Category Archives: Ask a Mentor

Reading a Class

A quarter of my grade 7 students are at a beginning reading level. None are on grade level for reading. Can you help me help them? — K., Alaska Unfortunately, this is not uncommon. To answer your question, I consulted … Continue reading

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Tackling Tall Tales

I am looking for some opinions how handle situations where there are misconceptions on the material. I was wondering how to know the amount of time that is needed to clear up a misconception and when to move on to … Continue reading

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Developing Risk-Taking Students

I want my students to “take risks” when learning but I am not sure how to start. Alicia, Mississippi We must deliver science content differently by modeling for our students that risk-taking is encouraged in the classroom. You can encourage … Continue reading

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Building Student Ownership

I teach advanced science courses. Many of my students see school as a competition so they just want the correct answers to study for a good grade. How do I help build student ownership for learning in my science classroom? … Continue reading

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Plan Labs with Assessments, School Calendars in Mind

I have written a lab about quarks. The problem is there are no Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) about quarks. The only standards that refer to the nucleus is about protons and neutrons. How can I align my lab with … Continue reading

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Connecting with Students

I’m a first-year high school science teacher seeking desperately the best way to connect with my freshman biology students who are very smart but are not use to being pushed to comprehend a rigorous curriculum. Any suggestions would be greatly … Continue reading

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Star Light, Star Bright

I was planning a lesson for fifth grade about constellations. If you have any ideas, I would love to hear them. —B., Illinois Students often develop the misconception that constellations are two-dimensional. It’s like looking at a road map and … Continue reading

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Test Woes

If a student receives a bad test score, how do you interpret it? Would you allow the student to retake a modified version of the test? — B. , Ohio There are many possible interpretations of a poor score on … Continue reading

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“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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