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

April 2013 News and Notes

This month's image is from the Sycamore Mills Dam along Ridley Creek in Ridley Creek State Park, PA.  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:

April PAESTAR - Pennsylvania Earth Science Teacher Achievement Recognition

This month, we recognize Cathy Bateman, Chairperson for The Fine Arts and School Technology Leader with the School District of Philadelphia.  In the words of her nominator: "Cathy has been teaching for many years, in both art and technology education, most recently at Frankford High School where she teaches art, ceramics and serves as the school technology leader and fine arts coordinator. Her student's work using reclaimed materials have been transformed into permanent exhibits at The School District of Philadelphia headquarters, and she continues to complete projects like this with her students. This summer she was a participant in ESSP's energy workshop at Penn State as well as awarded a fellowship by the Smithsonian's National Gallery of Art to attend a workshop where she worked on turning STEM into STEAM through Impressionism."

Congratulations, Cathy - you are clearly a PAESTAR!

National Environmental Education Week & Earth Day/Month 2013

National Environmental Education Week (EE Week) inspires environmental learning and stewardship. Focusing this year on the theme “Greening STEM: Taking Technology Outdoors,” EE Week (April 14-20, 2013) connects educators with environmental resources to promote K-12 students’ understanding of the environment.  EE Week provides a range of resources at Register for EE Week at to receive educational materials and unique opportunities.

Across the United States, people will be celebrating Earth Day on Monday, April 22 - but that does not mean your Earth and environmental instruction and activities have to be restricted to one day! Check out the EPA's website for Earth Day ( for lesson plans and the opportunity to sign up for daily green tips. The Earth Day Network ( is telling the world the stories of people, animals and places affected by climate change – and of those stepping up to do something about it. For fun, have your students create an Earth Day Resolution, and share them with USA TODAY Magazines via email or Twitter!

NASA has decided that they have "so much cool Earth going on" that they are declaring April Earth Month!  Check out their website for stories, interactives, resources, and a calendar for live and online events:

From Yellowstone to Greenland - NOVA Video Clips on Teachers' Domain

Teachers' Domain has an excellent collection of video clips from NOVA specials (see the complete collection at Examples include a 6-minute clip on Yellowstone from the NOVA special "Deadliest Volcanoes," and a 3-minute clip on Ice Core Record of Climate from the NOVA special "Extreme Ice." All of the NOVA clips include a background essay, discussion questions, teaching tips, and a transcript. With the creation of a free account, the videos can be viewed online or downloaded.

Earthquake Engineering and a Literary Great

Are you looking to tie earthquake science to some engaging student design work?  The researchers at the University of Buffalo's earthquake engineering center present a nice collection of lessons and activities that do just that.  Some of the highlights are a look at the importance of building material selection, an interactive building simulator, and instructions for making your own shake table.

In addition to engineering lessons, the center also has several history and writing activities, including a look at author Jack London's coverage of the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.  Consider including some of these related materials in your class or sharing them with your friends in the English department.  They make for great informational texts, in line with the new literacy expectations of Common Core.

Find the writing and history information at:
The engineering activities are available at:

Faces of Earth Video Series

The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) has released a video series designed to educate across all classroom levels. From their press release: "Building the Planet (, episode one in the four-part series, travels back in time and strips away the layers of Earth to witness the explosion that formed the planet. Earthquakes rumble, volcanoes explode, and lands transform as we explore the science behind plate tectonics in Shaping the Planet (, the second episode in the series. In Assembling America (, the third installment, viewers travel with geoscientists and explore how time and the forces of nature have shaped the continent and influence the United States even today. Finally, discover the delicate balance between Earth and its inhabitants in the fourth and final video, A Human World ( In this video, viewers learn how Earth has shaped human evolution, and how humans, in turn, are now shaping the evolution of Earth through geologic, climatic and other changes."

USGS Topographic Map Locator and Downloader

Are you looking for a topographic map from within the lower 48 states? The U.S. Geological Survey has exactly what you need! Free topographic maps can be ordered and/or downloaded as PDF files. With each map, you have the ability to remove/add layers before printing or displaying. Visit the USGS Map Locator and Downloader to search for a specific location or topographic map, then utilize the USGS websites on Topographic Map Symbols and Map Scales to help engage your students with this 2-D representation of the Earth's 3-D surface.

Save the Date - The Total Solar Eclipse of 2017!

The U.S. Naval Observatory (USNO, has put together a great resource page for the coming solar eclipse in 2017 that will be the best in recent memory for its visibility in the continental USA.  Although it is a few years away, it is never too early to start planning some amazing activities for our students in connection with this amazing event!

Start your planning for August 21, 2017, at this website:

WANTED: Archivist for PAESTA

PAESTA is looking for a member willing to volunteer his/her time to serve as a leader in the organization that might not be ready for an elected officer position on the Executive Committee. This duty is not time-intensive but important to the past, present, and future of our organization. If interested, please contact us at

Archivist - PAESTA is seeking one volunteer willing to help pull together the history of the organization (all the way back to our beginnings in 2011!), maintain a record of elected officers and committee membership, document PAESTA award winners/member recognition, and assist the Executive Committee in preparing an electronic annual report.

Upcoming opportunities - Next month, PAESTA will have its "Call for Nominations" for the elected officer positions of President-Elect and Secretary/Treasurer. We will also be putting out a call soon for PAESTA members to serve on the PAESTA 2013 Conference Committee.

Latest on the PAESTA Website

We have made a change to the front page of the PAESTA website. You will notice that we have a split column on the lower half of the page.  The left side lists announcements from PAESTA, workshop and grant opportunities with other organizations, etc. The right side lists scientific updates to keep current on content and/or suggestions for teaching science topics.  We list many more announcements on our website than we include in this eNewsletter, so be sure to check the PAESTA website ( often!

Announcements from Other Organizations and Employment Opportunity

Our friends and colleagues at other organizations have asked us to share news about professional development opportunities.  Please see our PAESTA website to learn about the National Association of Geoscience Teachers NAGT-ES Spring Conference (May 30-June 2), involving fieldtrips to the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon and a Marcellus Shale drilling site.  The Lunar and Planetary Institute will be having a week-long workshop in Maryland in June about The Unknown Moon, and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center will be hosting additional Lunar Workshops for Educators.

One of our PAESTA members has informed us of a job opening at The Agnes Irwin School in Rosemont, PA. This middle school science teacher position, beginning in August 2013, will be primarily Earth Science but with one to two sections of another MS science. For more information, please visit the description online.
Copyright © 2013 PAESTA (Pennsylvania Earth Science Teachers Association), All rights reserved.
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