The Foundation has provided major support for two national curriculum projects, Investigating Earth Systems (grades 6-8), and Earth System Science in the Community (EarthComm) (grades 9-12). These important projects incorporate the National Science Education Standards, include a significant teacher enhancement and mentoring component, and make effective use of new, web-based technologies. EarthComm aims to bring the Earth sciences to parity with chemistry, physics, and biology and to provide for Earth science to be offered as a major science at the high-school level.
Why Earth Science has been popular since its creation in 2003. This brochure explains in clear, everyday language the importance of Earth science education for success in school, careers, informed decisionmaking, and civic engagement. AGI recently translated Why Earth Science? into Spanish to ensure that this vital message reaches the widest possible audience. Among America’s 40 million Hispanics — currently the nation’s largest minority — three in four speak Spanish at home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The geoscience community recognizes the demand for greater minority participation. With AGI Foundation support, AGI has distributed over 140,000 brochures to educators, professors, career counselors, museum and park officials, conference planners, Earth Science Week participants, and many others.
The Pulse of Earth Science website, launched during Earth Science Week 2007, provides up-to-date statistics on the status of Earth science education nationwide. With public schools dropping Earth science from required curricula and colleges closing geoscience departments in recent years, advocates need this information. For each state, the website provides data on teacher certification requirements, numbers of instructors teaching subjects, K-12 enrollment levels, required courses, coverage of Earth science in state standards, assessments, textbooks, and state contacts. The website also offers guidance on advocacy at the local, state, and national levels.
In addition, the Foundation has funded development of an online professional development tool for K-5 teachers focusing on Earth science. This Web-based resource, K-5 GeoSource, helps teachers understand standards-driven content and plan stimulating, systems-based lessons, take online courses, and access extensive free resources.
AGI’s Earth Science World web site offers students and teachers real-time data, background information, and interactive learning opportunities that complement and augment the curriculum materials.
The Why Earth Science? video is an 8-minute program for school audiences and the general public about the role of Earth science knowledge in life choices, voting decisions, and careers. Drawn from the high definition footage and state-of-the-art animations created for the Faces of Earth Science Channel/AGI television series, Why Earth Science? provides a compelling message for understanding our planet.
Earth Science and You will be a 60-minute DVD for elementary teachers using primarily the footage and animations created for the Faces of Earth television project. The DVD, entitled Earth Science and You, will allow elementary teachers to bring experiences to their students that would be impossible any other way. The footage and animations will take students around and inside the planet, out to space, back through time, and into natural hazard situations. They will learn how volcanoes and earthquakes work, how the Earth’s crust continually renews itself, and what factors influence climate change. They will get to see how geoscientists put together the story of the Earth through field work, laboratory models, tools such as remote sensing and seismic imaging, and supercomputer data crunching.
Additionally, the Edward C. Roy, Jr. Award For Excellence in K-8 Earth Science Teaching is supported through a Foundation endowment. This award is given annually to an elementary or middle school teacher who has demonstrated his or her ability to teach exemplary Earth science lessons. The award is given in honor of Dr. Edward C. Roy, Jr., a longtime champion of Earth science education.