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Thomas Keller, from the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council is pleased to announce the release of a report that presents a new framework for K-12 science education, identifying the key concepts and practices that all students should learn. The framework offers a new vision for K-12 education in science and engineering, and embodies a significant shift in how these subjects are viewed and taught. The framework will serve as the basis for new science education standards. It will also inform the work of curriculum and assessment developers, researchers, teacher educators, and others. The release is to be held at Marian Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC on July 19th starting at 1 pm, but the more important event is that a pre-publication version of the Framework will be available as a free downloadable pdf that day.
A majestic Virginia skyscape, a magnificent Great Blue Heron, and an inquisitive weed-clearing goat are among the winners in the Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) fifth-annual Earth Day Photo & Essay Contest for grades 5-8.
More than 250 middle school students from across the country took part this year in the effort to photograph our changing world, both engaging in the art of photography and at the same time learn about the world around them. IGES President Nancy Colleton went on to say, "the winning pictures are truly stunning, and together provide a picturesque window into the changes happening in our environment".
This year along with their photograph of something changing in their local environment, students submitted an essay answering the following questions:
Entries were judged by IGES staff based on relevance to the contest theme (depiction of change in the environment), uniqueness and overall appearance of the photo, and quality of the written explanation.
The IGES is a trusted leader in Earth and space science education, communication and outreach, and in fostering national and international cooperation in observing the Earth. In addition to Earth Day Photo & Essay Contest for grades 5-8, IGES offers a science-themed art contest for students in grades 2-4, and cash awards for grades 9-12 students demonstrating the best use of geospatial tools or data to study Earth.
For more information related to the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies contact Dan Stillman
Our schedule for our events at NSTA in Hartford, Connecticut and New Orleans, Louisiana is now set (access a pdf of the schedule here). This year, in addition to our signature Share-a-Thon and Rock Raffle at each Fall Conference, we are offering three additional workshops on topics of interest to Earth and space science educators. These additional workshops are entitled "Activities Across the Earth System", "Climate Change Classroom Toolkit", and "Let's Get Well Grounded". Our events are on our calendar, so check the Calendar to keep up with all our events. We also highlight them below, in the list of upcoming events. Remember, as a NESTA member, you can record events of interest to you in your own MyNESTA area on our website, for easy access. We look forward to seeing you there!
As you read this a group of teachers aboard the R/V Atlantis research ship have just ended their several week summer expedition. This summer’s excursion was a follow-up to last summer (Deep Earth Academy – School of Rock) when scientists deployed CORK instruments into holes that were previously drilled into the seafloor off the coast of Washington. The scientists and educators went back this year and used the submersible JASON to retrieve data and make any needed adjustments to the seafloor equipment. Even though the expedition is over, you can still read the blogs and view the photos at JOIDES Resolution.
Do you have a great classroom activity that you know works well with your students? Are you looking for a way to attend a NSTA Area Conference but never got that proposal in and need some help convincing your school district for support? Then you should participate in a NESTA Share-a-Thon.
Presenting at a Share-a-Thon is not the same as a "talk" in front of your colleagues. Instead, Share-a-Thon attendees circulate through the session, coming by a table that NESTA provides presenters. This gives you a brief opportunity to share your activity with attendees, explain how it works and your experience with students, and also get to know your colleagues a bit. Share-a-Thons are typically attended by 75 to 100 teachers at an NSTA Area Conference. The environment has been variously described as a round robin, a flea market, and a feeding frenzy!
We have a Share-a-Thon at each of the three NSTA Area Conferences this fall.
Hartford on Friday, October 28, 2010 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
New Orleans on Friday, November 11, 2010 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Seattle on Friday, December 9, 2010 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
If you are interested in participating at a NESTA Share-a-Thon, please sign up to present! You can sign up online at http://www.nestanet.org/cms/content/conferences/nsta/shareathons or just contact our share-a-thon coordinator Michelle Harris at email@example.com for more details.
The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) is a joint program of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAFGI), and the State of Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys (ADGGS). The AVO, formed in 1988, uses federal, state, and university resources to monitor and study Alaska's hazardous volcanoes, to predict and record eruptive activity, and to mitigate volcanic hazards to life and property.
The AVO is the center of scientific research and investigation providing everything from Basic geological mapping to determine eruptive histories of active volcanoes to the Geophysical exploration of the interiors of volcanoes where the mechanisms of eruption are investigated as part of the development of new instrumentation to aid in prediction and interpretation of volcanic unrest.
