Author Archives: Mary Bigelow

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Gardening in schools

I want to encourage elementary students to spend time outside. We don’t have a lot of funds for field trips, and I think it would be better to have an ongoing project. I also want to involve teachers and students of all grade levels and subject areas, not just science. I’m considering a school garden, […]

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What time of day is best for science?

When scheduling science at the elementary level, which is better for students: having science class in the morning or the afternoon? We have always had reading and math in the morning with science and social studies in the afternoon. But now my colleagues and I are wondering if there are better ideas. —H., Maryland When […]

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Reviewing during a unit

Do you have any suggestions on how to help students review and apply what they learn during a unit? I’ve tried creating games and contests, but the students don’t seem to get much out of them.   —C., Minnesota Many teachers have special review sessions prior to a test. With my middle and high school students, […]

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Online resource collections

NSTA’s SciLinks has a searchable database of vetted websites with information, graphics, and lesson plans. These cover topics K-12 in the life, physical and earth sciences as well as health and engineering. The sites are correlated to specific keywords (such as Food Chains, Phases of the Moon, or Magnetic Fields). The data base is available […]

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Professional development strategies

I’ve been asked to conduct a science workshop for elementary teachers. Can you suggest fun activities for us?  —D., Illinois I’m concerned about science professional development (PD) that consists of gee-whiz, dazzling “experiments” done by a presenter in front of an audience of teachers. I witnessed such a presentation once. The K-3 teachers all replicated […]

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Presentation options

One of my goals is for students to communicate what they’re learning in science through presentations. For many of my students, traditional oral reports are overwhelming. I’m looking for authentic, less stressful alternatives.    —T., Oregon One year, I assigned every student a 5-8 minute oral report on a science topic that interested them. I thought […]

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Crosscutting concepts

Themes, big ideas, unifying concepts—as the editor of Science Scope writes, the idea of crosscutting concepts in science is not a new one. (See the guest editorial Interdisciplinary Science: A Fresh Approach From the Past in Science Scope) But what is new in the NGSS is how the concepts integrate with science/engineering practices and disciplinary […]

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Meet me in the middle

Another round table/poster session at the NSTA conference–this time focused on middle school science. It was quite a hike to the end of the conference center, but the sharing session (and the view of Lake Michigan) was worth it! Those who attended were treated to another “extravaganza” of ideas for their classrooms. From activities that […]

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Elementary Extravaganza

I just finished visiting the Elementary Extravaganza at the NSTA 2015 conference. What an amazing display of what our youngest student/scientists are doing! The teacher/presenters showed how to engage students in experimenting with circuits, studying living things up close and personal, notebooking, going on virtual field trips, building/making things, and connecting reading and writing with […]

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Materials for elementary science?

I’m starting a new position as a first grade teacher in a few weeks. When I toured the classroom I’ll be in, I saw very few science-related materials. I want to emphasize science with my students, so what should I start to gather up?  —J., Georgia There are many schools in which science, especially in […]

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