448050911201448 7 Tips for Middle School Science Teachers | Polka Dots and Protons - Interactive Science Notebooks & More

My goal is to make interactive science notebooks engaging for 5th grade and middle school science students while improving science test scores. NGSS expert, teacher, tpt author, mom, & widow

7 Tips for Middle School Science Teachers

I am grateful to all of the posts on blogs and Pinterest that share great ideas I can use in my classroom! Sometimes it is hard to find middle school tips. (The elementary classrooms on Pinterest are AMAZING though!)

In August, I will begin my 4th year teaching at my current school. (I taught part-time when my kiddos were little.) When my sister was beginning her first year as a high school science teacher in another state and I wanted to share some of the top tips I have learned so I wrote them down. I hope these help you too!
TOP 7 Tips!

1. Notebook tips- Each student has a spiral notebook (can usually get them for 10-50 cents at Walmart or Target before school and buy a handful). The first week of school we make a title page with color and number all of the pages. Students don't rip out pages and this notebook is ONLY for science. A great intro. to notebooking is free on TPT (teachers pay teachers) from Nitty Gritty Science. (FYI: I do not stick to the rules they say for left & right sides it mentions.)  I trim pages to fit in notebooks with the paper cutter so we don't waste time cutting in class (when possible). Remind me to teach you about foldables later. I am working on using these more this year. 

Students can take pics of my pages or make copies when absent (to copy the page in their own writing). I stamp each page in the notebook when it is due. Every couple of weeks, students fill out a notebook points page . Students can only put a Y if they have a stamp. Each stamped page is worth 10 points. I fill out a sample notebook points sheet and put it on the overhead for students to fill out with the assignment names and pages. I am generous in stamping late work- focusing on learning and completion. Students have a student number and put it on the page. A student puts the #s in order and I have the notebook points in the grade book in seconds-literally.

2. Scientific Summer is also one of the first week of school activities we do in our notebooks.The date is really really old on this, I just white it out before making copies for students or posting on Google classroom. Some of my students weren't even born in 2004. Ah!

3. Create-a-Graph web site is really great and students can drag the graph in to the google doc lab template. Play with this site and graph stuff for practice.

4. Lab Template example (on Google Drive-Make a copy and change how you'd like) I give the students a template with some tips. I upload it to Google Classroom and each student has a copy. They need to delete my hints to make it look professional. The typed labs are so impressive but students need the template and guidance to learn.

5. Phet Simulations Online science simulations. Teacher have put up the work sheets they use. It can be overwhelming to find a work sheet you want. Many of the simulations are really good. Show the simulation whole class and give kids the chance to play around with it.

6. Chemistry Lesson Plans These are middle school lessons but maybe you can use them for high school. They are very simple but fun and use everyday items. Sciencespot.net has great resources too.

7. NGSS Cross cutting concepts: Bozeman videos are awesome for teaching teachers about NGSS. There are 7 cross cutting concepts. Last year, I made 7 groups and each researched and did a poster and presentation on one crosscutting concept. I had students watch the Bozeman video for their concept and check out this site: http://crosscutsymbols.weebly.com/

I will post more about the Cross Cutting Concepts project in the upcoming days. Some students made a Prezi or Google Slide Show. (Prezi, Google Slides, and Powtoons are great resources for students or teacher presentations). 

Hope things are going GREAT!
Ginny "Proton" Priest
Be like a proton, stay positive!