Earlier this year, NESTA and Windows to the Universe worked with NBC Learn to develop a set of classroom activities that accompany videos on thirteen topics related to our Changing Planet, with support from the National Science Foundation. This fall, we will be making available an additional five activities on topics related to changes in biological systems associated with climate change.
For each video, we provide an introductory page linking to the video on the Windows to the Universe website, links to related pages on the website and elsewhere, and a link to a classroom activity that teachers can use to explore the related science with their students. Go to the Our Changing Planet section on Windows to the Universe to access all of these videos and lesson plans. Our own Missy Holzer, NESTA President-Elect, worked with Windows to the Universe staff and consultants to develop the classroom activities! Please enjoy! We hope to offer a workshop on these materials at the Spring NSTA in Indianapolis next year, and will be highlighting them at the Fall Area Conferences in our Climate Change Classroom Toolkit session.
The topics are as follows:
The NASA Endeavor Science Teaching Certificate Project awards one-year fellowships each year to over 40 current and prospective educators. The project is administered by U.S. Satellite Laboratory Inc. Funding authorization for the project is provided through the NASA Endeavor Teacher Fellowship Trust Fund as a tribute to the dedicated crew of the space shuttle Challenger.
In partnership with state departments of education, Endeavor Fellows take five graduate courses in an innovative, online format from the comfort of their homes or schools. In these courses, participants gain science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, professional development. They learn to apply research-based pedagogical strategies and cutting-edge STEM content to their classroom contexts while becoming part of a network of like-minded educators across the nation.
Endeavor Fellows earn and are awarded a NASA Endeavor Certificate in STEM Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Fellows’ Leadership Distinction activities will promote learning outside the classroom walls in the fellows’ states or districts. Fifteen graduate credits are awarded from regionally accredited higher education partners.
Applications for Cohort 4 will be accepted through Oct. 15, 2011. For more information, visit http://www.us-satellite.net/nasa/endeavor/index.cfm. Questions about this opportunity should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The application form for a scientist/educator presenter team to participate in the AGU-NESTA Fall 2011 GIFT workshop is now available at AGU’s Education page at http://www.agu.org/education/ (see the call box on the right hand side). The application form will be available until 6 September 2011. Please forward this note to your colleagues who might be interested in presenting at the workshop. Please note that the GIFT workshop in being scheduled for December 5 and 6, 2011 during the Fall meeting.
The Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAFGI) provides multiple opportunities for the K-12 classroom through their The Education Outreach team. This team brings current geophysical research to the classroom and has developed K-12 curricular resources as well as teacher training programs based on research conducted at the Geophysical Institute. The programs are also designed to increase the educational achievement of Alaska Native Students and to allow students to actively participate in weather data collection for use by both students and scientists.
You will also find information regarding a web page The Alaska Science Center created by the USGS that showcases the resources of Alaska. This site provides timely, relevant, and impartial study of the landscape, natural resources, and natural hazards for Alaska and the nation as well as provides additional links for educators.
Presented by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) in Partnership with the American Geophysical Union and the Space Telescope Science Institute July 30-August 3, 2011 Important deadlines - Late abstract proposals accepted Exciting schedule:
Space.com graphic artist Karl Tate has developed an amazing graphic of our solar system to scale from the Sun to Pioneer 10's location past the Oort Cloud in astronomical units. It is called “The Solar System Explained from the Inside Out.” Near the bottom of the web page containing the graphic is a link reference you can copy and paste to add this into your class web page.
April 15 – 31, 2012
This 16-day tour will provide participants with an exciting opportunity to experience the wonderful natural history of south Africa. Safaris will allow folks to view some amazing wildlife. You will visit the highest dunes in the world, experience cheetahs firsthand at the Cheetah Conservation Fund, observe the largest elephant population in Africa, see the “Cradle of Civilization," and have a chance to spend time at world-famous Victoria Falls. A naturalist/guide will be with our group the entire tour. You will be making game drives, both day and night, in open safari vehicles which allow excellent opportunities for photography!
All Accommodation and lodging are intended to provide maximum comfort and security. Most meals are included on the tour.
For the past 30 years, Richard Duncan has taken folks on many international tours. For additional information and a complete itinerary, contact Richard at: email@example.com, or 503.744.0794.
