Next Generation Science Standards

Guest Speakers in the Middle School Classroom

Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:25 PM


I want to have guest speakers next year, but I can't figure out how to make it work in the middle school.  My colleagues don't like to miss instructional time and we don't do interdisciplinary instruction.  I teach four life science classes, from 7:30 am - 11:53 am.  There is a 20-minute lunch in there.  I feel bad to ask a person from the community to stay all day and repeat themselves four times, but that's what it would take for all of my students to hear the presentation.  Otherwise, I thought I could have the presentation in one of my classes, I videotape it and show the presentation to the other three.  However, it just doesn't seem like it would be as great as the in person where they could ask class-specific questions.  Any ideas out there?


Anne Bryant
Anne Bryant
1895 Activity Points

Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:50 PM

Hi Anne--

You're asking a person basically to come in for half a day (4.5 hours, ending before noon), so I would suspect that most would be able to spend that much time. As you know, each class has a different "personality", so even though your guest would do the same presentation, the questions and comments from the students might be different. And it would give you guest an idea of what it's like in a classroom (and how to each lunch in 20 minutes)

Mary B

Mary Bigelow
Mary Bigelow
7575 Activity Points

Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:57 PM

NSTA's Ken Roy just published a blog on Safety Guidelines for Guest Presentations with some things to consider, especially if your presenter is going to do demonstrations or bring materials into the classroom.

Mary B.

Mary Bigelow
Mary Bigelow
7575 Activity Points

Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:52 PM

This is a great idea~

Ling Xu
Ling Xu
6458 Activity Points

Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:19 PM

Hi there,
Form what I have gathered and having parents of my own come in and speak to classes and in the upper grade level, they nothing but love it. When members of the community have the opportunity to come in and speak to students, they enjoy every second because these are "real people" coming to talk about "Real experiences" that happen daily. As a very visual and real life learner I have found that I enjoy speakers and guest because as students we can get so caught up into the textbook and lecture life that we forget there is more out there to connect to these text books.
Best of luck!

Whitnie Hutchinson
Whitnie Hutchinson
4598 Activity Points

Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:15 PM


I teach 7th grade life science from 8:40a-2:20p and have about 8 guest speakers a year.

I have found that most guest speakers are willing to stay all day and repeat themselves!! I usually provide them with water and lunch/snacks.

I have found that most guest speakers do not provide notes for students to take, so I ask for their PowerPoint before they come in order to create a student handout. My students are much more engaged when they have something to follow and take notes on.

Go for it! Guest speakers enrich the unit and experience!


Kimberly Tangaro
Kimberly Tangaro
1725 Activity Points

Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:21 AM

You have good advice, Kimberly!

This has been my experience too with presenters that they are okay with being there all day.

If the presenter has something published it would be good to have that available for your students. If it is not on their grade level than you can probably find content that was grade appropriate to share before hand too.

I had a retired geologist who did classroom presentations and had activities for students to engage which was at their level. You might want to plan out the day with whoever was presenting.

Anyone else have some suggestions?


Arlene Jurewicz-Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
41865 Activity Points

Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:42 PM

I think that incorporating guest speakers is a great way for the students to be engaged and also for them to see how the content they are learning can be applied in the "real world." I am currently in a teaching program, and this is something I would like to incorporate into my future classroom. Based on my experiences in middle school, when we had guest speakers that could relate to the grade as a whole for cross-curriculum, we were able to have a class assembly. However, on the smaller scale, we typically received a handout and the speakers were always happy to spend the day to answer our questions and present. Additionally, I have even experienced a group Skype session that was a very influential experience.

Margaret Purtell
Margaret Purtell
20 Activity Points

Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:33 PM

Hi Anne!

I am a current pre-service teacher in Iowa and think incorporating guest speakers into the classroom is a great idea! Even in my college classes, my professors bring in guest speakers to talk to us. It might seem like asking a lot from a speaker to spend a day in the classroom, but what I have learned is that most of them like doing it! So many people out there want to help students in the classroom and do not mind taking time to talk to them. Guest speakers usually feel honored being asked and enjoy discussing their passions and careers to students to hopefully inspire them to follow in their footsteps.

I would recommend not video taping because that would be unfair to the students. Half the fun of guest speakers is interacting with them and asking them questions. By videotaping, that does not allow your other classes to ask questions. Another idea if you do not want to keep one speaker for the whole day, maybe see if you could get multiple speakers from the community that do the same job/passion and trade off who comes in to talk. Then each speaker would only be there for an hour or so and every class gets to hear from a speaker regarding the same information.

I think the best thing to do would ask community members and see their responses, the worst they could do is say no. You might be surprised how many community members want to help.

Good luck and keep up with the great ideas.


Natalie Peyton
Natalie Peyton
20 Activity Points

Sun Nov 26, 2017 7:17 PM

I think that guest speakers in the classroom is a great idea! As a soon-to-be teacher, I hope to be able to get guest speakers in my classroom. As a current student, I have had many guest speakers that stay for teach section of the course, often repeating themselves. This could also be good for them to because they can figure out which content of their talk is the most important so they don't run out of time, or what else to add!

Mackenzie Haight
Mackenzie Haight
4227 Activity Points

Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:32 AM

I agree that having guest speakers are an effective way for students to also stay engaged. Instead of always listening to the voice of the teacher, they can explore other instructors or professionals philosophy on science.

Isaacah Bell
isaacah bell
1880 Activity Points

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