map maker, either now or in the past. How would you make a map? What tools would you use? Use artwork to show yourself as an Earth scientist making a map." The entry should be a two-dimensional (flat) visual arts project no larger than 24 x 36 inches. Contest deadline is October 18, 2013. If you decide not to participate in the contest, this would still be a fun exercise to do with students!

Stanley and Stella Explore the Environment

From the EPA, Flat Stanley and Flat Stella have their own blog to help kids learn about protecting the environment and have fun as they build reading and science skills. The blog, written for elementary-aged students to read in school or at home, has activities and links to accompanying resources. Join them on their adventures at:

NOAA Education Resources for Elementary Science

NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) has a special Elementary Collection that includes just a few of the science education resources that are available from NOAA for K-5 audiences.

The resources have been selected to help teachers as they plan lessons and learn about specific topics, such as severe weather, the water cycle, tornadoes and food webs. These resources may also be useful in teaching larger concepts such as change over time, analyzing patterns, relationships between organisms and their habitats, the interdependence of living things, and energy transfers. The types of resources available include short videos, handouts and lesson plans, data sources, background information and professional development opportunities for teachers. These resources can provide students with the opportunity to collect and interpret data and engage in hands-on activities (in the classroom and outdoors), make observations, and participate in other scientific processes.

Visit NOAA's Elementary Science Resources Collection at:

New on the PAESTA Website!

In the August 2013 News and Notes issue, we announced a new monthly feature on the PAESTA Member Forum, Current Topics in Earth & Space Science (you must be logged in to the PAESTA website to view). We encourage contributions on how each current event could be used in the elementary school classroom!

PAESTA needs elementary teachers to serve!

PAESTA is an organization that serves K-16 teachers, and we want to make sure we have representation across all grade levels on our committees. We are actively seeking teachers from the elementary grades to serve on the PAESTA Teacher Advisory Committee, Teaching Resource Committee, and as an Assistant eNewsletter editor for this elementary edition of News and Notes! Please contact us at if you are interested or would like additional information on how YOU can become involved! 

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS!  The 2013 PAESTA Annual Conference

Do you have something you do with your students that you would like to share with your fellow teachers? It is not too late to submit a session proposal! 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." Session proposals are being accepted until August 31, 2013. Visit the conference website to learn more ( and/or contact us at:
Copyright © 2013 PAESTA (Pennsylvania Earth Science Teachers Association), All rights reserved.
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