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Call for Papers: Science Scope

Science Scope coverThe editors of Science Scope would like to encourage you to submit a manuscript on any topic that may be of interest to middle level science teachers.

Although each issue of Science Scope is organized around a theme, your manuscript does not have to be related to a specific theme. In addition to general interest articles, Science Scope also features a number of columns that may be a good fit for your manuscript. The list of columns and their descriptions is found below. If you prefer to submit a manuscript that is aligned to a theme, you can click on the list of upcoming themes to read a full description of each.

You may contact the Field Editor, Patty McGinnis, if you have questions related to a proposed manuscript.

Visit Manuscript Central to register as an author and submit your article.

General Interest Manuscripts

Submission deadline: Ongoing

Manuscripts of general interest, not targeted to a specific theme, are published in every issue of Science Scope.


Submission deadline: Ongoing

Commentaries of approximately 750 words on any middle level science education topic can be submitted at any time.

Letters to the Editor

Submission deadline: Ongoing

Have you used an activity published in Science Scope in the last year, or liked—or disliked—something you read in the journal? We welcome your comments and feedback at any time.

Integrating Technology

Submission deadline: Ongoing

Do you have a time-management strategy that relies on the use of technology or a favorite app to engage learners? Science Scope readers want to know how you use technology for assessment, student learning, or classroom management. Submit your idea in 1,200 words or less. Supporting materials such as screenshots, screencasts, and rubrics are welcome.

Science on a Shoestring

Submission deadline: Ongoing

Have you created inexpensive lab equipment or models to ensure that your students have opportunities to experience lab investigations and other activities critical to learning science? If so, consider sharing your ideas with Science Scope readers. All Science on a Shoestring submissions should be safe for use in the classroom and should include an introduction that explains the connection to the curriculum, as well as a list of materials and their approximate cost, a photograph of the equipment or model, assembly instructions, and tips for use in the classroom.

Teacher's Toolkit

Submission deadline: Ongoing

In this column, you can share your how-to instructional strategies, practical advice, and classroom applicable results of action research with fellow middle level teachers. Tell us how you efficiently navigate today’s vast quantity of resources and websites to craft new lesson plans or to redesign/update older lessons to improve student achievement. What research-based practices do you use to guide your teaching? What are you doing to become familiar with the K–12 Framework for Science Education and prepare for the Next Generation Science Standards?

Classic Lessons 2.0

Submission deadline: Ongoing

Do you have a favorite classroom activity that you've updated to reflect current technology tools or the Next Generation Science Standards? Tell us what is special about the activity and describe the changes you have implemented that make the activity better than the original. Be sure to tell us how your lesson generates student excitement and promotes 3D learning.

Making in the Middle

Submission deadline: Ongoing

Do you have a science classroom activity that focuses on maker spaces, engineering, 3D printing, coding, robotics, or electronics? How about advice on how to fund a maker space, tie an engineering activity into your science curriculum, or maintain your new 3D printer? Science Scope is interested in publishing your ideas related to the maker space movement, specifically your easily replicable activities that use low-cost materials and have a strong connection to the science curriculum or to STEM. All manuscripts need to incorporate safety concerns as well as a list of materials and their cost. Supporting documentation such as rubrics, photographs, and "how-to" videos are encouraged.

Practical Research

Submission deadline: Ongoing

Do you have relevant research to share with middle school science teachers? Perhaps you are you a teacher who has conducted action research in your classroom? Science Scope readers are looking for ideas that demonstrate how they can apply research results to their classroom. Consider submitting a brief, practical overview of your research findings as they relate to pedagogy, technology integration, differentiation, special needs populations, or assessment in the middle school classroom. Submit your manuscript in 1000 words or less.

Upcoming Themes

September/October 2023: Cultivating Collaboration

Submission deadline: February 1, 2023

Manuscripts unrelated to the theme are always welcome!

