With past experience in teaching, a couple of degrees in writing, and an upbringing immersed in medical jargon, Mike is positioned well to hear out the most common questions teachers ask about the AES curriculum. His goal is to write content that quickly and effectively answers these questions so you can back to what matters - teaching your students.
If you’re new to teaching health science in Texas, you know how daunting it can be to find the right resources to fuel your course. You may know the TEKS requirements you need to teach, but where should you start looking for lesson plans or activities for your kids? How do other teachers get their course materials? What kinds of resources are out there? What if you choose the wrong ones?
As a health science curriculum developer, we hear these questions and more from hundreds of teachers every year. It can be a frightening experience, starting out. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best places you can find materials to teach your course and prepare your students for success.
In this article, you’ll discover the 3 best resources to teach your Principles of Health Science course:
Principles of Health Science Textbooks
Supplemental Materials for Teaching Principles of Health Science
Digital Curriculum for Teaching Principles of Health Science
By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of each of the kinds of resources available to you out there, and will be able to choose the best ones to teach your course.
1. Principles of Health Science Textbooks
There’s a reason textbooks have stuck around as long as they have: they’re one of the most reliable resources when it comes to building a curriculum.
Textbooks provide solid, well-researched information often divided into digestible chapters and sections, and many even come with lesson plans and activities you can use to engage your class.
If you’re looking for a more traditional resource to serve as the keystone of your health science curriculum, then a textbook might be just the right fit!
What Are Some of the Best Principles of Health Science Textbooks?
Introduction to Health Science: Pathways to Your Future
Health Science Fundamentals: Exploring Career Pathways
Principles of Health Science - Texas Edition
Healthcare Science Technology
Today’s Health Professions
If you decide a textbook is what your course needs, these six are a great place to start to give you the well-rounded information you’re looking for.
What Are the Benefits of Using Principles of Health Science Textbooks?
Using a textbook as your primary health science resource has several distinct benefits to it:
Textbooks are comprehensive - Health science textbooks go in-depth into the various concepts involved in healthcare, offering a varied yet detailed overview of the material you need to teach. Chances are, if there’s information your students have to know, they’ll find it in a textbook.
Textbooks are well-paced - Most textbooks divide their topics neatly by units, chapters, and even subchapters. For new teachers, this helps you to structure your class, so you know how to pace topics to ensure student understanding.
Textbooks provide activities and lesson plans - Many health science textbooks offer bonus features like classroom activities, materials, or structures for lesson plans. When used right, these can help you make your course more varied and engaging.
Depending on your needs as a new teacher, these pros that textbooks offer may be enough to give your class the strong core it needs.
What Are the Drawbacks of Using Principles of Health Science Textbooks?
Though there are many positives to choosing a textbook as your primary resource for teaching Principles of Health Science, there are also some significant drawbacks as well.
Textbooks are expensive - An individual textbook can cost hundreds of dollars, making them a costly choice for teachers who want to supply them to their entire class. Doing so could cost a school or district thousands of dollars, which many might not choose to go through with.
Textbooks aren’t always engaging - If student engagement is an area you often have trouble with in your health science class, then a textbook might not be the best choice. Though they have good information, textbooks are often dry, and don’t excite students as much as other teaching strategies. You’ll probably need to supplement your textbook with outside resources to make your class more exciting for students.
Textbooks become outdated - This is a crucial point to consider before making a textbook your resource of choice. Textbooks can’t be updated over time, so as medical knowledge and techniques advance, it’s inevitable your textbook will get left behind. After a few years, you’ll likely have to replace it entirely.
Before you consider whether or not to choose a textbook to teach your Principles of Health Science course, measure these drawbacks against the benefits you read about earlier. After all, textbooks won’t be the best resource for everyone!
Are Principles of Health Science Textbooks a Good Fit for You?
That depends on a few things, including what teaching style you plan on using in your class and what you want from your teaching materials.
If you’re a new teacher trying to get your bearings, then you would probably value the reliability and structure that a textbook would bring to your class. This is also the case if you plan on using more traditional teaching techniques like lecturing students and assigning reading.
However, if you’ve got some experience teaching and want to branch out to create a more engaging class, then you probably don’t need a textbook. After all, they can be a lot of trouble for teachers who don’t want to worry about outdated material or the expense of supplying new students with books.
2. Supplemental Materials for Teaching Principles of Health Science
Not every new teacher is looking for the heavy structure that textbooks provide. For many, creating your own curriculum from a variety of supplemental resources is half the fun!
