July 2015

NESTA Messages

NESTA's First President, Jan Woerner, Dies
by Parker Pennington IV

Dr. Janet Woerner, faculty emeritus with the California State University at San Bernardino (CSUSB), died of natural causes on Monday June 29, 2015. She was 72. Jan played a major role in the early days of the Michigan Earth Science Teachers Association (MESTA). The organization was barely five years old when she joined and became active in a leadership role. Jan served as the MESTA Vice President for the 1974-75 period and was in line to become President for 1976-77. However, she moved to Kansas for another teaching position and graduate studies before she could assume the office.

Jan contributed to the Michigan Earth Scientist for many years--it featured teaching techniques, classroom resources, and field trips among numerous other topics. In the fall of 1991, she researched, wrote and published (as MESTA Historian with Dr. Harold (Stoney) Stonehouse) Our First Twenty-Five Years for MESTA’s Silver Jubilee celebration. She was named MESTA’s Outstanding Earth Science Teacher of the Year for 1974.

When MESTA helped launch the National Earth Science Teachers Association (NESTA) in April of 1983, Jan served as the first President. She was instrumental in drafting and establishing the original NESTA Constitution and Bylaws. Jan was named one of NESTA’s first Fellows in 1994. She received numerous NESTA awards, including the Jan Woerner & Harold B. Stonehouse Lifetime Achievement Award partially named in her honor.

Jan remained active in the activities of both MESTA and NESTA having attended recent conferences for each. She was present most recently at the National Science Teachers Association annual meeting held in Chicago this past spring. Jan was on hand in Chicago for the presentation NESTA’s two Lifetime Achievement Awards for 2015. With the passing of Jan, and her husband Harold (Stoney) Stonehouse, a grand era has come to a close.

NESTA mourns Jan's passing, but honors her life and vision for Earth science education. NESTA is committed to continuing to serve K-12 Earth science teachers and their students........as Jan would have wanted.

Get More from Your NESTA Membership: Archived Copies of "The Earth Scientist"
by Michael Passow

Continuing my series of your benefits as a NESTA members, this month I want to make sure you are aware that you can access past issues of "The Earth Scientist" back to Winter 2005. When we received an NSF grant to upgrade the NESTA website, a priority was to find a way to allow members easy viewing of the articles published in TES.

Open Access does allow members and non-members to view some of the many contributions published during the past 10 years of our journal. But only membership allows you to read all of these peer-reviewed articles.

You can browse the total listings of TES from 2005 to date only if you are a member and have logged in. I'm sure there are many of interest to you, especially if you have joined NESTA relatively recently or are in the first years of your career.

Just another way you can get more about of your NESTA membership.

Helping NESTA at Conferences
by Joe Monaco

If you are planning on attending any of the NSTA Area Conferences this coming Fall, please consider volunteering a little of your time helping at NESTA sessions. The dates and locations of the conferences are: Reno Oct. 22 -24, Philadelphia Nov. 12 – 14, and Kansas City Dec. 3 – 5. We could use some help with setting up tables, etc. for the Workshop sessions and the Rock Raffle. Please contact me, Joe Monaco.

Earth Science Rendezvous
by Cheryl Manning

As I write this, I am getting started on my third day at the first annual Earth Educator’s Rendezvous. It has been an exciting meeting so far with teachers, geoscience education researchers, and geoscientists working together, learning together and innovating together. I spent my first day reviewing a big batch of Interdisciplinary Teaching about Earth for a Sustainable Future (InTeGrate) resources.

For the rest of the week, I am focusing my efforts on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Sustainability education. Digging into the NGSS, not only am I learning, I am also networking. I have the great opportunity to work along side other NESTA leaders, including Jenelle Hopkins, David Thesenga, and Carla McAuliffe, the new NESTA Executive Director. The workshop facilitators, Aida Awad, Susan Buhr Sullivan, and Don Duggan-Haas, work with the workshop participants to develop a deeper understanding of these new standards, finding ways to align existing curriculum, and rewriting activities, assessments, and curriculum.