Collaboration is an essential life skill found in all settings----school, family, and careers. Middle school students often need assistance in mastering this skill. We can help support our students with the creation of complex assignments that require collaboration, by teaching our students what collaboration looks like and sounds like, and by embedding opportunities for discussion and consensus.  Science Scope raiders want to know how you

  • Provide scaffolding for students when engaged in collaborative activities
  • Create a safe and engaging environment that promotes collaboration
  • Design and implement collaborative activities
  • Help your students resolve conflict
  • Use talk moves to facilitate positive discussions
  • Teach team-building skills essential for group work
  • Teach and reinforce classroom expectations and class norms
  • Use cooperative learning strategies to create a positive classroom environment
  • Use class norms and routines to structure collaborative activities
  • Monitor collaborative activities
  • Maintain fairness and consistency when assessing individuals and groups
  • Use phenomena to drive collaboration
  • Engage all learners in collaborative activities
November/December 2023: Differentiation for All Environments

Submission deadline: April 1, 2023

Manuscripts unrelated to the theme are always welcome!

The NGSS were written for all students; Appendix D of the NGSS calls us to ensure that all standards are accessible to all students. We are all familiar with the idea of differentiating for our learners, but what does that look like in the various settings in which science occurs? Differentiation is challenging when one considers the variety of learners we have in our classrooms. They include special education students, gifted students, students with physical challenges, English learners, students with emotional needs, economically disadvantaged students, minority students, and students in alternative settings (just to name a few!). Science Scope readers want to know your differentiation tips and strategies for 

  • Conducting lab work
  • Differentiating for field work
  • Modifying assignments and assessments for varying levels of ability
  • Teaching online
  • Attending field trips
  • Teaching in an alternative school
  • Meeting the needs of students who are chronically ill or have physical challenges
  • Addressing the needs of students who are suspended from school
  • Dealing with students who have extreme anxiety or emotional needs
  • Using technology such as sensors, tablets, etc.
  • Learning Management Systems (such as Google Classroom) are a part of your class routine
  • Working with homeless students
  • Modifying for English learners
  • Working with students who may be new to your district and have knowledge gaps
  • Differentiating for children of migrant families who move frequently
January/February 2024: Eliciting Student Thinking

Submission deadline: June 1, 2023

Manuscripts unrelated to the theme are always welcome!

Eliciting student thinking is a high-leverage practice in which the teacher utilizes questions and tasks that encourage and promote student thinking and sharing of ideas. In turn, this practice informs instructional decisions, providing a window into student thoughts that can be used for evaluating student understanding while helping students learn from each other. How do you elicit student thinking in your classroom? What practices do you employ for stimulating student thinking in your classroom? Share your tips regarding:

  • Using inquiry and questioning to promote critical thinking
  • Documenting and assessing gains in critical thinking
  • Exposing your studentsthinking
  • Addressing the social aspect of critical thinking such as promoting active listening and teaching collaboration skills
  • Incorporating, managing, and assessing class discussions
  • Scaffolding oral and written communication
  • Remodeling a lesson to incorporate critical thinking
  • Differentiating for English Language Learners
  • Utilizing science practices to solicit student thinking, such as: developing and using models, constructing explanations, and engaging in argument
  • Using to student thinking to guide instructional decision, procedures, or routines
March/April 2024: Assessment

Submission deadline: August 1, 2023

Manuscripts unrelated to the theme are always welcome!

Assessment is a necessary part of classroom instruction. Assessment can be as varying as a quick formative check for understanding, an end-of-unit summative test, or it can involve standardized testing. While most of us are familiar with traditionalassessments, authentic assessments can require application of what students have learned to a new situation. Assessment can also go beyond identifying student understanding; it can also be employed as a tool that you can use to evaluate the alignment of unit plans to district, state, or national standards. Tell us how you...

