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

August 2015 Elementary News and Notes

PAESTA members doing some testing of water quality in Ridley Creek State Park, Media, PA. You can view this image and past images geospatially located on a map at:

WELCOME to our ninth 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 July and August messages in our monthly issues of News and Notes from PAESTA President Kathy Tait!  And if you have not yet heard, congratulations to our newly-elected PAESTA officers, Dave Curry as President-Elect, and Deanna Fogelman as Secretary-Treasurer!

PAESTA Podcasts - You Asked, We Answered!

PAESTA President Kathy Tait has started a new resource for PAESTA members - short, content-focused podcasts that answer any questions you may have about Earth and space sciences! View the podcast collection, titled You Asked, We Answered! And if you have a question, please add your question to the list, and PAESTA will find a content expert to answer the question for you! Each podcast is linked to resources in the PAESTA Classroom and around the web. Some of our podcasts include How do we know CO2 is increasing? and How do scientists measure rainfall?

VIDEO: - The Arctic vs. the Antarctic

*Science content appropriate for you and your students!

TED-Ed has an entire collection of educational videos on Earth and space science for elementary grades! View the entire video collection on their website. One of the videos we would like to share with you (that even students in higher grades could benefit from!) is the difference between the Arctic and the Antarctic. The video page also includes a lesson and questions for students to answer.

K-12 Teachers! @NASA_Rain is looking for "GPM Master Teachers"!

Application deadline: August 17, 2015 (learn more here)

GPM is looking for a small cadre of “GPM Master Teachers” to help develop and pilot STEM lessons to be used with elementary, middle, and high school audiences. 

In addition to learning about NASA’s Earth science missions, GPM Master Teachers will be expected to do the following:

  • Participate in monthly webinars
  • Pilot NASA educational resources and provide feedback
  • Collaborate with fellow GPM Master Teachers on ways to integrate NASA Earth science content and resources in your ongoing instruction
  • Disseminate information about NASA and GPM’s educational resources to their peers
  • Host a NASA Earth science event at some point during the year (examples include a family science night, program for scouts or an afterschool club, library program, etc.)

GemKids for Schools Turns Students into Rock Stars

Third through fifth grade teachers have a new colorful way to engage and excite students about geology, mineralogy and gemology through the Gemological Institute of America (GIA)’s new GemKids for Schools curriculum. From volcanoes spewing lava to digging for hidden jewels, students can roll up their sleeves to discover science lessons hidden deep within the Earth. Best of all, this cross-curricular and standards-based program is free to download.  Visit:

From PBS LearningMedia: Lesson plan on Exploring Endangered Species

In this lesson, students learn about ecosystems, food webs, and human impact on ecosystems by identifying an endangered species in their state and proposing a plan to help protect it. They watch a video about students exploring animal habitats in a city, and then explore habitats near their school and play an interactive food web game. Then they identify a threatened or endangered species, research why it is in jeopardy, and propose plans to help protect it. Designed for Grades 1-4, visit the website to access the resources.

Lesson plans around the Earth and its ecosystems

Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences - Ecosystem Science and Management Program has an educator resources and youth publication website which provides educational curricula in sustainable forestry, natural resources, water, earth sciences, and wildlife. Materials are available for grades K-5. Visit and explore available lesson plans:

Additional information on the PAESTA website about Earth Science Week!

PAESTA is making an extra-special effort to highlight Pennsylvania Earth science during the annual celebration of Earth Science Week (October 11-17, 2015). You will be receiving additional information soon about what we have planned, including resources available for you to highlight each of the focus days with your students. But plan now to have your students enter our essay contest (yes, open to elementary students!), for Why Earth Science Matters in Pennsylvania!  We hope you will participate and share the excitement of Earth science with your students, your school, and beyond!
Do you have any items or announcements to share in Elementary News and Notes? Contact us!
News and Notes Editor  --  Laura Guertin
News and Notes Assistant Editor  --  Greg Collins
Copyright © 2015 PAESTA (Pennsylvania Earth Science Teachers Association), All rights reserved.
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