Tag Archives: middle school

“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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Learning About STEM and Preventing Fires

After learning about fire dynamics— how fires start, spread, and develop— and doing hands-on activities with firefighters, eighth graders in Georgia’s Cobb County School District solve a virtual fire-related crime with help from an arson investigator as part of a partnership involving the district’s middle schools, the Cobb County Fire Department, and Underwriters Laboratories (UL). 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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Breathing Life into Lessons

I find it challenging to engage elementary students in the life sciences. What are some hands-on activities that work? Are there anchoring phenomena that you recommend? —C., Utah Depending on your curriculum, you could pursue several avenues to capitalize on … Continue reading

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Nature Walks

My grade 3 students seem to be bored with the content on ecosystems. I’m wondering if anyone has any ideas of what I could do to make ecosystems more engaging? — A., Arizona Not being able to visit all the … Continue reading

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Linking Science and Engineering Through Good Questions by Greg Bartus

Engineering design projects are a wonderful opportunity for students to develop science disciplinary core ideas (DCIs). (As many of you know, with the release of the NGSS, learning in engineering must be integrated with developing DCIs in physical, life, and/or … Continue reading

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Solid lessons, fluid performance

What are some fun, engaging hands-on activities or demonstrations about the three states of matter for a third grade class? —B., Tennessee I think that the best activities with the states of matter involve the changes between states. You may … Continue reading

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Middle School Science Teachers: NSTA’s Area Conferences Are for You

Does teaching middle school science require superhuman powers? Maybe, but no matter how you answer this question, one thing is certain—three days away from the classroom surrounded by educators who understand and can teach you tried-and-true ways to reach this … Continue reading

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Modern 3Rs

I had a hard time figuring out a way to get my second-grade students involved with recycling or something with the 3Rs. So, I was just wondering if you had any suggestions on something better? — N., Massachusetts While all … Continue reading

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