  • Create 3D assessments
  • Create and utilize authentic assessments
  • Assess for skills and procedures
  • Work with your school or district colleagues to develop and analyze assessments
  • Use technology to assess students
  • Analyze and utilize the data obtained from assessment
  • Prepare your students for standardized testing
  • Assess for the three-dimensional nature of the NGSS
  • Modify assessments for English Language Learners
  • Use assessments to inform your instruction
  • Other ideas regarding assessment are welcome!
May/June 2024: Climate Change

Submission deadline: October 1, 2023

Manuscripts unrelated to the theme are always welcome!

More extreme weather, rising water levels, and disappearing glaciers all hark the message the climate change is here and it is real. The NGSS introduced the idea of climate change in middle school through the following performance indication: Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century (MS-ESS3-5). How have you introduced this topic for your students in a way that has engaged them in understanding this complex topic? Consider sharing ideas for

  • How monitoring data over time is crucial for understanding patterns
  • Engaging students in asking questions that link the topic of climate change to the scientific practice of cause and effect
  • Addressing the impact that global climate change will have on global weather patterns, currents, and other earth and space science topics
  • Demonstrating the impact that climate change has on ecosystems
  • Using data from the EPA to understand greenhouse gasses
  • Modeling how changes in sea level will impact humans
  • Demonstrating cause and effect by comparing carbon dioxide concentration to tree ring data or ice core data
July/August 2024: Using Phenomena

Submission deadline: December 1, 2023

Manuscripts unrelated to the theme are always welcome!

The NGSS has brought about a shift from knowing science to explaining science. A key contributor to this shift is the use of phenomenon to engage students in developing and applying their  Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs) and Crosscutting Concepts (CCCs) through use of the Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs). Using phenomena as the focus shifts from learning about a topic to figuring out why or how something happens.

Science Scope readers want to know how you

  • Engage your students in practices to develop the knowledge necessary to explain or predict the phenomena
  • Use student-generated questions about the phenomenon to guide the learning and teaching
  • Guide students to reformulate questions so they can lead to grade appropriate investigations of important science ideas
  • Support English language learners and students from cultural groups underrepresented in STEM in working with phenomena that are engaging and meaningful to them
  • Help students identify related phenomena from their lives and their communities
  • Use anchoring phenomenon and investigative phenomena as the focus of an instructional sequence or lesson
  • Identify and utilize phenomena students find culturally or personally relevant
  • Use phenomena to advance student thinking
September/October 2024: SEL in the Science Classroom

Submission deadline: Feb 1, 2024

Manuscripts unrelated to the theme are always welcome!

Social-emotional learning has always had an important place in the middle school classroom, as this age group is still learning how to manage their emotions. In todays science classroom students are often expected to work with partners as they design experiments and build off of each others ideas and questions. Guiding middle school students is critical and helps them to hone the skills they will need for success, not only in academics, but in life.

Consider sharing a lesson, strategy, or program that demonstrates how you and/or your school district

  • Develop authentic school-family-community partnerships that foster positive learning experiences for students
  • Create a safe environment that encourages risk-taking by students
  • Foster an environment where students can challenge each others ideas in a respectful manner
  • Support students who are struggling or frustrated
  • Set expectations and norms for classroom activities such as labs and discussions
  • Generate norms designed to create a culture of collaboration
  • Prepare and plan lessons that keep students engaged and on task
  • Use roles or jobs in the classroom to encourage participation and accountability
  • Utilize lessons that require interdependency
  • Model and teach collaboration and cooperation
  • Incorporate stress-reducing strategies in the classroom
November/December 2024: Reading in the Science Classroom

Submission deadline: April 1, 2024

Manuscripts unrelated to the theme are always welcome!

Reading plays an important role in all subjects, and science is no exception. In fact, many of the eight science and engineering practices identified by the NGSS are solidly embedded in reading. In the science classroom, students are expected to obtain, evaluate, and communicate information; information that can be gleaned from reading science texts and examining charts and graphs. These essential skills can be challenging not only for students, but for content area specialists who may lack a solid foundation in pedagogy related to the teaching of reading.

