NSTA publication monthly features

In addition to articles on a featured theme for each issue, NSTA journals have monthly columns that offer suggestions on content and teaching strategies for K-12. If you subscribe to a journal as a member, you have access to all of these!

Science & Children: (Middle school teachers may want to look at the activities, especially for students who may not have had many experiences in science.)

  • Teaching Through Trade Books by Christine Royce features two trade books related to science (K-2 and 3-5) and two 5E investigations related to the topic.  The feature concludes with a section showing the connections  between the reading and activities with  A Framework for K–12 Science Education and the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and/or Mathematics. This month’s issue has students investigating space travel by designing their own rockets and manipulating variables to determine if the rocket’s performance changes.
  • The Early Years by Peggy Ashbrook focuses on our youngest learners (Pre-K to grade 2). In a conversational style, Peggy describes how to foster children’s natural curiosity about the world around them. The article also includes a lesson idea appropriate for these budding scientists. This month’s issue talks about students growing plants and discussing evidence for how plants reproduce.
  • Formative Assessment Probes by Page Keeley features a probe from the popular series of books (you can download it) and describes how it can be used. The summer 2013 probe deals with the topic “Is It a Solid?”
  • Author Bill Robertson describes Science 101 as a “background booster” with an easy-to-read discussion. This month’s question is “What is the difference between solids and liquids?”
  • Methods and Strategies has ideas from many authors for lessons and projects. The article often includes handouts, rubrics, and detailed descriptions for techniques you can adapt to your class or grade level. This month’s issue describes a science ecology club and an environmental education family science night.

Science Scope (Teachers at the upper elementary grades as well as high school teachers may find ideas that can be adapted for other grade levels):

  • In the Green Science column, = a variety of authors share ideas for lessons or schoolwide activities to promote environmental science projects and “green” practices in school. This month’s issue discusses nanotechnology.
  • Ken Roy’s Scope on Safety should be required reading at science department meetings! (and the topic in Science Scope is different than the one in The Science Teacher—two for the price of one!). This month’s issue discusses various ways to communicate in an emergency.
  • Scope on the Skies by Bob Riddle takes a seasonal look at astronomy topics (note to earth science teachers of any age!), such as viewing the planets in the summertime.

The Science Teacher (Teachers at the middle school can find ideas for interested students. Teachers of any age level can enhance their background knowledge of science content, lab practices, and safety):

  • Each month, Safer Science by Ken Roy discusses safety issues in the science classroom and laboratory (and it’s usually a different topic than in Science Scope for a double dose of safety information.) This month’s issue discusses the need to have a qualified employee provide technical guidance on implementing the Chemical Hygiene Plan.
  • Career of the Month features interviews with scientists, engineers, and other professionals who share their experiences. This column would certainly be appropriate for middle school and upper elementary students to explore the possibilities.
  • Health Wise by Michael E. Bratsis has information and activities to help students learn to make healthy choices. For example, the summer issue features sunscreens and skin cancer myths.
  • Science 2.0 by Eric Brunnsell and Martin Horejsi is brief look at using webtools to support learning in science. Each month has a different tool or technique. This month’s issue discusses using voice-command options in the science lab and classroom.
  • Michael Romano has useful suggestions each month in the New Teacher’s Toolbox. Share this with new teachers at any grade level! The Summer 2013 issue discusses using end-of-year surveys for feedback to help gauge your teaching style.
  • The Green Room by Amanda Beckrich has ideas for activities and classroom practices to make teaching and learning more environmentally friendly. This month’s issue discusses classroom activities related to extinction.
  • If you need an activity that integrates with a lot of content, the Idea Bank has a new idea every month. This month discusses social processes such as making claims, examining claims, replicating findings, and proposing alternate explanations in science.

If you don’t have time to browse all three journals, use the NSTA blog as a guide. Each month, all three journals are featured in the blog, complete with links to the table of contents and to related SciLinks topic.

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