Category Archives: Ask a Mentor

“Why Do We Need to Know This?!”

How do you explain to your students that what you’re teaching is important even if there is no obvious real-world application? — B., Ohio I’m sure every teacher has heard this refrain! I found that students question what we teach … Continue reading

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Big Ideas, Small Budget

What advice would you give to first-year teachers who want to give life to their lessons, yet they have a budget that is small or non-existent? — J., Iowa I always had living things in my classrooms— just going to … Continue reading

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Working with Your Team

Why must we meet so much as a physics team when I need time alone to prepare for my classes? —M., Indiana Regularly meeting as a collaborative team, department, or content area is extremely beneficial to teachers and, most importantly, … Continue reading

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Rigorous Modelling

My third-grade class created models of plant and animal cells with various items that they found around the house. Many of the kids did a great job, and their projects were very colorful. I brought samples to my Professional Learning … Continue reading

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Making Cooperative Learning Groups Work

How can I keep my students more engaged in their science cooperative learning groups? —A., California Group working must be intentional. Defined roles help students keep one another accountable. They have to see and care that if they do not … Continue reading

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Does my Administrator Trust Me?

I am a first-year teacher at a high school listed as a priority to the district (i.e. school improvement needed). I like the school and the students but it seems like the administration is in my classroom all the time. … Continue reading

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Sort and Classify

I am a preservice teacher planning some lessons on how to group plants and animals according to observable features. I am struggling to think of different activities. — V ., Maryland Classifying living things has been a part of human … Continue reading

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Molecule of Life

How would a science teacher intertwine DNA and Mendelian genetics into lessons to younger audiences? Could elementary school teachers introduce this field by having different colored beads on a string to represent DNA and build on from there? How should … Continue reading

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Labs in Life Sciences

I am a preservice biology teacher and was hoping to get some insight on labs. What are some of your favorite labs that you have done with your class and what made them a success? How do you typically assess … Continue reading

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Why aren’t you talking?!

I’ve been having trouble getting students willing to talk, answer questions, or share their ideas in class. What strategies/activities do you use to help kids feel more comfortable talking and sharing in your class? —C., Arizona There are few things … Continue reading

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