Tag Archives: classroom strategies

Middle school botanists

I see many good activities for middle school involving plants, but what if students already did something similar at the elementary level? I don’t want to spend time on duplicate activities or get the eye-roll “we already did this.” —M., Arizona I posed this question to a middle school biology teacher. His students came from […]

Posted in Ask a Mentor | Tagged | 2 Responses

The science event of the year

Even if your location is not in the path of the total solar eclipse, viewing a partial one is an amazing event. If you’re looking for safety tips, a refresher on the science of eclipses, classroom activities on the topic, or professional development, NSTA has many resources to assist. Download the Observer’s Guide to Viewing […]

Posted in SciLinks | Tagged | 2 Responses

Students’ Self-Assessment and Reflection

Do you have ideas on how to help my middle school students become more thoughtful, independent learners? —J., Michigan In my experience, self-assessment and reflective activities gave students ownership in their learning. Self-assessment is more than students “correcting” their own papers. When students self-assess, they reflect on the results of their efforts and their progress […]

Posted in Ask a Mentor | Also tagged | Leave a comment

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

Get ready for the total eclipse visible in parts of the US: Scope on the Skies: Vocabulary of the Skies Why, How, and Where to View Totality Science & Children – The Science and Math Connection Editor’s Note: The “Fundamental Tools” of Science: As they [students] investigate, we can move them beyond play by emphasizing […]

Posted in SciLinks | Tagged | Leave a comment

Inventing inventors

I’m looking for ideas to integrate physical science and social studies at the middle school level. — E., New Jersey Inventions and inventors could be an interesting context to explore the connections between science, engineering, technology, history, and economics. A social studies colleague framed a unit around two questions: Why do we invent or innovate? […]

Posted in Ask a Mentor | Also tagged , | Leave a comment

Striving for a Zero-Waste School

Taking actions to become a zero-waste school can be “a big pain,” says Brian Shmaefsky, professor of biology and environmental science at Lone Star College in Kingwood, Texas. But he adds, “As an environmental scientist, I typically look at waste reduction because of budget concerns…Now [that] we can provide digital [assignments and tests] at school, it […]

Posted in NSTA Reports | Also tagged , , , , , , | 1 Response

Student questions

What do I do when a student asks a question related to the lesson and I don’t know the answer? I don’t have a strong background in science, and as a beginning teacher this makes me nervous. —C., Massachusetts Virtually every teacher has been in this situation, with curious students or those who want more […]

Posted in Ask a Mentor | Tagged | 3 Responses

Cooperative grouping

In science classes, do students work better in random groups or with their friends? I’m a student teacher in middle school. – S., Arizona Most teachers will tell you there is no best way to set up groups. There are many variables, including the age of the students, the structure of the investigation, the students’ […]

Posted in Ask a Mentor | Tagged | 10 Responses

Dive In! Immersion in Science Practices for High School Students

Are you ready to integrate science practices into your classroom? How feasible are student-directed science investigations within the curricular expectations at your school? How can you create opportunities for student-directed investigations in the classroom? Have you ever considered partnering with a scientist to add depth to your lessons? These are some of the central questions […]

Posted in NSTA Press Books | Also tagged , | Leave a comment

Why are we doing this?

I have some chemistry students who ask “Why do we have to learn this?” How can I address this other saying “you’ll need it in college.” —D., Delaware Why are we studying this? What good is this? It’s easy to answer student questions like these with “because it will be on the test” or “because […]

Posted in Ask a Mentor | Tagged | 3 Responses