Hello! My name is Nadia Lara. Welcome to Need to Know Science!

I have loved science since I was very young and I’ve had an excitement for teaching since Mrs. Smith let me teach her math class once in sixth grade. I received my B.S. in chemistry from Caltech in 2012 and my Ph.D. from Rice University in 2016. After spending many years on a number of different research projects and in various teaching assistant positions, I officially began my career in education in the fall of 2016, teaching high school math. Today, I am a physics and chemistry teacher at (and also an alumna from!) St. Agnes Academy in Houston, TX.

Starting out in this profession, some of my best resources have been websites and blogs written by experienced teachers. One of my goals for this blog is to share what I am learning in the beginning of my career, and add the voice of someone presently going through those trials. I definitely do not have all the answers, but rather I hope to improve my craft through self-reflection, writing, and dialogue with other teachers. If you want to be part of this adventure, follow the blog! I look forward to learning from you.

Before we get started, I’d like to give you an idea of what you should expect to see in Need to Know Science

Sample lessons – I’m still figuring how to be a good teacher and there’s numerous things I can improve. Every once in a while I walk out of a class and think, “That was good.” I want to celebrate those successes and share with you what’s working in my classroom. On other days, however, we will definitely have to talk about lessons that didn’t turn out as well and how to improve them.

Make it work, then make it pretty – When I started teaching, I knew that I wouldn’t be the perfect teacher right away. But it took me about a year to actually learn that and to stop striving for perfection. “Make it work, then make it pretty” is going to be an ongoing series on how, at the beginning of my career, I am doing what it takes to do my job well. Lesson plans, labs, handouts, classroom management, tests, annual plans… none of these have to be pretty but they do have to work. I will make them pretty next week, next summer, or next year. Come back and see how!

Data in the classroom – I love data. Probably because I’m a scientist. I like having numbers and graphs and trends to review when I’m trying to understand how my students are learning and how I am teaching. I want to discuss what student data looks like in my classroom… turns out it’s not all about grades!

Click here for my first official blog post!

Are you a teacher? Tell me about yourself! What do you want to read about? Let me know in the comments!


  1. I think your posts about “make it work, then make it pretty” have entered my teaching life at exactly the right time – thank you – can’t wait it read more. From Australia 🙂 Second year science teacher – Biology major.


    • I’m so glad, Anna! Having “make it work, then make it pretty” as my mantra has made a huge improvement on the quality of my teaching and my work-life balance. Let me know how things go!
      P.S. Where in Australia? I spent a semester in Melbourne when I was in college. Loved it!


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