The NGSS is a huge change in how we think about teaching, learning, and most importantly, doing science in an educational setting. These standards have the potential to bring a greater prominence to the Earth Sciences in all grade levels from kindergarten through high school, demanding that schools nationwide implement effective and powerful science educational change. This change won’t come easily, it will entail commitment, hard work, and the abandonment of old ways of doing things and thinking about the work of education.

I look forward to learning more about Sustainability education later in the week and figuring out how to integrate concepts of resiliency, earth systems, and sustainability into the courses I will be teaching this upcoming year.

Classroom Resources

International Year of Soils - Soils Are Alive!
by Missy Holzer

July - This month's theme is Soils Are Living. Soil is alive. There are more species of organisms in the soil than there are aboveground. These organisms include everything from badgers and gophers to bacteria and viruses that are invisible to the naked eye. A single handful of soil contains millions of individual living organisms. Many of the ecosystem services provided by soil are actually performed by soil organisms.

Visit the Soil Science Society of America's International Year of Soils homepage (http://www.soils.org/IYS) for resources such as activities, videos, powerpoint presentations related to this theme, and all of the themes from this past year.

Imagine The Universe Lesson Plans
by Jack Hentz

The Imagine the Universe! website has a series of astronomy-based lesson plans available for both middle and high school teachers. The following lessons incorporate both math and science standards:

  • What's the Frequency, Roy G. Biv? (middle school)
  • How Big is That Star? (middle school)
  • Time That Star! (middle & high school)
  • X-Ray Spectroscopy (high school)
  • Supernova Chemistry! (high school)
  • How Far...How Powerful (high school)
You can examine each lesson plan by going to the Imagine the Universe! website at http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/educators/lesson_plans.html.

National Hurricane Center
by Jack Hentz

We are starting to see weather reports about tropical disturbances around the world. Now is the time to begin to watch out for the first hurricanes of the season. The National Hurricane Center (http://www.nhc.noaa.gov) is the place to look for up-to-date information on where the storms are, how to prepare for them, and how to find wind scale information and forecast model information. Other education topics can be found on the website home page. Keep informed and be prepared this summer for any tropical storm!

Non-NESTA Events

NESTA Events at GSA Baltimore
by Michael Passow

You're invited to join us when NESTA sponsors several events at the GSA Baltimore conference this fall.

On Saturday, 31 Oct, take a special K-12 Educators Field Trip to the National Museum of Natural History led by NESTA President Mike Passow and Adam Blankenbicker of the Smithsonian Institution Education Department. At the link above, scroll down to Field Trip #420 to find out more information.

Also on Saturday, NESTA Past-President Missy Holzer will join with Mark Nielsen of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to lead a Short Course entitled "Welcome to the Anthropocene: Teaching Resources for a New Epoch" (#533.) NESTA members Don Duggan-Haas and Glenn Dolphin will present a two-part Short Course on "Teaching Controversial Issues." In the morning, the theme will be "Climate and Energy" (#524) and in the afternoon the focus shifts to "Evolution of Life and Earth (#529.) GSA K-12 members may take short courses without registering for the meeting or paying the nonregistrant fee. Find out more about the Short Courses.

Also, Cheryl Manning will be attending GSA as the GSA Education Committee Co-Chair and NESTA representative, presenting on Earth Science, NGSS, and Sustainability in the Classroom.

The main conference sessions on Sunday-Wednesday, 1 - 4 November, will also provide opportunities to expand your knowledge and networking. NESTA is an official sponsor for 5 Topical Sessions:

T66. Beginning a New Era in Earth Science Education: The Role of Geoscience in Implementing the Next Generation Science Standards (organized by Drs. Michael Wysession and Passow

T80. Integrating Students with Learning Differences into a Geoscience Curriculum: Examples, Strategies, and Lessons

T85. Preparing Pathways in K–12 Classrooms for Tomorrow’s Diverse Geoscience Workforce: Teachers, Students, and Communities

T86. Research on Teaching and Student Learning in the K–12 Earth Science Classroom, and

T25. An Early Involvement of Undergraduates and K–12 Students in Geological Research Brings a Strong Sense of Ownership and Achievement for Young Researchers (Posters). You can find out more and submit an abstract to these Topical Sessions.

