Category Archives: Ms. Mentor

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Answers and questions

My middle school students have lots of questions in class, which is not a problem. But I’m torn between trying to provide the answers (sometimes I feel like a live version of Wikipedia with lots of empty entries) and telling them to figure it out for themselves (which discourages some students). Do you have some […]

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First-Timer Tips for #NSTA15 Chicago

Are you attending the 2015 NSTA National Conference on Science Education in Chicago March 12–15? At this point, you should be registering, making arrangements for lodging and transportation, and thinking about your lesson plans for the substitute (if you haven’t done so already). If this is the first time you’ve attended the national conference, it […]

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Effective partnerships

My school has been approached by a university to form a partnership to apply for grants for elementary science and math. What factors should we consider regarding this offer?  —L., California This could be a great opportunity to supplement or enhance the professional development, materials, programs, or technology in your school, especially if you have […]

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Changing careers

I am thinking of switching careers to become a secondary science teacher (I currently work for an environmental agency). Before I decide, what should I consider? —S., Connecticut Being a science teacher is a rewarding and challenging experience, helping students develop and pursue their own interests in a subject you are passionate about. Many of […]

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Teacher reflections

When I was student teaching, we had to do a “reflection journal.” Now that I have my own teaching assignment, I’m wondering if teachers keep such a document. If so, what do they put in it? What format do they use and how do they find the time for journaling?   —L., Vermont Teachers are constantly […]

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Supplementing a budget decrease

Our principal just informed us that the science department budget will be decreased for next year. It’s already bare bones, so my colleagues and I are interested in finding other funding sources such as grants. What do we need to know to get started?   – G., Oregon In a perfect world, schools and teachers would […]

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Science “home”work for interested students

I have several students this year who are really into science. I’d like to provide or suggest some elementary-level projects or activities that parents can do with them at home to encourage this interest. Do you have any ideas beyond book lists and activity sheets?    —M. from Maryland Your desire to foster student interest in […]

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Student teamwork

I like to consider my classroom as a partnership with the students. So this year (my first year), the students were able to choose their own teams for cooperative learning and lab activities. This worked out in some cases, but there are teams that don’t seem to get much accomplished. They’re often off-task and unfocused. […]

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The way it’s supposed to be…

I have been trying to incorporate more inquiry-based investigations into my biology curriculum. But the students are upset. They want to stick with the cookbook labs where they follow the procedure and complete a data table that I give them. —T., Colorado It seems like you’ve noticed how high school students (and some of their […]

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Elementary science connections

Help! At my school, science is a special that my first graders go to once a week. I’m looking for integrated and engaging ideas for science that I could use during regular instruction. As most teachers know, time is precious, but I think it’s vital to pique students’ interests now while they are still curious […]

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