The Connecticut Geological and Natural History Survey is responsible for coordination and implementation of statewide natural resource data collection inventories in the following areas: surficial and bedrock geology, land cover, remote sensing; inventories of fauna and flora, including endangered species; and the development and operation of resource oriented data base management system. The survey also produces maps and publications including survey bulletins, reports of investigations, statewide and detailed quadrangle maps, digital geologic imagery and GIS data, biological and botanical reports of investigation, and geologic guidebooks among others. In addition to these services teachers and other educators will find a link to educational resources from the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection that can help with information and resources for use in the classroom, at home, or in your local community including educator wokshops and student field trips as well as other educational resources.
The Department of Environmental Protection also provides a link specific to the Geology of the state. You will fine many resources helpful to teachers including links to the geology of the state parks and to a limited number of mineral localities on state property that are accessible on a permit basis for public educational mineral collecting.
The lazy days of summer are upon us as we reach the half-way point of summer vacation for most. The first big activity for NESTA will be at the regional NSTA conference in Hartford, Connecticut in October. We will need some help for our Share-a-thon and Rock and Mineral Raffle. You, as a member of NESTA, can help in several ways; you can volunteer to share a classroom activity at the Share-a-thon, or you can help with setting up prior to the event. The Rock and Mineral Raffle can always use “runners” to hand out the specimens or in setting up the tables prior to the raffle. So, if you are planning on attending the NSTA regional in Hartford in October and would like to help, please contact me, Joe Monaco and I will connect you with the correct person. Enjoy the rest of your summer.
The Iowa Geological and Water Survey is a division of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and provides multiple links to the Geology, geologic hazards, mineral resources, regulations, and water resource management that will be helpful to the Earth Science educator. In addition there are specific Educational Materials that can be used with students as well as the general public.
Are you planning to present at an upcoming NSTA Conference this Fall? If so, NESTA is offering our members a new service you may be interested in. If your session has already been accepted by NSTA, you are welcome to share information about the session through our website form at https://www.nestanet.org/cms/node/add/nsta-session. The form, for NESTA member use only (you will need to login as a member to access the form), will take information about the session at one of the three upcoming NSTA conferences this fall. Please only enter information if you have had your session accepted - submissions without a date, time, and room will not be accepted. By sharing information about your session through this form, your session will be listed as a NESTA-member session at NSTA, and information about it will be available online at the NESTA website.
Vacations remind us that there are some places that are very special for Earth and Space Science across our beautiful country. I'm reminded of our effort to develop NESTA's List of Best Places for Earth and Space Science across the country. This notice has come out several times before, but we didn't have lots of takers, unfortunately. Hopefully, as your teaching demands decline in the coming month, you will find a few moments to share your ideas, before you leave for summer vacation yourself!
We would like to ask you, as a NESTA member (who by definition loves the geosciences), to share your favorite places in your state relevant to our field with other NESTA members. The following questions may help you think of the places we'd like to identify:
Please fill out an online form with which you can provide the name, location (either address or geographic coordinates), and a brief description of locations. Please remember to focus your responses on places that are within 500 miles of you, since for now we will rely on our distributed network to provide responses that cover the country. Don't forget to provide your name and e-mail, so we can acknowledge your contributions. Thanks so much, and we will keep you posted on this exciting project!
If you have been to a NESTA share-a-thon lately, chances are you have met Peter Lamour, otherwise known as the Sand Man. Peter has lots more beach sand to make available to our membership at the share-a-thons, but is running low on film canisters to put it in. We all know that digital photography is making film developing a thing of the past. If you have film canister reserves, or some other source of the canisters, please send them to Parker Pennington for pick up by Peter. Parker’s contact information is found at http://www.nestanet.org/cms/content/about/officers
The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) with the support of the National Science Foundation has developed many educational and teaching resources, as well as professional development opportunities for teachers and students through their COSEE Coastal Trends site. Of particular interest to educators will be the Educational Modules that cover topics from Coral Reefs and Climate Change to Fish and Physics. Each of the seven modules has interactive activities, references and links to classroom resources that include lesson plans, webquests, and more. On the COSEE Coastal Trends home page you will also find a link specific to opportunities For Educators that provides additional information that will help educators integrate "cutting-edge" ocean science into the classroom.
Hi, my name is Rick Dees and I am the newest member of the NESTA team, having been named the North Central Regional Director last spring. I thought that I might share a bit of news from my area. Thanks, La Nina. As if record snowfall, record rains and subsequent flooding weren’t enough, now residents of eastern Montana are battling yet another disaster, this time along the usually pristine Yellowstone River - an oil spill.
