September 2016 – Vol. 29 No. 1

Ed Begley, Jr. Practices What He Preaches!

Posted: Friday, September 30th, 2011

by Tim Williamson

You will have to look long and hard to find a man like Ed Begley, Jr.  He is a conservationist educator and a tenacious supporter of the “sustainability” lifestyle.  If ever there was a man who practices what he preaches, Ed Begley, Jr. is that man.  I had the privilege of listening to Ed when he was the California Science Education Conference keynote speaker in Palm Springs in 2005.  He captivates his audience with personal stories of environmental awareness, adding a touch of humor to keep you interested as well as entertained.

Perhaps the best way to introduce you to this phenomenal gentleman is to share his professional bio with you…

When it comes to taking personal responsibility for the environment, few individuals can match the record of actor and activist Ed Begley, Jr. Known for turning up at Hollywood events on his bicycle, he has served as chairman of the Environmental Media Association and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. He serves on the boards of many organizations, including the Thoreau Institute and the Midnight Mission, His work has earned awards from numerous environmental groups including the California League of Conservation Voters, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Coalition for Clean Air, Heal the Bay, the Santa Monica Baykeeper and the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation. Currently, he is the co-star of the hit Planet Green series Living with Ed, a look at the day-to-day realities of “living green” with his wife Rachelle Carson, who’s not quite as enthusiastic about a rain barrel as he. The series has currently just finished airing its 3rd season. His first book, Living Like Ed, hit the streets nationally in February 2008, and the second book, Ed Begley’s Guide to Sustainable Living came out in August of 2009.

Inspired by the works of his Academy Award-winning father, Begley became an actor. He

first came to audiences attention for his portrayal of Dr. Victor Ehrlich on the long-running hit television series St. Elsewhere, for which he received six Emmy nominations. Since then, Begley has moved easily between feature films, television and theatre projects. He has appeared in several Christopher Guest films, including A Mighty Wind, Best In Show and For Your Consideration. Recent feature film credits include Woody Allen’s Whatever Works with Larry David, as well as Pineapple Express with Seth Rogan. Begley has also appeared in Batman Forever, The Accidental Tourist and The Inlaws. In 2008, Begley appeared in the HBO feature Recount starring Kevin Spacey, as well as the Emmy-nominated Lifetime movie, Georgia O’Keefe, with Jeremy Irons and Joan Allen in 2009

On television, Begley has had recurring roles on Six Feet Under and Arrested Development. He has also guest starred on such series as The West Wing, The Practice, and Boston Legal. Most recently, Begley was featured in Gary Unmarried, The New Adventures Of Old Christine, and Party Down. In 2009, Begley again worked twice with director Christopher Guest – once on a series of commercials for DirecTV, and again on a series of commercials for the 2010 Census. Currently, Begley is working as a guest star on two network series – NBC’s Outlaw starring Jimmy Smits and Foxs The Good Guys starring Colin Hanks and Bradley Whitford.

Begley also starred in the West Coast premiere of David Mamets Cryptogram at the Geffen Playhouse, in a role that he first performed in Boston and then in New York. He

also starred in Mr. Mamets production of Romance at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.

This talented actor has also directed several episodes of the hit TV series NYPD Blue as well as a stage play that he wrote and directed called Cesar and Ruben that won a Nos Otros Award and four Valley Theater League awards.

Begley lives in Studio City, CA in a small, energy efficient home with his wife and co-star Rachelle Carson and their daughter Hayden.

Off-screen and off-stage, Ed Begley, Jr.devotes his time and energy to environmental action.  He is widely known and respected for the examples of conservation and waste-reduction he sets in his private life.  His home in Los Angeles is run almost entirely off of solar panels and, even with an electric car, his monthly electric bill is less than $40.

Please join Ed Begley, Jr. for an entertaining and enlightening keynote address at this year’s California Science Education Conference in Pasadena, sponsored by Chevron.  This exciting event will be Sunday, October 23, 2011 from 11:45 am-1:00 pm.  Learn about ways we can educate ourselves and our students on how to “live simply so that others can simply live”.

“Our planet is an asset with value – lets not treat it like a “going-out-of-business” sale!”

Ed Begley, Jr.

Tim Williamson is a science methods instructor at CSU Long Beach and is past-president of CSTA.

Written by Tim Williamson

Tim Williamson is a science methods instructor at CSU Long Beach and is a member and past-president of CSTA.

