Intro to Health Science Curriculum: What Solution is Best for Me? Blog Feature
Brad Hummel

By: Brad Hummel on October 7th, 2021

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Intro to Health Science Curriculum: What Solution is Best for Me?

Digital Curriculum | Health Science | Health Science Textbooks | Principles of Health Science

Your Introduction to Health Science course is the core of your program’s curriculum in the CTE health science pathway. When teaching this foundational class, you are concerned that your students receive the best material to prepare them for success as they pursue careers in health science. You also want teaching materials that are appropriate for your students and that satisfy academic and certification standards.

Because you are teaching a core class, there are many curriculum options from which to choose. This makes looking at Intro to Health Science courses an overwhelming prospect. It can be challenging to figure out what type of material best suits your teaching style and the needs of your students. Since your students’ future success depends on their ability to master this basic material, you want to make sure that you make the right choice.

As a provider of a health science curriculum, we’ve heard from educators like you who want to find the best Intro to Health Science curriculum for their students. But our solution may not be right for every classroom.

In this article, we’ll look at the three primary forms that Intro to Health Science curriculum can take today. We’ll discuss:

  • Textbooks
  • Supplemental Teaching Resources
  • Digital Curriculum
  • The Benefits and Drawbacks of Each Option

When you’ve finished reading this post, you should better understand each type of curriculum and if one might be the better option for your particular instructional needs.


Intro to Health Science Textbooksbest-intro-health-science-textbooks

Textbooks are perhaps the most conventional form CTE health science curriculum can take. A solid, well-rounded Introduction to Health Science text can provide you with ample teaching materials and give your students the lessons, exercises, and activities they need to understand the fundamentals of the health science career pathway.

Below we’ll discuss some popular textbooks and the main benefits and drawbacks of using a textbook-centered health science curriculum.

The Best Intro to Health Science Textbooks

There are a number of well-known Intro to Health Science textbooks available today. If you're looking for a traditional, text-based approach to your introductory course, any of these volumes can provide you with the resources and structure you need to teach a successful course.

The top introduction to health science textbooks (in no particular order) are:

  1. DHO Health Science
  2. Introduction to Health Science: Pathways to Your Future
  3. Health Science: Concepts and Applications
  4. Essential Skills for Health Career Success
  5. Health Science Fundamentals: Exploring Career Pathways
  6. Healthcare Science Technology
  7. Stanfield’s Introduction to Health Professions

To find out more about each of these textbooks, and if one might be right for your classroom, be sure to check out this review of the 7 Best Introduction to Health Science Textbooks.

Benefits of Using Health Science Textbooks in Your Curriculum

For some health science instructors, textbooks can provide the right combination of lesson plans and classroom materials. Because most texts address many introductory topics, they can offer a comprehensive curriculum to cover many or even all of your health science program standards.

Textbooks are easy to implement and are often prebuilt with student activities you can use in class. Many books also include separate teacher’s editions, including additional notes and content to integrate written content into your daily lessons seamlessly.

Drawbacks of Using Health Science Textbooks in Your Curriculum

One drawback of a textbook-based educational approach is that teachers often need to augment their health science textbooks with additional materials to ensure students of every learning style can stay alert and engaged. Searching for extra materials is time consuming and adds additional expenses to your instructional budget.

The biggest downside to using traditional textbooks is the possibility that they will become outdated. As academic standards, medical techniques, and recommendations change, text-based resources can eventually convey information that is no longer considered correct. When this occurs, teachers and administrators will need to decide whether they can supplement outdated content with additional material or need to pay to replace the textbooks altogether.

Are Health Science Textbooks a Good Fit for You?

Textbooks are a solid choice for teachers who prefer using traditional teaching methods. Educators who are comfortable with the structure of text-based materials and can make the most of a textbook’s library of instructional resources can provide a thriving learning environment for their students.

For more information about health science texts, see this post on the Top 7 Introduction to Health Science Textbooks.


Supplemental Health Science Teaching Resources

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While textbooks may be the most traditional route teachers can take to develop their introductory health science curriculum, they aren’t the only option. Some teachers create a custom curriculum using a variety of supplemental resources available through digital channels.

Supplemental educational materials allow teachers to assemble their own courses by picking and choosing which resources best fit their needs. Although educators will need to decide for themselves which materials to incorporate into their curriculum, the right combination of resources can bring about an excellent learning experience for health science students.

Popular Supplemental Teaching Resources

There are a number of high-quality resources available online to help teachers like you customize your curriculum.

Below, we’ll look at a few of the most popular supplemental materials health science teachers are using today.

CTE Online

CTE Online is a website designed to equip teachers with projects, resources, and lesson plans for their classes. CTE Online primarily focuses on California teachers, but the resources can be used by teachers anywhere. Educators specializing in the field develop every resource, including CTE Online’s Health Science and Medical Terminology Curriculum.

