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from the editor's desk

Cultivating Collaboration

Science Scope—Fall 2023 (Volume 46, Issue 7)

This issue marks the beginning of a new year for Science Scope. I am excited to announce that NSTA is partnering with Routledge/Taylor & Francis (T&F) and that commencing with our January/February 2024 issue, Science Scope will be hosted on the T&F Online platform. To celebrate this event and prepare for the shift to a digital platform, this double issue encapsulates both our September/October and our November/December issues. 

This exciting shift has many benefits, including (1) T&F journals are available in full text in more than 12,000 libraries worldwide, allowing NSTA to increase their audience reach and heighten awareness and interest in key topics central to NSTA’s mission; (2) the partnership will provide increased impact for research through article downloads, Altmetric scores, and citations; and (3) T&F includes ReadSpeaker, which easily converts text to speech on each article page. T&F is committed to giving NSTA members access to the online version of each journal via secure means through the NSTA website. Your member login on will automatically log you in on Print editions of Science Scope will still be available for NSTA members who wish to receive them. 

This double issue includes several pieces related to the idea of cultivating collaboration in the classroom. This key skill is foundational to society. Indeed, the expansion of scientific knowledge, coupled with today’s complex global issues, makes collaboration among scientists and engineers crucial if we are to develop solutions to difficult problems. Indeed, the world’s response to COVID-19 was driven by research that resulted in expanding our knowledge of the virus and how to counteract it (Hazelton 2021). One only has to conjure up an image of Watson and Crick or of Marie and Pierre Curie to realize that some of scientists’ most important ideas have been the result of collaboration. Today, scientific research has become increasingly more collaborative, with research teams outcompeting the works and patents of solo authors (Fortunato et al. 2018).

Collaboration is also an essential life skill found in all settings—family, school, and work. The science classroom is no exception, as the NGSS calls for students to replicate the work of scientists as they work together in teams to investigate, question, explain their understandings, and develop solutions to problems. Collaboration has the added benefit of developing higher order thinking, oral communication, and leadership skills (Cornell n.d.). Unfortunately, the pandemic placed collaboration on the back burner as schools went online or utilized physical barriers to reduce interactions between students. 

Given the disruption of the last few years, it is not surprising that our students may need assistance in learning how to collaborate. We can support our students to work together productively by teaching them what collaboration looks like and sounds like, and by embedding opportunities for discussion and consensus. Rather than assuming students know how to collaborate, teach and adhere to classroom norms to ensure each student’s voice is valued and support your students with scaffolds such as sentence stems and assigned roles. Additionally, model for them what collaboration looks like and sounds like. In this way you will be providing your students with invaluable skills they will use throughout their lives.

Patty McGinnis
Editor, Science Scope


Cornell University. n.d. Collaborative learning. Center for Teaching Innovation. Available at 

Fortunato S., C.T. Bergstrom, K. Börner, J.A. Evans, D. Helbing, S. Milojević, A.M. Petersen, et al. 2018. Science of science. Science 359 (6379). 

Hazelton, A. 2021, June 8. Why is scientific collaboration key? 4 experts explain. World Economic Forum. Available at 

Patty McGinnis is an instructional coach and veteran middle school teacher. You can contact her at or on Twitter: @patty_mcginnis.

NGSS Teaching Strategies Middle School

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