[caption id="attachment_18355" align="alignleft" width="400"]<img src="https:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2017\/11\/kathy-whitepic2.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="533" class="size-full wp-image-18355" \/> Pocahontas County High School AP Biology teacher Kathy White with students, Shayna Hammons, Christoper Morrison and Gillie Kelley.\u00a0 [\/caption]\r\n\r\nThe Birthplace of Rivers and Future Scientists\r\nPosted October 20, 2017\r\nShape of Life \u2013 the animal kingdom\r\n\r\nNestled in one of the most remote areas of West Virginia known as the Birthplace of West Virginia, you\u2019ll find an incredible teacher who opens up the world to her AP Biology high school students.\r\n\r\n\u201cI have been a high school science teacher in Pocahontas County for 27 years. Despite being the second largest county in West Virginia, we have one of the smallest populations. Most of the county is comprised of state and national forest. It\u2019s a biologist\u2019s dream. I moved here in 1990 and have never left.\u201d\r\n\r\nWhat compelled Kathy to stay in West Virginia to pursue her teaching certification was a poor experience a family member had with a student teacher. \r\n\r\n\u201cAs someone who loved all science, I believed the students in rural West Virginia schools deserved teachers who offer inspiration instead of frustration. Teaching has since become my passion and teaching science to young people my joy.\u201d\u00a0\r\n\r\nThe Evolution of the Animal Kingdom Comes to Rural West Virginia\r\n\r\nThe greatest challenge to teaching science in a rural area of West Virginia is limited resources. Certainly students throughout the entire country are suffering from educational cutbacks \u2013 but, in remote areas, it can be even worse as there are few facilities in close proximity where students are exposed to technology in action. The closest major university is three hours away, so enrichment opportunities are expensive and time prohibitive. That\u2019s where Shape of Life\u2019s free online resources come into play.\r\n\r\n\u201cI first became familiar with the Shape of Life through professional development conferences, and interactions with other science teachers. A fellow AP Biology teacher originally recommended the series to me, and I was thrilled with the videos, lesson plans and resources available on the website.\u201d\r\n\r\nKathy\u2019s students use Shape of Life videos and resources to delve deeper into \u2018structural form and function\u2019, as well as, evolutionary trends. \r\n\r\n\u201cMy general biology students use the videos to help understand different organisms within the animal kingdom during taxonomy lessons. Sometimes we use the segments dealing with body plans when preparing for dissections and specimen observations. The students are thrilled with the quality of the cinematography.\u00a0 \r\n\r\n\u201cMany times I hear students say \u2018these are so much better than those boring science videos!.\u2019\u201d They also love the scientist videos where they\u2019re exposed to fields of science and research careers.\r\n\r\n\u201cDespite being from a rural area, I want our students to understand the global nature of science and the opportunities that are available to them.\u201d\u00a0\r\n\r\nRewards Beyond Common Hours\r\n\r\nKathy\u2019s students have appreciated her dedication and innovative approach to teaching science for 27 years. Kathy still receives letters of appreciation from successful students who have achieved their professional goals. \r\n\r\n\u201cThis past summer I received a letter from a former student who had just completed Physical Therapy school. She wanted to thank those she felt encouraged and helped her achieve her goals. Those are rewards that are worth more than any salary.\u201d\r\nKathy believes science teaching has never been more important. \r\n\r\n\u201cAs our climate changes, students need to understand the impact on every level of life. They also need to be prepared to become the problem-solvers of our future. As long as I can encourage a few of my students to step away from the cultural barriers of where they live and follow their dreams I feel I have a purpose and that keeps me stoked.\u201d\r\n\r\nFor more articles, videos and resources, go to shapeoflife.org \r\n\r\nReprinted by permission.