Author Archives: Mary Bigelow

How many “labs?”






I’m a first-year biology teacher. How do I decide how many labs I could or should do each week. My colleagues have different ideas about this.  —L., South Carolina Sometimes the word lab is used to describe any activities students do in groups in science class including investigations, experiments, projects, teacher demonstrations, laptop or tablet […]

Posted in Ms. Mentor | 1 Response

Encouraging questions






I need strategies to encourage students to ask their own questions. They answer mine and discuss topics, but when I ask them if they have any questions, I get a lot of blank looks. —A., Washington Asking questions and defining problems is one of the science and engineering practices of the Next Generation Science Standards […]

Posted in Ms. Mentor | Tagged | 2 Responses

Making the Most of Class Time






At the beginning of class, it takes my students a long time to settle down. We are wasting time as I try to get their attention. Any suggestions? –T., Maryland                                   To take advantage of the class time we have, it helps to have an established routine so students know what to do when they come […]

Posted in Ms. Mentor | 2 Responses

Time for science?






When I was student teaching, I had some really good science lessons for second-graders that lasted about an hour. But now I have only a half-hour for science each day. I need suggestions for shorter lessons. – C., Colorado I’m glad to hear that your school schedules science daily. In many elementary schools, science and […]

Posted in Ms. Mentor | Tagged , | 1 Response

Working cooperatively






I’m frustrated by my sixth graders. When they’re supposed to be working cooperatively, they are unfocused—it seems more like a social event. By middle school, shouldn’t students know how to work cooperatively? Or are they too immature? – G., Virgina Immaturity is not an excuse. I’ve seen wonderful cooperative learning taking place in kindergarten classes, […]

Posted in Ms. Mentor | Tagged | Leave a comment

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






The Four Strands of Science Learning and the Next Generation Science Standards from Science Scope is an informative article for teachers of any grade level. Science Scope – Earth Science Activities According to the editor, “Today’s students will become adults tasked with making decisions about environmental issues that will require a solid understanding of the […]

Posted in SciLinks | Leave a comment

Figure-it-out time






I get frustrated when I give directions for an activity and students immediately have questions about what to do. How can I help them become more confident and self-sufficient?  —C., Michigan Students have us trained! We offer directions or suggestions, and students know we’ll go over them again (and again). Some students panic right away […]

Posted in Ms. Mentor | Tagged | 2 Responses

Integrating Science and Engineering






In my elementary schedule, I barely have time for science, and now I’m concerned about teaching engineering, too. I’ve never studied engineering. Can you suggest some resources? —T., New Jersey You might feel a little more confident after reading “The Next Generation Science Standards and Engineering for Young Learners: Beyond Bridges and Egg Drops”  from […]

Posted in Ms. Mentor | Tagged , , | 4 Responses

Navigating a New Role






This year, as a science supervisor, I will be observing teachers. I’m not sure whether I should interact with them during classroom visits if I see something that could be improved. How involved should I be? —J., Pennsylvania You have a wonderful opportunity to observe (and learn from) a variety of teachers and share your […]

Posted in Ms. Mentor | Tagged | 2 Responses

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






Start off the school year with ideas and resources from your NSTA colleagues. Science and Children – Sharing Products: Science Exhibitions and Beyond The featured articles this month describe how teachers and students can go beyond traditional replicas and science fairs to create products and processes that showcase their learning and problem-solving skills (and their […]

Posted in SciLinks | Leave a comment