Lucky us! Rachel sought out Shape of Life requesting permission to reference our video in the questions about sponges she created. We heartily agreed and were so impressed with Rachel’s creative approach to teaching we decided to feature her.
“Confession: I didn’t love science throughout school! I have always had a deep sensitivity and love for animals but gravitated more towards classes that focused on written language,” said Rachel. It was when she signed up for an elective class in zoology in her senior year of high school that she was grabbed by science. “I fell in love with the diverse world full of coral, planarians, and sea stars. I decided to major in biology with a secondary in education and additional emphasis on environmental education.”
About Climate Change
Rachel believes she was meant to teach zoology. “I am obsessed with the animal kingdom!” She gets genuinely excited to share new things about animals with her students, and that excitement is contagious. “I love seeing students get hooked on learning about animals and appreciating the beauty of their world at a deeper level.”
“Students are saddened and feel a deep sense of injustice when they hear about the effects of climate on the animals we study. That being said - a wise student once quoted Edward Everett Hale in her ocean pollution research project: I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can."
“Passion is contagious. Let your nerdy side show, and let it show BOLDLY!” shared Rachel.
Rachel teaches high school zoology, anatomy, and physiology.
“I create resources for my students, and I have also had the incredible privilege to share my curriculum with thousands of teachers worldwide through my curriculum development business, Science from Scratch. Creative is one of the top three words I would use to describe myself!” said Rachel.
Rachel’s lessons are designed with three goals: 1. Be academically rigorous and accurate. 2. Be as student-centered and hands-on as possible. 3. Be fun for both the teacher and the student. “I enjoy my job more as a teacher when my students are having a blast. I love hearing from teachers around the world who are falling back in love with teaching using my curriculum.”
Rachel adores teaching zoology. “What do children naturally love from a young age? Animals and trucks! I don’t want to teach about trucks, but I do draw upon their un-fostered affinity for animals,” says Rachel.
“Zoology is the best kind of gross that leaves you always wanting to know more. It’s the coolest class in school!”
Rachel has created a full-year anatomy and physiology curriculum for 10th through 12th grade students. She is currently working on a full-year zoology curriculum for 11th and 12th grade, which is slated to be finished in 2024.
Where Shape of Life Fits In
“I stumbled upon Shape of Life during remote learning in 2020… and man, what a find it has been!”, said Rachel. She shows Shape of Life videos towards the end of each zoology unit to solidify what students have learned and as “amazing examples of each animal phylum”.
Her students’ favorite videos are filter-feeding sponge and colored dye, stomphia escaping a predator, penis-fencing amongst planarians, and sunflower sea star hunting. We, of course, don’t mean to brag, but Rachel thinks “these videos are top-notch. Shape of Life has truly thought of everything!” Aw shucks.
What Students Need
Rachel believes high school students are desperate for connection to committed teachers. “They want to learn, and they want to know that you care for and are proud of them. I like building curriculum that provides opportunities to build their confidence.”
Lucky us and lucky students to have Rachel Miller as their teacher.