Author Archives: Mary Bigelow

Mary Bigelow

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

Meaningful class discussions






I’m looking for suggestions on how to have class discussions that are meaningful and help students with our learning goals, especially discussing current events or the results of our investigations. Sometimes it goes off-topic or students don’t listen to one another. —C., Virginia Being able to discuss issues and ideas in a productive manner is […]

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Ideas and information from NSTA’s April/May K-12 journals






This month, all three K-12 journals include the article Addressing Student Diversity and Equity. Another must-read article for all science teachers! Science and Children- Methods and Strategies Think about how the “methods and strategies” described the featured articles can be applied to other lessons and other grade levels. Most of the articles include examples of […]

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Attending a conference?






We are excited about attending an NSTA conference next year (it would be our first conference). The school has professional development funds to cover some of the expenses, but we have to write a proposal describing what we hope to learn from it. Any suggestions on what to include? We’ve never been to an event […]

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Apprehensive about teaching science






I’m nervous about teaching science. It was not my favorite subject in high school and I took only the required courses in college (mostly lecture). My elementary math-science methods course included science inquiry, but I had very few opportunities to do science activities during student teaching. Now that I’m on my own in a first […]

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






This month, all three K-12 journals include What We Call Misconceptions May Be Necessary Stepping-Stones Toward Making Sense of the World (a must-read) and Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12 (a must-share). The Science Teacher – Powered by the Sun Most of the lessons in TST include a detailed chart connecting the lesson to […]

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Girls and science






I teach middle school, and I’m looking for ways to interest girls in science. I seem to get a lot of “It’s too hard” and “I don’t like science.” What strategies could I use to overcome these attitudes? —C., Texas It’s hard to believe we’re still having this conversation in 2016! And yet the NSTA […]

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Advice for a new principal?






Our new principal, who used to be a language arts teacher, doesn’t seem to understand what it’s like to be a science teacher. He’s a good guy, but what can we do to “educate” him on what we do?  –L., Massachusetts I posed your question to a colleague who is a middle school principal. He […]

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First Time at an NSTA Conference? Up Your Game With These Insider Tips






Are you attending the 2016 NSTA National Conference on Science Education  in Nashville in March 31-April 3? If this is the first time you’ve attended the national conference, it can be overwhelming! Here are some suggestions to consider before you go, updated from last year: At this point, you should be registering, making arrangements for […]

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Teaching on the record






My mentor wants to video my middle school science class. I’m not having specific problems with students and I think my lessons are good, but this still makes me nervous. Why would she want to do this?  —G., Minnesota Actually, your mentor may be doing you a favor by introducing you to a meaningful professional […]

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






This month, all three journals include Planning NGSS-Based Instruction: Where Do You Start? This article is another must-read for teachers who are looking for ideas to incorporate student questions and interests with the Next Generation Science Standards. The lessons in all three journals include detailed graphic organizers showing how the authors would align the lesson […]

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