Science Scope: Don’t Teach Tweens Science Without It!

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NSTA recognizes the key role that middle school science educators play through Science Scope, a peer-reviewed journal published nine times during the year. If you are like me, you eagerly anticipate the arrival of the latest Science Scope issue. Its presence in your mailbox is like a breath of fresh air, harkening you to try new activities and teaching strategies in your classroom. My personal relationship with Science Scope has changed over the years; I am a long-time reader and have also written several features. Today, I am embarking on a new journey with Science Scope—that of its field editor. Science Scope is OUR personal journal—a journal dedicated to those of us who understand the challenges of teaching the tweens. The strength of Science Scope lies in the quality and diversity of articles submitted by teachers like you—teachers who know how to employ thoughtful and purposeful methods for directing the effervescent energy of a middle school child into meaningful learning about the world around them.

Middle school educators are compassionate and caring people who never fail to volunteer their time or energy. As such, I encourage you to consider sharing a teaching or classroom management idea with other middle school science educators by writing an article for Science Scope. I know many of you are thinking “I could never write an article,” but I’m here to tell you that “Yes, you CAN!” It truly takes a team to produce the articles that you see in Science Scope; reviewers, editors, and NSTA’s amazing art department will help to take your raw idea and turn it into the polished product you see when you open the pages of Science Scope. You do not have to a gifted writer to be published in Science Scope, but you do have to be passionate about your craft and have a desire to share your ideas with others—characteristics that all middle school science teachers possess. If you are truly fearful of your ability to convey your ideas, try connecting with a language arts teacher in your building; a glance through Science Scope will reveal frequent co-authored articles.

If you are still unsure about writing a full-fledged article, I encourage you to volunteer to review for Science Scope. In doing so, you will see a variety of submitted manuscripts and will quickly comprehend how the germ of a great idea can be fleshed out into a magnificent piece. This metamorphosis is impossible without the contributions of reviewers; people such as yourself who understand how classroom management, safety, instruction, and assessment interplay to optimize leaning for our students. The time commitment for reviewing is minimal; you can expect to review six or eight manuscripts over the course of the year. In doing so, you will be playing an instrumental role in shaping future issues of Science Scope as you assist writers by providing recommendations for improvement. The process itself is known as a double-blind peer review in which the reviewer does not know the name of the author and the author does not know the name of the reviewer. This allows you to provide open and honest feedback via a forum that ultimately increases the quality of the articles you read. In addition, I promise that reviewing for Science Scope will result in professional growth and that you will enjoy the heightened involvement with NSTA (if you are interested in perusing the Manuscript Review Form).

As the school year ends and you relax by the pool, do some gardening, or go camping, I encourage you to consider how you can increase your personal relationship with Science Scope. Jot down some ideas you have for sharing with others and check the Call for Papers to see if any of your ideas match one of the upcoming themes. Do not feel that you have to write for a theme, however. ALL articles related to the teaching of middle school science—no matter what the content—are welcome! Consider, too, the possibility of writing for an established column. The Tried and True column is a perfect fit if you have a unique or updated twist on an established idea, the Toolkit column addresses teaching, classroom management, and assessment strategies, and Science on a Shoestring allows you to provide tips on how to create equipment or models that all budgets can afford.

Patty McGinnisHopefully, I have piqued your interest about becoming a member of the Science Scope community. Please contact me if you would like to review for OUR journal or if you have questions about the manuscript submission process. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Patty McGinnis teaches at Arcola Intermediate School in Eagleville, PA. She is the field editor for Science Scope. She can be reached at

Cover of the April/May 2016 issue of Science ScopeGet more involved with NSTA!

Join NSTA today and receive Science Scope, the peer-reviewed journal just for middle school teachers; connect on the middle level science teaching list (members can sign up on the list server); or consider joining your peers for Meet Me in the Middle Day (MMITM) at the National Conference on Science Education in Los Angeles in the spring of 2017.

The mission of NSTA is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.

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