Author Archives: Mary Bigelow

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Middle school to high school

I’ve heard that there will be a vacancy in the high school science department next year. The position is for three sections of general biology and two sections of environmental science (not AP). I currently teach middle school general science but I’m credentialed in biology and tempted to make a change after 10 years. What [...]

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Classroom science centers

One of my goals this year is to focus more on science. I teach at the elementary level (third grade), and I’m thinking of setting up a science corner in the classroom with materials and activities for students. Rather than reinventing the wheel, do you have any ideas? —Kate, Davenport, Iowa In a school I [...]

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Action research on notemaking/taking

In your response to my question about notetaking, you suggested “action research” on notetaking/notemaking as a professional development project. How would I go about beginning such a process? I have the question but I’ve never tackled something of this nature. —Kelly, Raleigh, North Carolina Action research is inquiry or research focused on efforts to improve [...]

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SciLinks Resources

For many of us, the school year is starting soon (if it hasn’t already). If you are looking for new materials to add to your collection or to supplement a textbook or other resource, check out SciLinks, NSTA’s online database of vetted websites. The websites in SciLinks have been submitted by a corps of “webwatchers“—teachers [...]

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Notetaking vs notemaking

I really want to stop “giving” notes to students because it doesn’t seem like a good use of class time. They use tablets, so they can find facts easily, but I want students to actually manipulate the content and think about it. But I’m struggling a bit with letting go of the notes. Guidance or [...]

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Ideas for must-have strategies

I’m mentoring two new science teachers this year, and I want to focus on must-have strategies and effective practices for science. I’m sure they will have their own needs, but, based on your experience, what would be important to include in a plan for them? —Chris, Baltimore, Maryland Your new teachers are fortunate to have [...]

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Making connections

One of the perks of being an NSTA member is having access to all of the journals online. Regardless of the grade level you teach, the journals have ideas that can be used, adapted, or extended for different levels of student interest and experience. In the July K-12 journals, the overarching theme seems to be [...]

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Professional Development Options

I was recently appointed K-12 science department chairperson. Our professional development budget is slim, but I’d like to do something other than the generic “sit-and-git” presentations we’ve had in the past. I’ve heard about using social media and other online resources for professional development. I’m open to any other ideas, too. Where should we start? [...]

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What is “Rigor”?

At the end of the year, my principal mentioned—again—that he wanted Honors Biology to be the “hardest” ninth grade course. I have tried explaining and showing that my Honors students are having different, more thought-provoking assignments, in addition to going into more depth than my general Biology classes. I think he equates rigor with students [...]

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Science safety

Ken Roy, NSTA Chief Science Safety Compliance Consultant and NSTA Safety Advisory Board Contact, has some comments based on the issue of a substitute leaving a science lab unattended, a situation described in a previous blog entry: In lieu of a “safety contract” as suggested, there is a need to have a safety acknowledgement form. [...]

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