Author Archives: Mary Bigelow

Mary Bigelow

Have a question for Ms. Mentor? E-mail her: msmentor@nsta.org.

Engineering activities for students






If you’re concerned about how to teach engineering concepts in a K-12 environment, here are two resources that may be helpful. The TeachEngineering project is designed “to make applied science and math come alive through engineering design in K-12 settings.” Concepts in life, earth and physical science are taught, connected, and reinforced through real-life problems […]

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Connecting with your students






I meet with more than 100 students per day in my Earth science classes. As a relatively new teacher, I need suggestions on how to get to know them better including learning their names and interests in a timely manner. – L., Connecticut Students like to know teachers care about and respect them. Knowing their […]

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Prepping an empty classroom






I just took a fifth-grade position, and the principal showed me the classroom I’ll have. It’s a brand-new building, and there’s nothing in the classroom—just the student tables, bare bulletin boards, a few empty bookshelves, and a teacher desk. When I was student teaching, the classrooms had lots of interesting bulletin boards and centers, but […]

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Changing schools






I’m moving to a different state to take a teaching position. I don’t know anyone there, so where can I look for guidance on state standards and other resources that would be helpful in my new job? —W., Pennsylvania Congratulations on finding a job! I hope you will have a mentor and meet other colleagues […]

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Ideas and information from NSTA’s Summer K-12 journals






These issues are great additions to your summer reading list! Most of the lessons in these journals include a detailed chart connecting the lesson to the NGSS. Science and Children – From Molecules to Organisms The featured articles focus on developing a progression of learning for younger students. Native Plants and Seeds, Oh My! – […]

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Changing grade levels

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Next year there will be an opening in the high school science department. Although I love teaching middle school, I’m tempted by the opportunity to try something different and use more of what I majored in (chemistry). What advantages and disadvantages should I consider?—C., New Jersey Taking on new subjects or grade levels can be […]

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Managing Communication Channels

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Last year, I tried improving my communications with students and parents via electronic media. I had lots of responses, but I was being texted, tweeted, emailed, and called on the phone at all times of the day and night. While I want to encourage these communications, I’m looking for ideas to manage them and keep […]

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Teaching more than one subject






I’m a recent graduate. A school district where I would really like to teach has an opening for a secondary science teacher. But when I read the job description, the position requires teaching five classes of two different subjects (general biology and an environmental science elective). During student teaching, I just taught biology. Is it […]

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DIY Your Science PD






As a K-12 science department chair, I’m looking for professional development (PD) opportunities for our teachers. It’s hard to find speakers and programs for a small group. We have a very small budget, so traveling for conferences is not an option, either. Are you familiar with other options? —K., Minnesota Continuing education is an important […]

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“Science 101”






Each month in NSTA’s Science and Children journal, Bill Robertson* writes an informational article on a science concept. These “background boosters” present content information in an easy-to-read format with many illustrations and applications for the classroom. Science 101 articles have a conversational rather than a technical style. Secondary teachers who want additional information can access […]

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