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

June 2013 News and Notes

This month's photo of Marcellus Shale wellheads, nicknamed "Christmas Trees," was taken in the Tiadaghton State Forest.  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:


Our ballot is just about ready for the PAESTA membership to cast their vote for the 2013-2014 officers. Your opportunity to vote will arrive in a separate email message within the next several days. Keep an eye on your email Inbox for a special election email!

June PAESTAR - Pennsylvania Earth Science Teacher Achievement Recognition

This month, we recognize PAESTA's webmaster, Eric Aitala. Eric joined the staff of Penn State's Earth and Space Science Partnership in 2012 and immediately took on the task of creating a new online presence for the PAESTA organization. Eric has not only established a website with valuable information for Earth and space science teachers; he has also worked tirelessly on developing online opportunities for PAESTA member collaborations and contributions. In addition to designing the member-only discussion forums, Eric dedicated significant time to creating the PAESTA Classroom, where members can contribute their curricular innovations to share with fellow teachers.

Congratulations, Eric - you are clearly a PAESTAR!

Ready or Not, Hurricane Season is Here

June 1st marks the official start to hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts an "era of high activity," with a 70% likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 7 to 11 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher).  This NOAA video does an excellent job explaining the data with student-friendly graphics and has many supplemental links for learning about climate factors and historical data.

Do you know what the first named storm of 2013 will be? Check out the list of tropical cyclone names assigned to the Atlantic Ocean for this season and the next five years: For more information on the organization that selects the names and provides forecasts and warning data, visit the website for the World Meteorological Organization:

The Susquehanna and the Chesapeake

Amazingly, the mighty Susquehanna River drains nearly half of Pennsylvania's land surface.  As one of the oldest river systems in the world, it has a fascinating geological history, especially at its end: the Chesapeake Bay.

What's going on in the Bay and its watershed today?  Chesapeake Bay Program offers some insights and lesson plans on their website ( tying geology to the physics of stream flow, water chemistry, and the ecology of the Bay.

To fold astronomy into the lesson, visit the Woods Hole Field Center's Chesapeake Bolide site ( for more information on how a rock from space might have determined the location of the Chesapeake Bay.

Not sure if you're located in the Chesapeake Bay watershed?  The EPA's Surf Your Watershed site ( enables you to find your local creek or river watershed and where that leads downstream.

Linking Mount St. Helens Science to Classrooms

An interactive, multi-media website has been unveiled by the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and Mount St. Helens Institute in commemoration of the 33rd anniversary of the May 18, 1980 eruption ( The website combines photographs and scientist interviews with educational materials to chronicle the story of environment and ecosystem change.

Precipitation Education from NASA

NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission website ( provides students and educators with resources to learn about Earth’s water cycle, weather and climate, and the technology and societal applications of studying them. GPM is an international satellite mission that uses multiple satellites orbiting Earth to collect rain, snow and other precipitation data worldwide every three hours.

Resources can be searched by type (article, image, interactive, lesson plan, video, website) and/or by audience (K-5, 6-8, 9-12, formal, informal, outreach). One example resource is the GPM Water Cycle Droplet Handout in the true shape of a raindrop. The front shows a diagram of the water cycle, and the back has information about GPM and facts about water. You can download and print out the raindrop at:

Follow @NASA_Rain on Twitter and Precipitation Measurement Missions on Facebook for updates.

The NASA/IPAC Teacher Archive Research Program

NITARP, the NASA/IPAC Teacher Archive Research Program, gets teachers involved in authentic astronomical research. They partner small groups of educators with a mentor professional astronomer for an original research project. The educators incorporate the experience into their classrooms and share their experience with other teachers. The program runs January through January. Applications are available now and due on September 23. More information is available on the PAESTA website.

The PAESTA Calendar Helps You With Science Celebrations

Do you know about the PAESTA Calendar ( If you are looking to connect classroom activities with national and international Earth and Space Science celebrations, we provide the events and links to resources. For example, in the month of June, you may want to discuss World Environment Day (June 5), World Oceans Day (June 8), and World Hydrography Day (June 21).

New on the PAESTA Website!

We  know you do not always have the time to visit the PAESTA website and explore the new resources and topics available. A new feature of News and Notes will be to help you find the most recent contributions to the site! Please note that we will always be adding announcements to the front page of the site that will be too many to list here, so be sure to visit the main page for the latest announcements.

Under the PAESTA Member Forum, we have added a discussion board specifically for questions and comments on using Claim Evidence Reasoning in the classroom.

Check out what fellow PAESTA members have submitted to the PAESTA Classroom (remember to log in to view these resources).
  • Meredith Bembenic with other PAESTA members, "An Instructional Unit on the Marcellus Shale for Middle School Students."
  • Greg Collins, "The Power of a Hurricane: Using Memorable Storms to Teach Inference and Graphing Skills"
  • Theresa Lewis-King, "Latitude and Longitude Scavenger Hunt"

Serving the PAESTA Organization

Join us as we congratulate and thank Valerie Adams for stepping in to the role as the PAESTA Archivist, and Trey Smith for volunteering to serve on the PAESTA Conference Organizing Committee!

PAESTA is always looking for members willing to help the organization. We are still accepting volunteers for the Conference Organizing Committee, Teacher Advisory Committee, and Teaching Resource Committee. If you are interested, please contact us at

SAVE THE DATE!  The 2013 PAESTA Annual Conference

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." We will begin accepting conference proposals on July 1. Contact us at:
Copyright © 2013 PAESTA (Pennsylvania Earth Science Teachers Association), All rights reserved.
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