Author Archives: Mary Bigelow

Mary Bigelow

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

Ideas and inspiration from NSTA’s October 2017 K-12 journals

Having just completed an online course on climate change, I was interested in the Commentary: Why the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change Matters for Science Education, from The Science Teacher, and the important role science teachers play in helping students understand this global issue. The featured articles in Science Scope and The Science Teacher focus […]

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Retooled, not retired

I did not have a formal mentor when I was a new teacher. As I struggled, several colleagues and an administrator must have seen some potential and offered me advice and support. I was glad to return the favor during my career as a classroom teacher and administrator by mentoring and providing professional development. However, […]

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Science specialists

I am K-6 science specialist in Australia. I am keen to make contact with others in this unique employment situation. I’m interested in issues such as timetabling (scheduling), support from the school, and any issues with the teachers’ union. – C., New South Wales Some U.S. schools have elementary science specialists. Depending on the school, […]

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Make-up work

When students miss a lab activity, what are some meaningful ways they can make up the work? — R., Oregon Most students don’t want to miss lab investigations, but when they do, it can affect their learning in the rest of the unit. Finding time for make-up work outside of class can be difficult in […]

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Ideas and inspiration from NSTA’s September 2017 K-12 journals

Commentary: Reasoning Versus Post-Truth in The Science Teacher is an important read in a time when dependence on unverified information from social media seems to be more prevalent than using trusted sources that value reasoning. Science Scope – STEM Integration From the Editor’s Desk: STEM Integration: A Tall Order: “The shift from teaching math and […]

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Focus on learning activities

My fourth-grade students like doing hands-on science activities. How can I get them to focus on the activity rather than socializing? —C., West Virginia You want students to enjoy the activity and talk with each other, but students need to understand the activity is purposeful and not “free” time. Your preparation and routines will make […]

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Interacting with students

I’m looking for ideas to get to know my students better and interact with them. My head spins with six different groups of students each day.  –M., Maryland You may have heard the idea that students don’t care what you know until they know you care. But in a secondary classroom, trying to connect with […]

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Middle school botanists

I see many good activities for middle school involving plants, but what if students already did something similar at the elementary level? I don’t want to spend time on duplicate activities or get the eye-roll “we already did this.” —M., Arizona I posed this question to a middle school biology teacher. His students came from […]

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Classroom supplies

I will start teaching in an elementary school this year. When I looked in what will be my future my classroom, but I didn’t see supplies or equipment for teaching science. What can I do now? –  —G., Michigan Describe the situation to your principal before you panic. There may be a central storeroom or […]

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Planning for a substitute

I’m preparing for my first year as a science teacher. I’ve heard I should have a folder for a substitute teacher, but I’m not sure what should be in it besides a lesson plan. —H., Georgia Good substitutes deserve respect as professional colleagues and can ease your mind when you’re away. Ask your mentor or […]

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