The Health Science and Medical Terminology module includes information to help students understand the fundamental knowledge and skills for working in any health care career. This program addresses over 40 student outcomes and consists of 18 units with an estimated 180 hours of class content.

For more information about CTE Online, read this review of CTE Online’s Health Science and Medical Terminology Curriculum.

NCHSE Enhancements

The National Consortium for Health Science Education (NCHSE) is a not-for-profit organization that represents leaders of CTE health science programs.

NCHSE Health Science Curriculum Enhancements is a resource intended to supplement state standards, textbooks, and other instructional materials. Now in its sixth version, NCHSE Enhancements include classroom exercises and interactive instructional ideas. 

Designed to work with both face-to-face and distance learning environments, NCHSE Enhancements includes over 600 total files. The content contains resources from teachers, publishers, and other online materials.

You can find out more about NCHSE Health Science Curriculum Enhancements here.

Teachers Pay Teachers

Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) is a popular marketplace for educational content, activities, and lesson plans designed by teachers for their peers. Offering resources for virtually every subject, Teachers Pay Teachers is a source for everything from supplemental lesson plans and games to bundles and packages containing content for entire courses.

Health science instructors can turn to this site for content to augment their existing lessons or to help build their own curriculum from scratch.

Online Teaching Communities

Many health science teachers are active online and on social media. Online teaching communities, such as the NCHSE Group on Facebook, allow teachers to talk about health science instruction with their peers.

You can find materials, resources, and educational tips from teachers just like you by joining online communities. You can also share your advice, materials, or challenges with others working in your field.

Benefits of Supplemental Teaching Resources

The most significant benefit of gathering supplemental resources to form your custom curriculum is that you will have the ultimate control over what content you choose to share with your students. Educators like you have created incredible teaching resources, and your students can benefit from the valuable materials they offer online.

By evaluating each resource yourself, you can create bespoke courses that teach precisely the content your students need, when they need it most. Since you assembled the curriculum yourself, you can ensure that your materials are always up to date and meet your standards.

Drawbacks of Supplemental Teaching Resources 

The most significant drawback of sourcing class materials from various providers is that you can never truly be sure of the quality of the material. You will need to try each resource for yourself to determine if it’s a good fit for your learners.

Because of the need to evaluate resources for yourself to create a custom curriculum, this approach requires substantially more time to plan and implement successfully.

Who Are Supplemental Teaching Resources a Good Fit For?

Bringing together several different supplemental teaching resources into a single custom curriculum is a great fit for instructors who want to create their own unique curriculum.

If you want complete control over the lesson plans, exercises, and activities your students will experience, a self-designed curriculum provides the maximum flexibility for you as the teacher.


Digital Curriculum for Intro to Health Science Courses

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In lieu of traditional teaching materials, some educators have turned to popular digital curriculum systems for their courses. Digital curriculum solutions range from materials designed for a blended learning environment to complete digital courses taught entirely online.

Digital curriculum provides teachers with ample resources while providing some flexibility in applying the curriculum to instruction.

Popular Digital Curriculum Options

There are a number of digital curriculum providers serving CTE health science educators today. Each system is unique and uses its own methodology to accomplish student learning objectives.

In this section, we’ll look at five of the most common digital curriculum options available to teachers right now.

iCEV

iCEV is a popular provider of online curriculum for career and technical education. Their library includes content in eight CTE pathways, including health science. Currently, iCEV offers its health science curriculum in the form of pre-packaged courses designed to align with Texas health science TEKS standards.

The iCEV curriculum features six courses:

  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Preparation
  • Forensic Science
  • Health Science Theory
  • Medical Terminology
  • Principles of Health Science

iCEV is a good fit for Texas teachers looking to meet academic standards in one or more of these courses.

Apex

Apex Learning is a Seattle-based provider of digital curriculum for students in grades 6-12. Apex creates educational solutions for classroom, hybrid, and fully virtual environments and offers courses in a variety of subject areas.

In the CTE health science pathway, Apex offers just one course, Principles of Health Science. This two-semester core course covers 12 units and teaches the basic knowledge and skills needed for health care professions.

If you are looking for a separate introductory health science course and don’t need to cover additional material, Apex Learning might offer the core curriculum option you need.

Edgenuity

A major provider of educational curriculum for elementary through high school classes, Edgenuity offers ready-made instructional resources in an array of academic subjects.

In the health sciences, Edgenuity offers ten different courses:

  • Careers in Allied Health
  • Health, Safety, and Ethics in the Health Environment
  • Health Science Concepts Introduction to Careers in the Health Sciences
  • Introduction to Health Science Medical Terminology
  • Nursing Assistant
  • Nursing: Unlimited Possibilities and Unlimited Potential
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Physicians, Pharmacists, Dentists, Veterinarians & Other Doctors
  • Public Health: Discovering the Big Picture in Health Care
  • Therapeutics: The Art of Restoring & Maintaining Wellness

As complete, separate courses, Edgenuity CTE health science classes could be a good fit for teachers who want a ready-to-use class for either blended learning or an entirely virtual environment.

