Author Archives: Mary Bigelow

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Displaying Student Work

I inherited a classroom-lab from a retired teacher, and I want to replace some of the generic posters with displays of student work. One of my colleagues says this is not a good idea. She didn’t explain her reasons, but now I’m not sure what to do. —Therese, Charlotte, North Carolina I’ve worked on statewide [...]

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Language development in science

For many students, science itself is a new language, with specialized vocabulary and an emphasis on observations and evidence, rather than feelings or opinions. Even the graphics in books and websites go beyond being decorative to include the language of tables, diagrams, graphs, captions, sidebars, and footnotes. The featured articles in this issue demonstrate classroom- [...]

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Top 10 reasons for visting the conference exhibit hall

With a nod to David Letterman, here are my top 10 reasons for spending time in the exhibit hall: 10.  Interacting with people. You get a chance to meet and talk with other members and vendors. 9.  Planning ideas for your summer “vacation.” Lots of information about summer programs, travel opportunities, and graduate study. 8.  [...]

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Great ideas from Boston

On the train to Boston on Wednesday, the view for most of the ride was gray and dreary. But coming out of the station–blue sky and sun! After what seemed to be an endless winter, I hope that was a sign to indicate the bright ideas we’ll learn from our colleagues here at the conference. [...]

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Students as peer-editors (p. 2)

A previous question from a teacher related to using the peer-editing process in science class. Jaime Gratton follows up with a summary of her experiences: I would love to share what I did. I also received some responses and helpful resources from members of the NSTA email lists. For example, Jani replied with “My favorite [...]

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Students as peer-editors

My students are working on research papers about inventions or chemical processes set mostly during the Industrial Revolution. I was wondering if you had any suggestions about peer editing. —Jaime, Goffstown, New Hampshire Examining and commenting on each other’s writing can be a meaningful learning experience for students. By looking at others’ writing, students can [...]

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Scope on the skies

When I was in elementary/middle school, the earth and space sciences were largely ignored in the curriculum. We looked at some rocks and learned the names of the planets and a few constellations, but that was about it. In high school, earth and space science was not offered, even as an elective! Even though this [...]

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Earth Day

“Think globally, act locally” is a phrase we hear, and for younger students, thinking locally is important, too. Earth Day is celebrated on April 22, but the activities and investigations described in this month’s featured articles go beyond a single day and encourage students and teachers to consider what happens in their own lives and [...]

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New teacher “nightmare”

I am looking forward to my first teaching job, but I’m concerned about how parents will react to my being a “newbie” in the science department. Will this be an issue? What can I do to start off the year on a positive note? My nightmare is that all of the parents will request their [...]

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Using new technologies

Watching children and teenagers use computers, tablets, and smartphones, it’s easy to assume that these digital natives are very familiar with all of the new technologies. I’ve found that while they know what relates to their interests, many students are unaware of the full range of capabilities of their technology as learning tools. As the [...]

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