Author Archives: Mary Bigelow

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Mentoring a colleague

My principal asked me as the science department chair if I could help one of our new teachers. From the beginning, she’s having issues with classroom management and organization. I’m willing to do what I can to help her, and she is open to this help. Do you have any suggestions on what I can […]

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Ideas from NSTA September K–12 journals

Science and Children:  Engineering and Design Engineering and design are naturals for younger students. Just watch them play, invent things, and solve problems. The articles this month focus on these topics and how models (whether physical, two-dimensional, or mental) are important to the engineering and design process. Scampering Into Engineering!  5E learning-cycle mini-lessons in the […]

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Positive parent communications

When I taught at the elementary level it was easy to communicate with the parents of 25 students. Now that I’m teaching science at the middle school, I’m overwhelmed by the thought of trying to communicate personally with more than 150 parents. I’d like to go beyond quarterly progress reports or just posting grades online. […]

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Informal professional development

I teach in a private school that does not offer much in terms of professional development (PD), especially for science teachers. My colleagues and I would like to visit some science museums and centers. Would that count as PD? Do you have any other suggestions for us? —M., Maryland To a science teacher, an ideal […]

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Science vocabulary: See it, say it

How do you make vocabulary terms meaningful for students? I’m talking about really getting them to understand how the word or words are used in context. I feel students often just copy down a definition and never truly grasp how it relates to the topic at hand.   —S., Missouri Science students at all grade levels […]

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Connecting students and scientists

As the new school year is getting underway, are you looking for some experiences to get students focused on scientific thinking and research skills? How can we show students what scientists actually “do” and how they communicate? Many teachers share science articles on current research with students  or assign students to find them on the […]

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Electronic science notebooks

We’re a 1:1 school, and all of my students have access to iPads in class. I’m thinking of transitioning from hard-copy notebooks to electronic notebooks. My students are not thrilled with this.  —R., New York In a previous blog/column, Mary Morgan, a science teacher at Belton High School in Belton, Texas, shared her thoughts on […]

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Interactive science notebooks

Teachers often have questions about interactive science notebooks, especially at the secondary level. Mary Morgan, a high school science teacher from Belton High School in Belton, Texas, shares her experiences (These ideas refer to traditional formats. Ms Morgan will share her thoughts on electronic notebooks in a future blog.) Ms. Mentor: How are interactive science […]

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NSTA summer journals for K-12 teachers

Add these journals to your summer reading! The Science Teacher: Big Data As the editor says this month, “Scientific progress doesn’t result from simply accumulating data.” And data is definitely accumulating rapidly! Analyzing and interpreting data is one of the NGSS science and engineering practices, and how to organize, analyze, and interpret data (from students’ […]

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A graphic organizer for writing

When I ask students to write about a topic, most try to submit a collection of copy-and-paste paragraphs. I’m looking for strategies to help students create original writing.  —H., Georgia Before the Internet, when students were assigned to write on a topic, they went to the library, found the topic in an encyclopedia, and copied […]

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