This sequence of events began innocently enough with light snow in September 2010, but by the end of April, Glasgow, MT located in the remote northeastern part of the state, found itself buried under a record 108.6 inches of snow , shattering the old mark of 70.7 inches set during the winter of 2003-2004. During a normal winter, the area receives 30 inches of snow.
In May, with rivers already bulging or overflowing with snowmelt, Mother Nature delivered another blow in the form of record-setting deluges. From May 10th through the 25th, all-time May daily rainfall records, some going back 200 years, were set at ten locations in the eastern part of the state. By late May it seemed as though all of eastern Montana was under water.
With the Yellowstone River now running at near-record levels and voraciously eroding its bed, it was only a matter of time before the current disaster would occur. On Friday, July 1, at 11:30 pm, a 12-inch ExxonMobil pipeline buried six-feet beneath the river bed ruptured sending 42,000 gallons of oil pouring into the river just a few miles upstream from Billings, Montana’s largest city. There are three oil refineries in the Billings area and all three have pipelines running beneath the river. As of July 11, cleanup crews were still working to contain the ExxonMobil spill, which has now stretched several miles downstream. The effect to area landowners, wildlife and the overall ecosystem will most likely take months, perhaps years, to determine.
I have a personal interest in all three of these stories. Having grown up in the Glasgow area I know how brutal the weather can be. With winter wind chills down to minus 80 and summer highs approaching 110 eastern Montana residents put up with some of the most extreme temperatures on Earth. Currently, I reside in Billings and teach Earth Science, Chemistry and Physics at Huntley Project High School, a rural school twenty miles east of Billings. I've been an educator for the last twenty years and am excited to be a part of the NESTA team!
They are called the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (NHMFL) because their magnets offer the highest magnetic fields for use within the international scientific community. They could just as easily be called the National Unique Magnetic Field Laboratory, because many of their magnets and experimental techniques are highly specialized, yet broadly applicable to research in physics, materials science, chemistry, biochemistry, biology and even biomedicine.
In addition to doing cutting edge research the NHMFL also offers many Educational Opportunities with the goal of helping K-12 science teachers grow professionally and better serve their students. As an Earth Science teacher you will find the interactive tutorials very beneficial, as well as, access to classroom materials including downloadable, printer-friendly activities that provide hands-on lessons in electricity and magnetism with materials as simple as Cheerios, paper clips and water.
End of an era! July, a month that holds the anniversary of the first moon landing will also be remembered as the month of the last space shuttle flight. The Shuttle Atlantis and its four-person crew left the Earth for the last time on a journey to the International Space Station on July 8. This final shuttle mission, STS-135, brings to a close 30 years of exploration, out of this world observations, construction of the space station, and according to NASA, "taught us more about how humans work and live in space than any other project".
This twelve day mission will carry five tons of supplies and spare parts in the Ruffaello multipurpose logistics module as well as a system to investigate the potential for robotically refueling existing spacecraft, and return a failed ammonia pump module to help NASA better the failure mechanism and improve pump designs for future systems. According to NASA this is a “critical resupply mission” for the space station since the Russian Soyuz Spacecraft is only able to carry 5720 pounds (2.86 tons) of supplies.
For those interested in following this historic last mission of the Space Shuttle Atlantis and the close of the Shuttle Program, NASA TV is a great gateway.
The Aquarius/SAC-D satellite will measure ocean salinity and should greatly improve our understanding of the oceans and global climate change. Aquarius can detect changes as small as two hundred parts per million, about one-eighth of a teaspoon of salt in a gallon of water. It was built by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and is one of nine instruments on the satellite
Other instruments on SAC-D will collect data on wind speed, precipitation, sea ice conditions, water vapor, surface temperatures, atmospheric conditions, aurorae, fires, and other observations. Many of these measurements complement measurements from other satellites to increase knowledge of Earth System processes.
Much current space exploration involves international cooperation. The United Launch Alliance sent the satellite up on a Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on June 10. SAC-D (“Satelite de Aplicaciones Cientificas D”) is the fourth satellite mission in a series by the Argentine Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales. Brazil, Canada, France and Italy provided some of the instruments and other resources for the mission, and will be involved in processing the data with NASA and Argentina.
The Delta II launch of SAC-D was the 149th flight of this rocket. Only two more launches are planned, but NASA is talking to the United Launch Alliance about using Delta rockets for future launches. Newer Taurus-XL rockets failed on two consecutive launches of NASA satellites, causing not only the loss of two major satellites, but also major concerns about the rocket's reliability. NASA and the space community is strongly trying to avoid additional losses.