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California Science Assessment Update

Posted: Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

by Jessica Sawko

In June 2016 California submitted a waiver application to discontinue using the old CST (based on 1998 standards) and conduct two years of pilot and field tests (in spring 2017 and 2018, respectively) of the new science assessment designed to support our state’s current science standards (California Next Generation Science Standards (CA-NGSS) adopted in 2013). The waiver was requested because no student scores will be provided as a part of the pilot and field tests. The CDE received a response from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on September 30, 2016, which provides the CDE the opportunity to resubmit a revised waiver request within 60 days. The CDE will be revising the waiver request and resubmitting as ED suggested.

At its October 2016 North/South Assessment meetings CDE confirmed that there will be no administration of the old CST in the spring of 2017. (An archive of the meeting is available at Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Some ways to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in your classroom

Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

by Carol Peterson

1) To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, Google has put together a collection of virtual tours combining 360-degree video, panoramic photos and expert narration. It’s called “The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks” and is accessible right from the browser. You can choose from one of five different locales, including the Kenai Fjords in Alaska and Bryce Canyon in Utah, and get a guided “tour” from a local park ranger. Each one has a few virtual vistas to explore, with documentary-style voiceovers and extra media hidden behind clickable thumbnails. Ideas are included for use in classrooms. Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

2016 Award Recipients – Join CSTA in Honoring Their Accomplishments

Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

CSTA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 CSTA Awards for Distinguished Contributions, Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, 2014 and 2015 PAEMST-Science recipients from California, and the 2016 California PAEMST Finalists. The following individuals and organizations will be honored during the 2016 California Science Education Conference  on October 21- 23 in Palm Springs. This year’s group of awardees are truly outstanding. Please join us in congratulating them!

Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award

John Keller

John Keller

The Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award honors an individual who has made a significant contribution to science education in the state and who, through years of leadership and service, has truly made a positive impact on the quality of science teaching. This year’s recipient is John Keller, Ph.D. Dr. Keller is Associate Professor, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Co-Director, Center for Engineering, Science, and Mathematics Education, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In her letter of recommendation, SDSU science education faculty and former CSTA board member Donna Ross wrote: “He brings people together who share the desire to make a difference in the development and implementation of programs for science teaching. Examples of these projects include the Math and Science Teaching Initiative (MSTI), Noyce Scholars Program, Western Regional Noyce Initiative, and the Science Teacher and Researcher (STAR) program.” Through his work, he has had a dramatic impact on science teacher education, both preservice and in-service, in California, the region, and the country. He developed and implemented the STEM Teacher and Researcher Program which aims to produce excellent K-12 STEM teachers by providing aspiring teachers with opportunities to do authentic research while helping them translate their research experience into classroom practice. SFSU faculty member Larry Horvath said it best in his letter:“John Keller exemplifies the best aspects of a scientist, science educator, and mentor. His contributions to science education in the state of California are varied, significant, and I am sure will continue well into the future.” Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

NGSS: Making Your Life Easier

Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

by Peter A’hearn

Wait… What?

NGSS is a big shift. Teachers need to learn new content, figure out how this whole engineering thing relates to science, and develop new unit and lesson plans. How could NGSS possibly make life easier?

The idea that NGSS could make our lives easier came to me during the California State NGSS Rollout #1 Classroom Example lesson on chromatography. I have since done this lesson with high school chemistry students and it made me think back to having my own students do chromatography. I spent lots of time preparing to make sure the experiment went well and achieved the “correct” result. I pre-prepared the solutions and organized and prepped the materials. I re-wrote and re-wrote again the procedure so there was no way a kid could get it wrong. I spent 20 minutes before the lab modeling all of the steps in class, so there was no way to do it wrong. Except that it turns out there were many. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the K-12 science specialist in the Palm Springs Unified School District and is Region 4 Director for CSTA.

Celestial Highlights, September 2016

Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graph of evening planet setting times by Dr. Jeffrey L. Hunt 

Our evening twilight chart for September, depicting the sky about 40 minutes after sunset from SoCal, shows brilliant Venus remaining low, creeping from W to WSW and gaining a little altitude as the month progresses. Its close encounter within 2.5° N of Spica on Sept. 18 is best seen with binoculars to catch the star low in bright twilight. The brightest stars in the evening sky are golden Arcturus descending in the west, and blue-white Vega passing just north of overhead. Look for Altair and Deneb completing the Summer Triangle with Vega. The triangle of Mars-Saturn-Antares expands as Mars seems to hold nearly stationary in SSW as the month progresses, while Saturn and Antares slink off to the SW. Learn More…

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Written by Robert Victor

Robert Victor

Robert C. Victor was Staff Astronomer at Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs, CA. Robert is a member of CSTA.