Supplemental resources are great for the variety they provide. Rather than being constrained to one textbook or one curriculum, teachers instead draw from several different sources, picking and choosing the lesson plans or activities they know would fit best in their classrooms.
What Are Some of the Best Supplemental Materials to Teach Principles of Health Science?
You can draw valuable supplemental course material from several key websites and communities, including:
Texas CTE Resource Center - This is a solid resource for Texas-based health science teachers to use because of its alignment with your TEKS course requirements. It provides lesson plans that cover a limited number of topics within the eleven TEKS units, and will likely be easily adaptable to your classroom.
NCHSE Enhancements - The NCHSE Enhancements are a health science resource intended to supplement state standards, textbooks, and other materials. It comes with various activities, exercises, and presentations to help you teach foundational health science concepts.
Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) - Teachers Pay Teachers is a digital marketplace where hundreds of vendors develop and sell educational content to teachers, covering a vast array of topics. If you look through it, you’re bound to find engaging activities, games, and lesson plans to help you develop your health science curriculum.
Online communities like the THOA Facebook Group - Don’t underestimate the power of other teachers. When you join online communities like this THOA group, you join a network of instructors offering advice, experience, and educational material, all to help one another succeed. The content from these groups may vary in size and scope, but you’ll have a guarantee that it’s tried and true.
It’s important to keep in mind that, while these options are solid and quite popular among teacher groups, they’re also just the beginning. There’s probably no shortage of supplemental material floating around on the Internet that could be invaluable for forming your course.
What Are the Benefits of Using Supplemental Health Science Material?
Using supplemental material to create your health science curriculum has several positives to it, including:
Supplemental material is often engaging - With all of the activities, games, presentations, exercises, and videos you can find online, using supplemental material to help you teach your course is almost bound to make your class more engaging to students. While textbooks can be dull or drab, supplemental material is often fun and exciting.
Supplemental material allows for more customizability and creativity - If you use this method, it means you’re gathering every piece of material on your own and fitting them together as you want. This gives you ultimate control over the structure, pacing, and content of your classroom, which more experienced teachers value greatly.
With the significant variation, customizability, and engagement that supplemental materials can provide, it’s no surprise that so many teachers use them to create their own unique courses.
What Are the Drawbacks of Using Supplemental Health Science Material?
Using supplemental material to create your Principles of Health Science curriculum isn’t for everybody. There are a few drawbacks to this way of doing things that may make it a detriment to some teachers:
Supplemental material isn’t always reliable - Because of the large variety of supplemental material out there, from government-supplied resources to lessons crafted by independent vendors, you can’t always be sure of the reliability of the lessons and exercises you choose to use. Some lessons may be more fact-based than others, and some activities may not be nearly as engaging as its vendor might suggest it is.
Using supplemental material to form a curriculum takes more work - One of the biggest drawbacks of this method is the amount of work it will take. If you’re new to teaching, you probably have enough to learn and worry about already, and taking hours out of your week to painstakingly create your own curriculum from many different materials could be too much.
It’s essential to consider both sides of the coin before deciding whether supplemental material is the right resource to form your health science curriculum.
Is Supplemental Health Science Material the Right Fit for You?
Whether you should use supplemental material to create your curriculum depends on a few factors, including your experience level and the amount of time you have to spend prepping.
If you’ve got a bit of teaching experience and want to build a custom, engaging curriculum over which you have complete control, then using supplemental material would probably be a good fit for you.
However, if you’re new to teaching or lack time to build your own curriculum from the ground up, then using supplemental materials to structure your course likely wouldn’t be the best option.
3. Digital Curriculum for Teaching Principles of Health Science
Digital curriculum is yet another option available for teachers who want a more comprehensive approach that takes far less work to implement.
A digital curriculum system is online teaching software designed to provide teachers with all the resources they need to teach their class, while allowing them greater flexibility in implementing lessons and activities.
These systems come in several shapes and sizes, ranging from “plug-and-play” courses where students primarily teach themselves, to more blended approaches that balance traditional instruction and educational technology.
What Are the Best Digital Curriculum Options to Teach Principles of Health Science?