"Literature contain the materials which suffice for making us know ourselves and the world." Matthew Arnold, 1882
Science is so much more than diagrams and formulas, test tubes and microscopes. Drama, passion, terror, suspense: That's the real stuff of physics, chemistry, biology and other sciences. The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (NHMFL) has compiled a list of books that highlight the role of Science in Literature. Whether it's a beautifully illustrated picture book about bats or a boy's maritime adventure that incorporates lessons on geography and astronomy, these stories engage and entertain kids and grown-ups alike. By integrating science into compelling tales, these books break down artificial barriers among subjects and help students make connections between what they learn in school and the world around them. Kids who thought they didn't like science will discover how fascinating it really is, and how big a role it plays in their lives.
Summer weather brings thunderstorms, and to celebrate them, go and play the lightning mini-game that has been developed by the Jason Project. It teaches the various ways lightning forms and discharges. Students can complete the game in about 5-10 minutes. It's appropriate for middle school though grade 9. This is one of the many excellent games and simulations of the Jason Project. Others cover storm tracking, ecology, minerals, tectonics, landforms, and rocks. You must register first, but it's free and easy. Explore them all at http://www.jason.org/public/whatis/games.aspx
No, not the tectonic kind! It's baseball season, but more importantly, July is the one month when most of us are out of school and have some time to relax and retool. Many of us will be traveling and taking great photos that can be used for teaching. Some will visit interesting sites. Still others of us will stumble across a great website or link to materials that we may use next year. So, step up to the plate and submit something (or many things!) to the NESTA website to share your findings with other teachers. Just 20 minutes of your time can make someone else very happy.
Last fall China sent the high-tech industry, stock, and commodities markets reeling when it blocked exports of raw rare earth elements to Japan, Europe and the U.S. The sudden severing of rare earths supply was a frightening prospect as the minerals are key ingredients in a broad range of high-tech products, from smartphones to wind turbines and hybrid cars. Although the bans have since been lifted, governments around the world saw the ban as a kind of wake-up call and started looking at ways to develop their own mineral resources — for rare earths as well as basic industry metals like copper and zinc.
Earlier this month researchers from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology announced that they had done just that, finding deposits of these rare earth minerals in sea mud extracted from depths of 3,500 to 6,000 meters (11,500-20,000 ft) below the ocean surface at 78 locations in international waters stretching east and west of Hawaii, as well as east of Tahiti in French Polynesia are especially rich in rare earths. Scientists said that these minerals can be readily extracted by pumping up material from the ocean floor. "Sea mud can be brought up to ships and we can extract rare earths right there using simple acid leaching," Yasuhiro Kato, an associate professor of Earth Science at the University of Tokyo said. "Using diluted acid, the process is fast, and within a few hours we can extract 80-90 percent of rare earths from the mud." Kato commented that, "The deposits have a heavy concentration of rare earths. Just one square kilometer (0.4 square mile) of deposits will be able to provide one-fifth of the current global annual consumption" and they estimate that the mud contain 80 to 100 billion tones, compared to global reserves currently confirmed by the U.S. Geological Survey of just 110 million tones. While this discovery suggests that China may no longer have a monopoly on the rare earth minerals market, Japan and will need to consider the impact of this extraction on marine ecology prior to commercial extraction.
Calendar of Events
From time to time, NESTA provides information about programs, services and resources provided by third-party organizations or providers which we believe is relevant to our membership. We provide this information as a service to our members. Inclusion of this information in any of our publications as content, links, or ads does not constitute or imply our endorsement of the accuracy or quality of the program, services and resources provided by third parties. NESTA specifically exempts itself from any and all liability for third-party programs, services and resources included in our publications, or accessible from links or ads in our publications.
Table of Contents
Science Framework Brief
Earth Day Photo Winners
NESTA at Fall NSTAs
NASA Endeavor Fellowships
2011 AGU-NESTA GIFT
ASP National Conference
New Solar System Scale
Namibia & Botswana Tour
Conn Geo Survey
Iowa Geol and H2O Survey
Submit Your Session
Your Favorite ESS Places!
COSEE Coastal Trends
Hello from Montana
National Magnet Lab
End of Shuttle Program
Ocean Salinity Satellite
Science in Literature
Step Up to the Plate!
Earth Science in the News