Tag Archives: classroom strategies

Figure-it-out time

I get frustrated when I give directions for an activity and students immediately have questions about what to do. How can I help them become more confident and self-sufficient?  —C., Michigan Students have us trained! We offer directions or suggestions, and students know we’ll go over them again (and again). Some students panic right away […]

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Integrating Science and Engineering

In my elementary schedule, I barely have time for science, and now I’m concerned about teaching engineering, too. I’ve never studied engineering. Can you suggest some resources? —T., New Jersey You might feel a little more confident after reading “The Next Generation Science Standards and Engineering for Young Learners: Beyond Bridges and Egg Drops”  from […]

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Surveying student perceptions

I want to study my middle school students’ perceptions of what and how they are learning in science. Do you have any suggestions other than a traditional survey? —R., Ohio I found some research on the topic at Drawn to Science: Studying Science Teaching and Learning Through Drawings.  The authors examined “how the science teaching […]

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Connecting with your students

I meet with more than 100 students per day in my Earth science classes. As a relatively new teacher, I need suggestions on how to get to know them better including learning their names and interests in a timely manner. – L., Connecticut Students like to know teachers care about and respect them. Knowing their […]

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Prepping an empty classroom

I just took a fifth-grade position, and the principal showed me the classroom I’ll have. It’s a brand-new building, and there’s nothing in the classroom—just the student tables, bare bulletin boards, a few empty bookshelves, and a teacher desk. When I was student teaching, the classrooms had lots of interesting bulletin boards and centers, but […]

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Changing grade levels


Next year there will be an opening in the high school science department. Although I love teaching middle school, I’m tempted by the opportunity to try something different and use more of what I majored in (chemistry). What advantages and disadvantages should I consider?—C., New Jersey Taking on new subjects or grade levels can be […]

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Managing Communication Channels


Last year, I tried improving my communications with students and parents via electronic media. I had lots of responses, but I was being texted, tweeted, emailed, and called on the phone at all times of the day and night. While I want to encourage these communications, I’m looking for ideas to manage them and keep […]

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Teaching more than one subject

I’m a recent graduate. A school district where I would really like to teach has an opening for a secondary science teacher. But when I read the job description, the position requires teaching five classes of two different subjects (general biology and an environmental science elective). During student teaching, I just taught biology. Is it […]

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“Science 101”

Each month in NSTA’s Science and Children journal, Bill Robertson* writes an informational article on a science concept. These “background boosters” present content information in an easy-to-read format with many illustrations and applications for the classroom. Science 101 articles have a conversational rather than a technical style. Secondary teachers who want additional information can access […]

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Student reflections

I recently read an article about having students “reflect” on their work. I’m not sure what the value would be. What would this look like in a science class? –G., Ohio At a professional development workshop several years ago, I heard a teacher say “I do lots of activities. My students are so busy, they […]

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