Author Archives: Mary Bigelow

Mary Bigelow

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

Navigating a New Role






This year, as a science supervisor, I will be observing teachers. I’m not sure whether I should interact with them during classroom visits if I see something that could be improved. How involved should I be? —J., Pennsylvania You have a wonderful opportunity to observe (and learn from) a variety of teachers and share your […]

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






Start off the school year with ideas and resources from your NSTA colleagues. Science and Children – Sharing Products: Science Exhibitions and Beyond The featured articles this month describe how teachers and students can go beyond traditional replicas and science fairs to create products and processes that showcase their learning and problem-solving skills (and their […]

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Feeling stressed






I’m a first-year middle school life science teacher. After a few weeks, I am really stressed with all of the planning and paperwork. Any resources or words of encouragement? —L., New York Welcome to science teaching! Every teacher has gone through what you’re experiencing, even if they had a great student teaching experience. Fortunately, there […]

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Ideas for a new mentor teacher






My principal asked me to be a mentor for a new science teacher. I received a checklist of high school policies to review, but how can I help him in other ways? – T., New Jersey In my experience, a good mentor can be a role model, a good listener, a source of suggestions and […]

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Surveying student perceptions






I want to study my middle school students’ perceptions of what and how they are learning in science. Do you have any suggestions other than a traditional survey? —R., Ohio I found some research on the topic at Drawn to Science: Studying Science Teaching and Learning Through Drawings.  The authors examined “how the science teaching […]

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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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