Trying something new in your classroom can feel invigorating, but also opens many questions: How does this compare to what I’ve been doing before? Will it make things easier or more complicated? How will it impact my students?
For Stacie Trebes, middle school teacher at Sahuarita School District, trying something new meant stepping out of her comfort zone and going digital. What she discovered was a new level of engagement with students and a refreshing take on teaching science. Read on to hear Stacie’s story of introducing Discovery Education Science Techbook to her middle school science classroom.
Stacie Trebes, an esteemed educator in the Sahuarita Unified School District, brings over a decade of teaching experience to her current role. Her journey in education began as a substitute teacher, which laid the foundation for her teaching career. Stacie spent her first four years teaching second grade and later made the transition to middle school, where she began teaching science. It has been six years now in middle school, and she is thoroughly enjoying her time teaching science. Stacie finds fulfillment in working with middle school students, emphasizing the value of hands-on lab experiences that bring life to their learning.
Besides having a blast in the classroom, Stacie Trebes enjoys spending time quality time with her family, which includes her husband and three children. She also enjoys reading, crafting, gardening, and writing children’s picture books
I was inspired to become a teacher after my sister became a teacher! Seeing my sister’s work and how she connected with her students led me to join education. I’ve worked as a substitute and as a full-time classroom teacher. What inspired me to teach science was getting to explore all different aspects of science throughout the year. It’s so fun—you can teach a little bit of what you like, but then easily add things that you may not know as well. It ends up being super engaging because not only do the kids learn about a wide variety of topics and learn to love science, but the teacher also ends up loving the subject!
Teaching Science Before Science Techbook
Before Discovery Education, we had outdated textbooks that we used occasionally, but I would have to dig through websites to find supplemental materials to use in my lessons. I would hunt through a ton of sources and find things to go along with the old textbooks or create lessons entirely from scratch. With Discovery Education, everything is all in one place—right at your fingertips! I don’t have to search for lessons, texts, videos, and resources, so it’s a huge timesaver. It’s also great that the content is at the kids’ fingertips!
Introducing Digital Resources
When I heard about the research study occurring in my district, I wanted to test how effective I was at delivering digital resources. I also wanted to see how well the kids received the information from online sources and determine the actual impact of Science Techbook on my lesson planning and teaching.
Before seeing the resources, I thought that Science Techbook was going to look like a traditional textbook or workbook on a screen. I thought the students would read passages and then answer multiple-choice questions—I didn’t realize that the lessons would include videos and hands-on learning or expect such a high level of student engagement! The best surprise was that these resources can also be accessed at home. If the students’ families are curious about what they are learning, the students can show them the exact lesson we worked on, which has helped parents and families connect to our school and feel more involved in the learning process.
Discovery Education's Impact
When we were first introduced to Discovery Education, the DE team held Professional Learning sessions that explored the product from both the teacher and student perspectives. The support didn’t stop there! After those initial live sessions, they gave us ways to keep in touch, like through the help button in the platform, and they continued to check in to help us be successful in the classroom. As time passed, they added even more lessons and resources, so the DE team had another refresher course to help break down the new improvements.
We used Science Techbook in our lessons on a weekly basis and found that the ease of using the platform was a great perk because the students quickly grasped how to find their lessons. I also realized that Discovery Education helps steer lesson planning in the right direction. It has state standards and clear learning objectives, and there are pieces to help teachers check for understanding, like assessments or exit tickets. It truly has all of the components of a good lesson!
- Stacie Trebes, Sahuarita Unified School District Teacher
All the resources have rigorous activities to strengthen academic skills, and they also require active participation. I’ve found that the students are really engaged from start to finish—they’re reading, they’re watching videos, and they’re interested in the curriculum. The lessons are fast paced and the students enjoy them, so the hour goes by quickly!
One surprising result of using Discovery Education was that the increased student engagement led to fewer behavior issues. Even though they have their own devices, they’re not roaming around on different websites. They’re engaged in the activities and involved in the lessons.
Read more about Sahuarita Unified School District's partnership with Discovery Education!
Discovery Education helped me create a heartwarming, memorable moment for my class—we had just learned about how cancer cells develop and how researchers work to fight cancer. After the video, one student raised her hand and said, “My grandma and mom both had cancer, and they both survived. This is the type of technology that worked for them!” She went on to share that this video and her personal experience had inspired her. I’m hoping that she’ll carry that inspiration into a potential career path in medicine!
These videos and lessons can connect to students’ lives and experiences. As a science teacher, the content of your lesson very rarely connects back to the family. Many families are glad their students are enjoying science class, but Discovery Education brings a new level of personal connection to their content.
Advice to Other Educators
When you’re trying any new digital resource, take time to explore it! Exploring Discovery Education to see all of its components helped me find a wide variety of resources to use in my lessons! You’ll click on one page and there’ll be another interesting page or video—it’s almost never ending. There’s so much material that taking your time to explore the videos, assessments, and support options is the best way to become comfortable before implementing the new resources. Also, take advantage of the DE team—make sure you reach out! If you have questions, they’ll get back to you, and if they don’t know the answers, they’ll find them for you.
It’s easy to feel the weight of all the different tasks we balance as teachers, but reaching out to other teachers for advice and tips can help. When we first started using Science Techbook, there was another teacher who I noticed did more with the resources, so I asked her for help! She showed me the assessments she was using, explained how to use the different videos in my lessons, and helped me find ways to create video questions for my kids. After that conversation, I was able to go back and try something new, knowing I had someone in my corner to help when I needed it!
Whether it’s a new strategy, a new resource, or an entirely new digital curriculum, trying something new could help streamline your lesson planning and re-energize your students! With support from other teachers or a curriculum partner like Discovery Education, implementing something new in your classroom is easier than ever.