Greg McBride, Aptos High, Aptos, CA

photo of teacher Greg McBride in his classroom

How Shape of Life Helps H.S. Teacher, Greg McBride, Engage Multiple Kinds of Intelligence

When Greg McBride starts off the school year, he requests that each student take an online test that doesn’t measure a students’ intelligence—but, how they are intelligent. “Kids learn at all different levels. When they take this test, they don’t discover ‘if’ they’re smart—they discover how they’re smart!”, said McBride. “Shape of Life’s online resources engage kids on multiple levels with writing, reading, listening, drawing and also by viewing never-before-filmed feeding and habitats of animals. Shape of Life offers students lots of ways for their brains to latch onto pretty nerdy concepts.”

Greg views his primary goal as a teacher as introducing students to a rich and pleasant learning experience that will stay with them as adults and inspire them to be stewards of the nature they learn about. His secondary goal is to engage multiple kinds of intelligence in preparing students for the rigors of university level work. Finally, “I try to stay out of the way of the inspirational oceans; if I don't mess up, the ocean will inspire future scientists all on its own.”

When you walk into Greg’s classroom, you feel like you’re walking into a science exploratorium that makes you want to learn about everything, all at once. There is a diverse mixture of all kinds of media that captures and holds the squirreliest of monkey-minds.

An important part of Greg’s creative teaching mediums is Shape of Life’s DVD’s. “They allow me to show parts of each episode spread over a few days. In between, I use etymology for terms in the episode, labs when possible, discussions about our marine text, and parts of the Marine Biology coloring book linked to the episode. I often refer to two giant time lines that circle our classroom. I keep a marine aquarium and try to have live animals in each phylum we study in my classroom. I refer to common experiences related to each phylum, especially from our trip to Catalina Island Marine Institute and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.”

“The main function of Shape of Life for me”, Greg continues, “is to give the students specific common experiences from the animals, scientists and computer images, and use those common experiences as a starting point and fulcrum for all of the other activities. I encourage the students to take excellent notes and do excellent work on the Marine Biology coloring book and I allow them use both on all tests.”

When asked what keeps Greg stoked to teach HS science, he replied- “On teacher work days, before the school year begins, I always wonder what I am doing still teaching in a high school. How many times will I have bells run my day and a school schedule determine my year? Then the kids show up. They make me laugh. Their courage during incredible stress inspires me. The wonder in their eyes when they discover beauty keeps me going year after year.”

Thank you, Greg. It’s teachers like you that keep us going, year after year, at Shape of Life. Please discover the rich and varied online resources offered for FREE to all science teachers at Shape of Life