Information about the 2015 GSA Baltimore Conference is now available. There is a reduced registration fee for K-12 teachers.

Submit Abstracts to the GSA Baltimore, AGU Fall 2015, and/or AMS NOLA
by Michael Passow

Abstract submissions are now open for three major 2015-2016 professional society conferences where K-12 educators can inform and influence colleagues in higher education, federal and state agencies, and other fields.

First up is the Geological Society of America conference in Baltimore on Nov 1- 4. There are a number of Topical Sessions that may be of interest to you as you seek a venue to share your research and programs. (See the accompanying item in this E-News for information about GSA Field Trips and Short Courses that you also wish to attend.) Abstract deadline is 11 Aug.

This year's American Geoscience Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco is 14 - 18 Dec. Here, as at the GSA meeting, NESTA President Mike Passow and Dr. Michael Wysession of Washington University co-host sessions spotlighting efforts to implement the NGSS successfully in Earth Science Education. Follow the link from the conference home page to Abstract submission. Abstract deadline is 5 Aug.

You're also welcome to participate in the AGU GIFT/Geoscience Information For Teachers Workshop, which will be on two days of the conference. Watch for more information about this as plans become finalized.

The 96th American Meteorological Society Meeting will take place in New Orleans from 10 - 14 January. Consider submitting an oral or poster abstract for the 25th Symposium on Education or another program. Abstract deadline is 3 Aug.

Earth Science Current Events

New Horizons Pluto Encounter
by Ardis Herrold

The New Horizons spacecraft made history on July 15th as it achieved its closest approach to the dwarf planet Pluto at 7:49 am EDT, after a journey of more than nine years and three billion miles. This historic encounter was brief, since New Horizons did not enter into orbit, but instead sped by Pluto at 30,000 mph, since it would take an enormous amount of fuel to “brake” the spacecraft, due to Pluto’s low gravity.

New Horizons is at such a large distance from Earth that it will take until sometime in December to transmit all the data from the Pluto encounter to Earth. If all goes well, an extended mission may send the spacecraft to another Kuiper Belt object in 2018 or 2019.

An appropriate theme for this approaching school year would be dwarf planets, since Ceres was first visited by the Dawn spacecraft in March. The two dwarfs make an excellent study in contrast, as well as the technologies employed by the two spacecraft, since Ceres is located in the asteroid belt, much closer to the Sun.

The cost of the New Horizons mission to Pluto is around 700 million dollars, which works out to about $2.50 per person in the United States. For the latest information, visit NASA New Horizons and the Dawn mission to Ceres.

State ESTA news

2nd NYSESTA Summer Field Conference
by Michael Passow

Congratulations to the New York State Earth Science Teachers Association on their successful 2nd Summer Field Conference. This years program was hosted at SUNY Stony Brook on Long Island.

NYESTA provided field trips to study the coastal and glacial structures at locations on the South and North Shores. These included a breach on Fire Island created by Hurricane Sandy, evidence for sub-glacial streams running through tunnels as the Pleistocene ended, and transported erratics as large as garages.

NYESTA presented Distinguished Service in ES Education Awards to Dr. Don Duggan-Haas and Gary Vorwald.

Each year, NYESTA members, who are also NESTA members, visit a different part of New York State. Last year's conference featured the Finger Lakes region. Next year will be at SUNY Oneonta in the Appalachain Plateau.

For more information, go to the NYESTA website.

Calendar of Events

Partial Solar Eclipse

Total Lunar Eclipse

California Science Teachers Association
10/02/2015 , Sacremento, CA

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.

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