Lunar and Planetary Institute

Menu of Opportunities for Scientist Involvement in Teacher Preparation

Become a Mentor


Scientist mentors can provide content support for questions, and can assist future teachers with understanding the nature of scientific investigation, technology, etc.  Education mentors can provide future teachers with insight into the real challenges they will experience in the classroom, along with best practices for applying science to grade-specific, standards-based and inquiry-driven student needs.  Both types of mentors can provide unique insights into the nature of science.

Best Practices for Success

    1. Read the "Before You Begin" information.
    2. Research has shown that a mentor that was approachable, encouraging, and supportive as the critical component
      of successful research experiences. Get to know the mentee personally - their interests, goals, background; develop a relationship based on mutual respect and trust.
    3. While both scientists and education faculty or experienced teachers alone can act as mentors for future teachers, in order to provide stronger support for future science teachers, we recommend partnering.  This will encourage collaboration between scientists and educators, bringing their expertise and experiences together for the benefit of both the student teacher and for the overall benefit of the pre-service program at their organization.
    4. A mentoring program that includes pairs of science and education faculty would need to provide opportunity for ongoing interaction between pairs.  For example, a program could include team-building exercises for the mentors to build trust and create and strengthen the professional relationships and partnerships between faculty.  The interaction between the mentors would allow them to build upon the experiences that their partners are creating for the student teacher.
    5. Connect with the school of education at your local college to find out about existing mentoring needs.
    6. Be prepared to work with pre-service teachers into their first few years of classroom teaching.
    7. Be clear on your role and what you have to offer
    8. Find out the needs of the pre-service teacher.
    9. Further suggestions can be found in Advisor, Teacher, Role Model, Friend, by the National Academy of Sciences and in the on-line article Research Methodologies in Science Education: Undergraduate Research Mentoring, Teacher Workshops, and K-12 Outreach Activities.

Paths of Involvement

    • Hold content discussions with a pre-service teacher
    • Assist a mentee with developing new science activities
    • Coach a mentee on how to teach a particular science content in a classroom
    • Mentor a pre-service teacher, or someone who prepares future teachers in a research experience

Models of Past and Existing Mentoring Programs


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