Author Archives: Mary Bigelow

Ideas for science “camp”






I’ve been asked to teach a voluntary summer enrichment science class for 20 upper elementary students.  I can determine the content and structure for the class. I have a modest budget, access to the science resources in the school, and the principal will assist with logistics. I’ve never done this before, so I’m looking for […]

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Sparking Discussions






Students in most of my classes actively participate. But in one freshman class, students are engaged in labs, but they just stare at me during class discussions. I ask open-ended questions a lot and make an effort to get students involved. How can I get these students more involved? – R., Iowa Who knows what’s […]

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Teaching as an art form






I’m preparing to be a chemistry teacher. In addition to chemistry and teacher prep classes, what else should I study to become an effective teacher? More math or physics? —T., Colorado While math and physics are important (especially if you’re pursuing other certifications), you also could become familiar with another language and the special education […]

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Contacting parents






I have several students in my biology classes who are very disruptive. I know I should contact their parents, but as a new teacher I’ve never done this. How I should handle this? —C., California I found at the secondary level, it was more effective to work with the students first, then contact parents (or […]

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






Regardless of what grade level you teach, you the resources in this month’s journals can help make this summer’s eclipse a memorable occasion for your students. Not all students will be back to school on August 21, so this spring is a good time to spark their interest and provide resources. Science Teachers as Community […]

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Setting personal and professional priorities






I teach fifth and sixth grade science, and I’m finding it hard to balance teaching, grad school, and family responsibilities. Are there any secrets for this? —E., Washington Everyone’s situation varies, so unfortunately there are no universal secrets. It may help to prioritize activities into essential, nice-if–you-can-get-to-it, and back burner. Your family and your health […]

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Learning more about NGSS






I’m a science teacher in a small district, and I’m curious about lessons that incorporate the three NGSS dimensions of and what they “look like.” Where can I find examples to share?  —B., New Hampshire A good place to find examples of lessons aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is NSTA’s K-12 journals […]

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“Iron Science” students






I used to assign projects for students to complete at home. But I’m now at a middle school where many students do not have access to materials and resources outside of class. I need alternatives for in-class projects!  –A., Colorado In-class projects would level the playing field if students receive materials and class time with […]

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Scaffolding science skills






Some of my students have little experience in lab investigations. My colleague suggested I “scaffold” my instruction to help them develop lab skills, but I’m not sure what that would look like.  —C., Virginia “Scaffolding” refers to guiding strategies designed to help students develop greater understanding of concepts and skills to become more independent learners. […]

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






All three journals this month include the inaugural Best STEM Books for Students K–12 with descriptions and reviews. The rubric and criteria used in selecting these books is also provided. Share it with your librarian, too. Crowdfunding for Elementary Science Educators in S&C has fund-raising ideas applicable to any grade level. Science Scope — Water […]

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