Category Archives: Ms. Mentor

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Students communicate their results






I am interested in strategies to help students write lab reports. I have gone over this at the beginning of the year and a few times in between. But students still have trouble explaining the purpose, hypothesis, process, and conclusion. I want the students to describe and analyze their lab activities and to communicate their […]

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Planned, Purposeful Activities






My fifth grade students get excited about hands-on activities, but sometimes they use an activity as a reason to socialize or joke around. Sometimes the class appears chaotic. I’m looking for ideas on what I can do to make sure this is a good use of time for students to learn.  —F., Arizona As you […]

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“Group” work in elementary science?






I’m a first year teacher, teaching third grade. In my undergraduate work and student teaching, I worked with math and reading groups, but not much was mentioned about using small groups in science or social studies. I’m curious about how to go about setting up and managing group work in these subjects. —D., Washington In […]

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Teacher-leaders






My principal tells me I have “leadership potential.” I’ve been teaching Earth science for 11 years. I like my students and I feel confident with the curriculum. I don’t want to leave the classroom, but a little voice keeps whispering that she may be right. Should I try something new?  —B., New York What a […]

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Student writing in science






My mentor and I are discussing if we should grade science notebooks, lab reports, and assessments for correct usage, punctuation, and spelling. Or should we ignore these errors and just grade for content?  —G., Maryland My contribution to your discussion would fall toward the content end of the continuum. It’s important to assess students’ content […]

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Science for preschool children






I’m taking a job with a preschool program. I’m concerned about how to incorporate science lessons with children who have had no experience with science. Any suggestions or advice would be welcome.  —C., Virginia Thank you for taking on the awesome responsibility of working with young children! I think you’ll find that even though they […]

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Tapping into student interests






It seems like it’s getting harder to get my middle school students interested in a topic. I’ve strained my brain trying to come up with new ideas. Am I the only one in this situation?  —B., Arizona You are not alone! Students have many distractions (e.g., electronics, social media), extracurricular activities, and other responsibilities competing […]

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Games for vocabulary






I like to provide activities that help students learn science vocabulary, but at a recent department meeting we discussed the value (if any) of word games and puzzles. Do you have any insights or research on the topic? –W., New York Many K-12 teachers use word games and puzzles to help students review concepts and […]

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Managing lesson time






As a beginning science teacher, I have issues with time management. Some days a lesson I thought would take the entire class period doesn’t. Other activities take longer than I planned. How do teachers handle this?  —D., Vermont It’s a challenge for science teachers to design activities and investigations that fit into our allotted time. […]

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Teachers learning new content






My background is in engineering and now I’m teaching middle school general science. I’m comfortable with the topics in physical and earth science, but I’m a little shaky on the life science topics, including cells, genetics, and evolution. Could you suggest some strategies or resources I could use to get up to speed quickly?  —T., […]

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