Category Archives: Ask a Mentor

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Staying sharp

After a number of years working in the science industry I have now become a teacher. Do you have suggestions for maintaining my skills in both education and science? – B., Arizona I like your plan to stay current and active in your former work! Here are a few suggestions: Watch for professional development (PD) […]

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Small problems

I will be student teaching in a school with small classes – between 6 and 12 students. I find this to be challenging. Any suggestions or advice? — M., Kansas     I have had a few small classes in my career and I found them to be great opportunities to delve deeply into topics, […]

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3D classroom – with 3D!

How can you use 3D printers in your science classroom? — S., Alabama   Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) projects are the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about using 3D printers. You could have students design and fabricate parts for robots and other projects. There are many websites that […]

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Keep it grounded. Keep it real.

I’ve been teaching science for three years. My students seem to see science as an abstract subject and have trouble imagining it. How can I help my students appreciate the lessons more with limited time and resources? —R., Philippines   I think the way to teach science with less abstraction is to ground your lessons […]

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Body of experience

What are the most successful experiments and activities to do with students when covering the human body? — K., West Virginia Here are a few of my favorite demonstrations and activities. Look online or in the NSTA Learning Center for most of these.   Digestive System: Peristalsis demonstration: Stand on your head and drink juice/water […]

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Wonderful Science

I can see and appreciate how science is really an awesome subject. How can I make science more fun and exciting yet effective for my students? —D., Philippines “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” – Albert Einstein     I was fortunate to have had […]

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Freeze! We’re doing science!

I have accumulated a large number of the freezer gel packs from a meal service. I’d like to find a way to use them in a classroom activity. —P., Georgia The best thing about these freezer packs is that they provide a constant that will help your class design and conduct a lot of experiments. […]

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Ecosystems: Recycle and Cycle

Do you have any advice for creating bottle ecosystems with my seventh grade class? I would like them to do two-tier systems with terrestrial and aquatic organisms. —S., Missouri Students can learn a lot when they create these micro-habitats in plastic bottles with plants and invertebrates. The bottles can be stacked to form interdependent aquatic […]

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What’s the word in science?

What are some of the best practices for teaching science vocabulary? —D., Florida Science has a language unto itself; it is not surprising that many students struggle with vocabulary much like English language learners (ELLs). Because of this, I used some ELL best practices to teach science to all my students. Early in my career, […]

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The Right Chemistry

Is there a way to engage those who struggle with chemistry and help them do well? — M., Utah     When asked to name their hardest class in high school, people often list pre-calculus math, physics or English Language Arts, but I always answered chemistry! For most of us, chemistry was taught on a […]

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