Odysseyware

Odysseyware is a large provider of digital curriculum solutions for students in grades 3-12. In addition to providing courses in core subjects and test prep solutions, Odysseyware offers high school classes in career and technical education.

For health science, Odysseyware offers these eight health science courses:

  • Careers in Allied Health
  • Forensics: Using Science to Solve a Mystery
  • Introduction to Careers in the Health Sciences
  • Nursing: Unlimited Possibilities and Unlimited Potential
  • Physicians, Pharmacists, Dentists, Veterinarians & Other Doctors
  • Public: Discovering the Big Picture in Health Care
  • Scientific Discovery and Development
  • Therapeutics: The Art of Restoring and Maintaining Wellness

Edgenuity recently acquired Odysseyware, and the course offerings are very similar. Odysseyware is also a good fit for teachers who want a standalone introduction to health science course with the option of purchasing additional, separate courses.

AES

Applied Educational Systems (AES) offers comprehensive, digital curriculum systems designed for teachers and students in CTE pathways. Our health science curriculum, HealthCenter21, is designed around learning modules which teach specific skills and concepts. Thousands of teachers use HealthCenter21 every year to teach courses including Intro to Health Science.

Topics in HealthCenter21 cover eight overarching areas:

  • Healthcare Foundations
  • Health Career Readiness
  • Patient Care Technician
  • Medical Office Assistant
  • Nursing Assistant
  • Medical Assistant
  • Emergency Medical Responder
  • Emergency Medical Technician

Of these eight areas, the Healthcare Foundations modules will be the most appropriate for an introduction to health science course.

Benefits of Digital Curriculum

If incorporated as part of a blended learning classroom, a digital curriculum can help bring about dramatic results in student learning and engagement. When students receive instruction through a digital curriculum system, teachers in blended learning environments can focus on providing an excellent classroom experience where students engage in course material through discussions, exercises, and activities.

Digital curriculum also allows for increased differentiation in instruction. The flexibility of digital curriculum enables students to work at their own pace, making the content adaptable to different types of learners.

When well implemented, a digital curriculum can maximize learners’ appreciation of material while helping teachers save time and focus on their students.

Drawbacks of Digital Curriculum

Despite the benefits of a digital curriculum, there are some notable drawbacks.

The three most common problems about using digital curriculum are:

  • The potential for students to cheat
  • Technology requirements
  • Concerns about screen time

Cheating is an unfortunate part of any classroom. Still, vigilant teachers can get ahead of academic dishonesty by creating an environment where they define student success by effort rather than by test results.

For more information on combating dishonesty in your classroom, here are 11 Ways to Prevent Cheating in Schools.

Digital curriculum also requires access to technology, which may be a challenge for some students. Even in schools without a one-to-one technology program, teachers can ensure students have access to the digital curriculum through working in groups, accessing a computer cart, or even implementing a flipped learning strategy.

Finally, teachers can avoid problems with screen time by introducing breaks and supplemental materials into digital lessons and by embracing a blended learning strategy in which students only spend a portion of class time each week learning online.

Who is Digital Curriculum a Good Fit For?

Digital Curriculum is an excellent fit for instructors who want to engage their students in many different ways. Because digital learning can be an integral part of a blended learning environment, digital curriculum solutions can provide necessary instruction and remediation to students as they learn critical material.

With a digital curriculum, teachers can make the most of classroom instructional time and provide more differentiated instruction. The flexibility of the digital platform allows for learning to occur both in school or at home.

On the whole, digital solutions are great for teachers who want the benefits of blended learning supported by a comprehensive curriculum platform.

Which Intro to Health Science Curriculum is Right for You?

Ultimately, which type of introductory health science curriculum is the right fit for you will be influenced by several factors.

First, you’ll want to look at what materials you currently have access to and whether or not they are meeting your needs and the needs of your students. If you are thinking about changing your curriculum solution, consider what materials best fit your classroom.

If you favor a traditional approach which includes a structured curriculum with lesson plans and activities, an Introduction to Health Science textbook may be right for you.

If you are interested in creating a custom curriculum using materials you choose, supplemental teaching resources can give you the flexibility to create a solution unique to your classroom.

Finally, if you are interested in implementing a blended learning approach in your classroom, a digital curriculum could be a good fit for you.

If you are still considering whether a digital curriculum could be the right choice for you, download our ultimate guide to digital curriculum. When you download this free resource, you’ll receive answers to five of the most common questions teachers like you about digital curriculum.

Access your ultimate guide to digital curriculum here:

Read Your Ultimate Guide to Digital Curriculum

 

About Brad Hummel

As a researcher and writer, Brad works every day to create helpful content that answers your questions about AES.