May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

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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Participate in Chemistry Education Research Study, Earn $500-800 Dollars!

Posted: Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

WestEd, a non-profit educational research agency, has been funded by the US Department of Education to test a new molecular modeling kit, Happy Atoms. Happy Atoms is an interactive chemistry learning experience that consists of a set of physical atoms that connect magnetically to form molecules, and an app that uses image recognition to identify the molecules that you create with the set. WestEd is conducting a study around the effectiveness of using Happy Atoms in the classroom, and we are looking for high school chemistry teachers in California to participate.

As part of the study, teachers will be randomly assigned to either the treatment group (who uses Happy Atoms) or the control group (who uses Happy Atoms at a later date). Teachers in the treatment group will be asked to use the Happy Atoms set in their classrooms for 5 lessons over the course of the fall 2017 semester. Students will complete pre- and post-assessments and surveys around their chemistry content knowledge and beliefs about learning chemistry. WestEd will provide access to all teacher materials, teacher training, and student materials needed to participate.

Participating teachers will receive a stipend of $500-800. You can read more information about the study here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HappyAtoms

Please contact Rosanne Luu at rluu@wested.org or 650.381.6432 if you are interested in participating in this opportunity, or if you have any questions!

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.

2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption Reviewer Application

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

The California Department of Education and State Board of Education are now accepting applications for reviewers for the 2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption. The application deadline is 3:00 pm, July 21, 2017. The application is comprehensive, so don’t wait until the last minute to apply.

On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson forwarded this recruitment letter to county and district superintendents and charter school administrators.

Review panel members will evaluate instructional materials for use in kindergarten through grade eight, inclusive, that are aligned with the California Next Generation Science Content Standards for California Public Schools (CA NGSS). 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.

Lessons Learned from the NGSS Early Implementer Districts

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

On March 31, 2017, Achieve released two documents examining some lessons learned from the California K-8 Early Implementation Initiative. The initiative began in August 2014 and was developed by the K-12 Alliance at WestEd, with close collaborative input on its design and objectives from the State Board of Education, the California Department of Education, and Achieve.

Eight (8) traditional school districts and two (2) charter management organizations were selected to participate in the initiative, becoming the first districts in California to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Those districts included Galt Joint Union Elementary, Kings Canyon Joint Unified, Lakeside Union, Oakland Unified, Palm Springs Unified, San Diego Unified, Tracy Joint Unified, Vista Unified, Aspire, and High Tech High.

To more closely examine some of the early successes and challenges experienced by the Early Implementer LEAs, Achieve interviewed nine of the ten participating districts and compiled that information into two resources, focusing primarily on professional learning and instructional materials. 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.

Using Online Simulations to Support the NGSS in Middle School Classrooms

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

by Lesley Gates, Loren Nikkel, and Kambria Eastham

Middle school teachers in Kings Canyon Unified School District (KCUSD), a CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative district, have been diligently working on transitioning to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) integrated model for middle school. This year, the teachers focused on building their own knowledge of the Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs). They have been gathering and sharing ideas at monthly collaborative meetings as to how to make sure their students are not just learning about science but that they are actually doing science in their classrooms. Students should be planning and carrying out investigations to gather data for analysis in order to construct explanations. This is best done through hands-on lab experiments. Experimental work is such an important part of the learning of science and education research shows that students learn better and retain more when they are active through inquiry, investigation, and application. A Framework for K-12 Science Education (2011) notes, “…learning about science and engineering involves integration of the knowledge of scientific explanations (i.e., content knowledge) and the practices needed to engage in scientific inquiry and engineering design. Thus the framework seeks to illustrate how knowledge and practice must be intertwined in designing learning experiences in K-12 Science Education” (pg. 11).

Many middle school teachers in KCUSD are facing challenges as they begin implementing these student-driven, inquiry-based NGSS science experiences in their classrooms. First, many of the middle school classrooms at our K-8 school sites are not designed as science labs. Learn More…

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Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the NGSS Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

Celestial Highlights: May – July 2017

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

May Through July 2017 with Web Resources for the Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017

by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graphs of planet rising and setting times by Jeffrey L. Hunt.

In spring and summer 2017, Jupiter is the most prominent “star” in the evening sky, and Venus, even brighter, rules the morning. By mid-June, Saturn rises at a convenient evening hour, allowing both giant planets to be viewed well in early evening until Jupiter sinks low in late September. The Moon is always a crescent in its monthly encounters with Venus, but is full whenever it appears near Jupiter or Saturn in the eastern evening sky opposite the Sun. (In 2017, Full Moon is near Jupiter in April, Saturn in June.) At intervals of 27-28 days thereafter, the Moon appears at a progressively earlier phase at each pairing with the outer planet until its final conjunction, with Moon a thin crescent, low in the west at dusk. You’ll see many beautiful events by just following the Moon’s wanderings at dusk and dawn in the three months leading up to the solar eclipse. 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.