Share with Science Scope readers how you

  • Differentiate for reading ability for both struggling and accomplished readers
  • Support and scaffold reading
  • Teach skills associated with reading such as annotation and decoding complex vocabulary
  • Work with your ELA partners to incorporate literacy strategies into the science classroom
  • Challenge students to identify bias within a media source
  • Utilize various sources of media such as news reports, graphs, charts, and documentaries
  • Tap the power of technology to support reading in the science classroom
January/February 2025: Sensemaking

Submission deadline: June 1, 2024

Manuscripts unrelated to the theme are always welcome!

NSTA defines sensemaking as the process where students are actively trying to figure out how the world works (science) or how to design solutions to problems (engineering). There are four critical attributes that contribute to sensemaking: phenomena, science and engineering practices, student ideas, and science ideas (grade-appropriate disciplinary core ideas). Sensemaking starts by having students experience a phenomenon together and then sharing their noticings and wonderings with the class. Students then utilize science and engineering practices to share, evaluate, and refine their ideas to deepen their conceptual understanding.

How do you plan for and implement the sensemaking process? Tell us your ideas, strategies, and lessons for

  • Identifying a phenomenon
  • Utilizing student wonderings to drive future lessons
  • Addressing preconceptions
  • Planning to ensure students are driving the investigations
  • Navigating student discourse
  • Differentiating for the various ability levels in your classroom
  • Assessing student understanding of disciplinary core ideas
  • Incorporating science and engineering practices
March/April 2025: Our Watery Planet

Submission deadline: August 1, 2024

Manuscripts unrelated to the theme are always welcome!

Water—it is essential for life, making it a crucial substance for students to explore and understand. Tell Science Scope readers how you strengthen student awareness of this vital substance that (depending on where you live) is often taken for granted. There are a nearly limitless number of connections that can be made to science content and concepts.

Share your ideas by considering how you

  • Connect environmental impacts related to water, such as desertification and pollution, to your studentsworld
  • Demonstrate the impact that waterborne illnesses or natural disasters have on humans
  • Convey that water can operate as a system composed of biological, physical, and chemical components
  • Investigate the physical and chemical properties of water
  • Incorporate real world events related to water quality, drought, and/or flooding
  • Use engineering to solve problems related to water loss or contamination
May/June 2025: My Favorite Lesson

Submission deadline: October 1, 2024

Manuscripts unrelated to the theme are always welcome!

Do you have a favorite lesson or activity? Science Scope readers are always eager to try new and engaging ideas, especially when provided with supporting documents such as lab sheets, handouts, differentiation tips, and assessments.

Share your ideas for

  • Favorite lab activities
  • Fun ways to get to know students at the beginning of the year
  • Interesting lessons from any science discipline that engage students
  • Strategies for utilizing coolscience websites
  • Educational field trips
  • Ways to incorporate guest speakers into your teaching
  • Educational games
  • Any engaging activity that you have used with students!
July/August 2025: Science Beyond the Classroom

Submission deadline: December 1, 2024

Manuscripts unrelated to the theme are always welcome!

Using current events can be an engaging motivator for tapping into the interests of students. Studying current events helps students understand the importance of people, events, and issues in the news. Current event topics also stimulate students to learn more about the topic and to pay attention to the news they see and hear outside of school. The news can also serve to foster curiosity of the outside world and contribute to a lifelong interest in solving community problems.

Tell Science Scope readers how you

  • Use websites such as Science Daily to foster discussions and investigations.
  • Identify events that cover a wide range of subjects and connect to all areas of the curriculum.
  • Use news stories to develop language, vocabulary, reading comprehension, critical thinking, problem solving, oral expression, and listening skills.
  • Develop informed citizens and lifelong newsreaders.
  • Use the news as a "writing model" for a clear, concise style of writing.
  • Teach media literacy skills.
  • Use the news to foster communication between students and parents.
  • Create purposeful writing assignments and cooperative group assignments based on news events.
  • Utilize current events to engage your students in discussion and in the applications of science.
  • Determine what makes a current event appropriate for the classroom.
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