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

September 2014 News and Notes

This month's photo features the breakwater boulders near the beaches of Presque Isle in Erie. You can view this image and all past 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:


Don't forget to register for the PAESTA Annual Conference by September 26, and join us in State College on Saturday, October 4.  Registration is free - click here to save your spot today!
  • PAESTA Conference information
  • PAESTA Conference speaker/session listing (*and don't forget we will have a morning science content keynote speaker, and PAESTA President Laura Guertin will be sharing with us her NOAA Teacher at Sea experience during the lunchtime keynote!)
  • New addition to the conference schedule includes a tour of an ice core laboratory
From the PAESTA President - Ahoy, PAESTA members!

We have another monthly audio greeting from PAESTA President Laura Guertin! Please click here to listen to a short message, where Laura shares exciting news about PAESTA, its collaboration with Science Friday (see article below), and of course, updates on the PAESTA Conference and nominations for the PAESTA Award for Teaching Excellence. Don't forget to follow Laura as she sets sail on the R/V Thomas Jefferson!  She will be blogging about her oceanographic adventure with NOAA on her Teacher at Sea blog.

(And if you missed Laura's previous podcasts, you can access her monthly audio welcomes at SoundCloud)

APPLY NOW to be a NOAA Teacher at Sea!

You will hear Laura detail her adventures with NOAA during the lunchtime keynote at the PAESTA Conference.  But please note that NOAA's Teacher at Sea Program is accepting applications for its 2015 Field Season from September 1-30, 2014 - with the
deadline before our conference! If you are interested in applying, please review their SAMPLE application by clicking on this PDF file. To learn more about the NOAA Teacher at Sea Application process, you may refer to this manual.

September PAESTAR - Pennsylvania Earth Science Teacher Achievement Recognition

This month, we recognize Dr. David Bauman, Science Education Advisor for the Pennsylvania Department of Education, for his dedication and hard work towards improving education in all areas of science, which include the Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and Earth and Space Science.  Dr. Bauman is the moderator for the online Science Learning Community in the SAS Portal site, providing a collaborative environment to extend and enhance the discussion of important issues, challenges, and ideas that promote success in the teaching and learning of science throughout the Commonwealth. Dr. Bauman has served for the second year on the STEMathon design team, helping establish a statewide conference for all disciplines of STEM education. Dr. Bauman also served as our morning keynote speaker at the 2nd Annual PAESTA Conference in 2013.

Congratulations, Dr. Bauman - you clearly are a

PAESTA Classroom content featured by Science Friday! 

We have some exciting news to share! PAESTA has been working with Science Friday to connect our PAESTA Classroom content with the Education portion of their website. And now, we present to you the first result of our collaboration - our "Image of the Day" classroom strategy, authored by PAESTA members Laura Guertin and Heather Spotts, featured on Science Friday's website! Be sure to check out Classroom Strategy: Image of the Day (appropriate for grades 4-16) and share with others!

Will It Float?  

Many of our students can explain why some objects float and others sink.  Ask them why certain bodies of water are better for floating than others, however, and silence may be the result. The Virginia Institute of Marine Science has gathered together some of the essential elements of floating in a multi-activity lesson plan.  In this lesson, students explore the characteristics of water that affect buoyancy.  Your class will also learn about the Plimsoll mark, a standard scale on cargo ships that incorporates climate and salinity to determine seaworthiness.  By reviewing ship photos and accessing real-time water data, students can apply their knowledge in a relevant assessment of a vessel's ability to complete its voyage.

Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program now accepting applications for 2015-2016 Fellowship Year

Application deadline: 5:00PM EST, November 20, 2014

The Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship (AEF) Program provides a unique opportunity for accomplished K-12 educators in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to serve in the national education arena. Fellows spend 11 months working in a Federal agency or U.S. Congressional office, bringing their extensive classroom knowledge and experience to STEM education program and/or education policy efforts. To be eligible, applicants must be U.S. citizens, be a current employed full-time in a U.S. public or private elementary or secondary school or school district, and must have taught full-time in a public or private elementary or secondary school for at least five of the last seven years in a STEM discipline.

Go to the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program, for more information, including eligibility requirements, program benefits, application requirements, and access to the online application system:

Do you know your State Soil?

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service maintains an online listing of state soils.  What is a state soil?  A state soil is a soil that has special significance to a particular state. Each state in the United States has selected a state soil, twenty of which have been legislatively established. These “Official State Soils” share the same level of distinction as official state flowers and birds. Also, representative soils have been selected for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.  Want to learn more about Pennsylvania's state soil? Click here for a PDF on the Hazleton. The website also has soil education resources for grades K-16

USGS Historical Topographic Map Explorer

Esri has developed an application to better access and manipulate maps from the USGS Historical Topographic Map Collection. The USGS Historical Topographic Map Explorer allows users to access the historical maps as high resolution georeferenced images for use in web mapping apps and features a timeline to easily select the desired maps. The HTMC contains more than 178,000 legacy maps scans dating from late 1884 to 2006. Have fun exploring your region and other places across the country with your students (for example - select two maps and get an overlay for a slide comparison!). Access the online interface at:

Technology & Engineering Education Association of Pennsylvania (TEEAP) 2014 Conference

The Technology & Engineering Education Association of Pennsylvania's purpose is to define, stimulate, coordinate and strive for the improvement and strengthening of Technology Education programs in Pennsylvania as a vital aspect of education for all students on all levels: elementary, secondary and post-secondary. They also exist to promote the improvement of the quality of instruction in Technology Education by assisting educators, students and all others concerned to keep instructional content, methods, and facilities current with the rapid changes in industry and technology. TEEAP invites you to join them for their annual conference!

Dates: November 6-7, 2014
Location: Camp Hill, PA
Pre-registration deadline: October 25, 2014
Conference website:

From our friends at NESTA:  Free Student Membership

NESTA has instituted a new category of membership to help the next generation of Earth and space science educators and scientists - Free Student Membership! NESTA now offers up to two sequential free years of student membership at the Basic level for students at the university level who are studying to become teachers or scientists in the Earth and space sciences, environmental sciences, or related disciplines. For more details, and how to apply, go to Please help spread the word about this opportunity to friends and colleagues at the student level that might benefit. You can also share this with faculty at universities that prepare students in Earth and space science education or in the Earth and space sciences. Student status must be verified by a faculty adviser, and satisfactory progress toward degree objectives must be maintained to continue to the second year of free student membership.

On the PAESTA website - did you know you can find...

The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) has a monthly publication titled EARTH Magazine.  Available online and in print, each issue is filled with Earth science, energy, and environmental-content articles written for a general audience.  These articles are accessible for students to read and keep up with the latest news and discoveries in the field.  On the PAESTA website, we post press releases from AGI (with their permission) to their latest articles and links to online materials.  Check out our postings, and share with your colleagues and students!
Copyright © 2014 PAESTA (Pennsylvania Earth Science Teachers Association), All rights reserved.
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