Author Archives: Mary Bigelow

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






Elementary and middle school teachers have a real gold mine this month – both journals have the theme of Energy. Food for thought at any grade level–Commentary: Proactive Leadership in The Science Teacher describes what leadership should look like for teachers, departments, and administrators. The Science Teacher — Bringing Research Into the Classroom This issue […]

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Busy vs. Engaged






After a recent observation, my supervisor commented that the students did not seem engaged in the activity. I was surprised because the students were busy working. How can you tell if students are really “engaged”? —P., Oklahoma Ask your supervisor what he or she saw (or did not see). What indicators would have determined “engagement” […]

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Statistics for younger students






Our math department wants students in all subjects and grade levels to do more with statistics and graphing. I do graphing with my students in elementary science, but are younger students ready for statistics? —G., Pennsylvania The science and engineering practices in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) include several that incorporate statistics and graphing: […]

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Teacher as scientist






I have a degree in biology and teach high school. Although I love teaching at this level, I miss doing real scientific work myself. Any suggestions on how I can still stay engaged and current in science? —T., Illinois Although we teach a variety of topics, teachers have areas of special interests. And as we […]

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Suggestions for a lab update






I have a chance to contribute to the design of the science classrooms in a middle school. What should be on a “must-have” list? —S., Connecticut I would strongly recommend using the NSTA Guide to Planning School Science Facilities. This publication has a chapter on safety guidelines (including material storage), sample floorplans, Americans with Disabilities […]

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






Educators at all levels  will find ideas on helping students with Meeting the Challenges of Communicating Science in his month’s Science and Children. Many of the strategies can be adapted for other levels. Science and Children – The Speaking, Reading, and Writing Connection to Science This issue is a must-read for teachers of all levels. […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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