There are several quality digital curriculum systems available online, some of which align very closely with the TEKS standards for Principles of Health Science:
Apex Learning - Apex Learning is a digital curriculum provider focused on students in the 6-12 grade range. They offer a year-long course on Principles of Health Science, covering day-to-day healthcare skills and concepts to prep students for careers in the field.
iCEV - iCEV is one of the most popular digital curriculum providers for teaching Principles of Health Science in Texas. They offer pre-packaged, turn-key courses designed to meet TEKS standards, and are a solid option for teachers focused on covering those standards.
Edgenuity - Edgenuity provides digital curriculum systems that can be used entirely virtually or as part of a blended learning environment. They offer ten general courses on health science, as well as Principles of Health Science, which is specifically on their Texas course list.
AES - AES offers a digital curriculum called HealthCenter21, designed for teachers looking to teach foundational health science knowledge to their students. HealthCenter21 was created with Principles of Health Science in mind, and aligns closely with TEKS standards.
These are some of the industry leaders in digital curriculum when it comes to teaching Principles of Health Science. If you decide a digital curriculum is the best choice for you, then these are excellent options you can choose from.
What Are the Benefits of Using Digital Curriculum for Principles of Health Science?
Using a digital curriculum as the core resource for your class comes with many positives, including:
Digital curriculum has reliable information - These systems are often sold as products or as subscription-based services, which means there are dedicated teams of professionals working to add to the curriculum and make sure the information is up to date.
Digital curriculum is often engaging - Many digital curriculum systems use some form of blended learning to ensure students retain more information. With the help of digital activities, exercises, and videos, digital curriculum places a focus on engagement that most textbooks simply can’t keep up with.
Digital curriculum can be flexible - Depending on the system you use, digital curriculum can strike a fine balance between flexibility and structure. It provides a framework for your health science class, but also allows you to deviate from that framework and differentiate your course as you see fit.
It’s important to remember that, while these benefits apply to many digital curriculum systems, they won’t apply to all. There are many kinds of digital curriculum out there, some with more reliability and flexibility than others, and finding the right one for you is key to your success.
What Are the Drawbacks of Using Digital Curriculum for Principles of Health Science?
Digital curriculum requires technology - Simply put, most digital curriculum systems work best in classrooms with access to laptops or other devices for each student. If students can’t access the interactive lessons, exercises, or videos within the curriculum, many of its advantages fall flat.
Digital curriculum can involve too much screen time - Some teachers complain that digital curriculum can cause students to spend too long sitting in front of screens, taking away from lectures or other hands-on experiences. This may be the case for some systems more than others.
Digital curriculum can lead to students cheating - Because digital curriculum assessments and course material are often standardized, students may be able to find answers to assignments or quizzes online. This can lead to increased cheating within your classroom.
Though these are all valid drawbacks to digital curriculum, keep in mind that each of these may or may not apply depending on the system you use. Some digital curriculum systems have measures to prevent cheating, for instance, while others are specifically designed to ensure students don’t spend too much time staring at a screen.
In other words, there’s so much variation when it comes to digital curriculum that, depending on the system you use, one or more of these criticisms might be irrelevant.
Is Digital Curriculum the Right Fit for You?
Though digital curriculum systems are often robust and engaging, they aren’t for everyone. Depending on your needs, they may or may not be the right fit for your Principles of Health Science course.
If you’re new to teaching and need a comprehensive curriculum with solid structure and up-to-date information, then a digital curriculum will probably fit you well. This is also the case if you need quality content to further engage your students in class.
If your students don’t have access to individual laptops, or if you prefer to stick to more traditional instruction, then digital curriculum likely won’t be the right choice for you. Using digital curriculum to its fullest requires technology, after all, and that can be too expensive for some districts or schools to justify.
Which Principles of Health Science Curriculum is Right for You?
The best resource for your Principles of Health Science course depends on a few factors, like your teaching experience, amount of free time, preferred teaching style, and more.
Generally, for new teachers who need a sense of structure in the classroom, a textbook is an excellent way to go.
Textbooks give your course a strong framework to work from, providing content that’s often reliable and well-paced, though sometimes unengaging.
If you have prior teaching experience and aren’t afraid of some extra work, using supplemental materials to craft your curriculum from scratch is another method you can take.
This will work particularly well if you want total creative control over your course so that you can customize it to the needs of your students.
Finally, if you’re new to teaching and need a resource that strikes a fine balance between reliability, engagement, and structure, then digital curriculum might be the answer for you.
Digital curriculum does an excellent job of shoring up some of the issues that plague standard textbooks and supplemental material, striving for student engagement and comprehensiveness.