Educators across Alabama have discovered the Biology Compendium, and they’re using it as a resource in their classrooms. The Biology Compendium: A Field Guide to the Alabama Standards was created by the HudsonAlpha Educational Outreach team, in collaboration with a team of 10 exemplary teachers from across Alabama. Those teachers worked for a year to carefully vet lesson plans, handouts, protocols, activities and videos to help Alabama students engage with the core standards in the Alabama Course of Study: Science. Since those resources became available as free downloads from the compendium website, the resource page has been visited more than 18,700 times.
“These resources provide teachers with learning opportunities that allow students to ‘experience’ science, not just ‘learn’ science,” Melody Hopkins Tucker, PhD, said. Tucker, a biology teacher in Baldwin County, was on the teacher development team for the Biology Compendium. “Students participate in rich, meaningful, rigorous learning experiences that are student-centered and enable them to be actively involved in the learning process. The resources increase students’ motivation, engagement, science practice skills and higher order thinking skills.”
The list of free resources was compiled in 2016 as part larger initiative to develop a new guide for the course of study and new materials are added regularly. Now, teachers across Alabama are using the Biology Compendium. Much richer than an aligned resource list, the Compendium serves as a “field guide” to the Alabama Course of Study: Science by assisting biology educators through the course of study, suggesting ways to sequence activities, and highlighting how the practices and connecting concepts in the guide help students understand the material. The guide provides links to the free resources and explains how to incorporate them. The Biology Compendium itself has been downloaded more than 990 times, and the book has been delivered to Alabama science teachers across the state through professional development workshops held in 2016-2017.
“This compendium – carefully compiled and enhanced with educator tips and background – allows teachers to confidently select the most appropriate resources and learning tools for biology instruction,” said Neil Lamb, PhD, vice president for Educational Outreach. “Without it, teachers face the daunting task of sorting through an array of activities, modules and materials that may be interesting to their students but do a poor job of upholding the explanatory learning required by the new course of study.”
HudsonAlpha collaborated with A+ College Ready and Alabama Mathematics, Science and Technology Initiative to develop guide for teaching the new standards. The project was made possible through funding from the Boeing Company.