Author Archives: Mary Bigelow

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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Involving students on day one

I’m not sure what to do on the first day of my new middle school assignment (I started student teaching in the spring, so I never had the experience of a “first day”). Any suggestions? —C., Minnesota On the first day, middle schoolers meet 6-8 different teachers. Listening to each teacher read the syllabus, describe […]

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The science event of the year

Even if your location is not in the path of the total solar eclipse, viewing a partial one is an amazing event. If you’re looking for safety tips, a refresher on the science of eclipses, classroom activities on the topic, or professional development, NSTA has many resources to assist. Download the Observer’s Guide to Viewing […]

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Students’ Self-Assessment and Reflection

Do you have ideas on how to help my middle school students become more thoughtful, independent learners? —J., Michigan In my experience, self-assessment and reflective activities gave students ownership in their learning. Self-assessment is more than students “correcting” their own papers. When students self-assess, they reflect on the results of their efforts and their progress […]

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Learning from experience

My first year of teaching biology was challenging, but I made it! Do you have any suggestions for what I should do to improve for next year?  —C, Virginia Congratulations for completing your first year! A good way to prepare for next year is to reflect on this one, learning from your experiences. How did […]

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

Get ready for the total eclipse visible in parts of the US: Scope on the Skies: Vocabulary of the Skies Why, How, and Where to View Totality Science & Children – The Science and Math Connection Editor’s Note: The “Fundamental Tools” of Science: As they [students] investigate, we can move them beyond play by emphasizing […]

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From teacher to administrator

I have assumed an administrative position in my high school. Although I’m sad to leave the classroom, I’m looking forward to this challenge. I have the credentials but not much experience, so I need insights on making the transition. —C., New York Congratulations on your new professional adventure! If you have not formally been assigned […]

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Inventing inventors

I’m looking for ideas to integrate physical science and social studies at the middle school level. — E., New Jersey Inventions and inventors could be an interesting context to explore the connections between science, engineering, technology, history, and economics. A social studies colleague framed a unit around two questions: Why do we invent or innovate? […]

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Student questions

What do I do when a student asks a question related to the lesson and I don’t know the answer? I don’t have a strong background in science, and as a beginning teacher this makes me nervous. —C., Massachusetts Virtually every teacher has been in this situation, with curious students or those who want more […]

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Interview lesson

I’m a recent graduate, looking for an elementary teaching position. I’ve heard I could be asked to teach a lesson as part of an interview. How should I prepare? —N., Ohio Sometimes the interview process does have a performance component. I’ve been part of the process (as both the interviewer and interviewee) in which applicants […]

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