Author Archives: Mary Bigelow

Mary Bigelow

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

Should I present at a conference?






My colleagues and I recently attended an NSTA conference. On the way home as we discussed what we learned, they suggested I share some of the successful activities I do in the classroom, but I’m not sure that others would be interested. Plus, I’d be really nervous doing a presentation, and I’m not sure how […]

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Start and end the year safely






Questions and discussions about safety are often seen in the NSTA e-mail listserves and discussion forums. Each month, columns on safety in the science classroom/lab are featured in NSTA’s Science Scope (Scope on Safety) and The Science Teacher (Safer Science), with occasional articles in Science and Children (Safety First). These columns are written by Ken […]

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The last days of the school year






I’m looking for suggestions for what to do during the last week of school, after final exams are over. I teach high school chemistry.  —T., Maryland It’s hard to justify students (and parents) why students should come to school on the last days of the year, if all they do is watch videos, do busywork, […]

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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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