“My Absolute Favorite Resource for Teaching Lab Sciences”

June 12, 2023

Meet Dr. Cristi Sims:  

Cristi is a veteran biology teacher with over 30 years of experience. She’s been using Pivot Interactives to teach biology and AP Biology in her school for years. Listen to her story about using Pivot Interactives to enhance her students’ learning – while saving her time.


Powerful Points:

#1: Cristi didn’t show you the Pivot Interactives library – she showed you HER library.

She could have just hopped into the Pivot Interactives library and thumbed through it briefly. But, to Cristi – that’s not her everyday location. Like many teachers, Cristi has curated her own custom library. Custom libraries are a key feature of Pivot Interactives – they allow you to collect, organize, modify, create, and share activities all in one location. Now she’s not sifting through over 500 activities for multiple subjects; she’s looking at a collection of activities that she found, modified, and used in her class; each one is specific to her classes and her students. They’re so specific she even put her name on them.

#2: Cristi isn’t replacing labs with Pivot Interactives; she’s making them better.  

Have you ever set up a gel for gel electrophoresis? It’s by no means a “beginner” task! Imagine spending your morning making gels for your classes only to have the students fail to understand how to use them. Now you need to spend tomorrow morning, and maybe even more time, making gels again. Or, you just skip gel electrophoresis. Instead of making sets each day for a week, Cristi turns to Pivot Interactives to be her best lab partner.

  • Pivot Interactives provided better detail than what Cristi’s students can do on their own. Sure, they can draw a gel plate and arrows for the motion, but does it look like the real deal? With Pivot Interactives, she can introduce her students to real gel plates in just a few clicks.
  • As she says, Pivot Interactives is not designed to replace your labs. Instead, she uses it to preview activities: students can see how gel electrophoresis works without the messy setup. Pivot Interactives activities provide the background learning students need before the lab begins.
  • Cristi uses Pivot Interactives to catch misconceptions before they set in. With autograded questions, students simply input an answer and click Submit to get feedback immediately! They’re ready to use those gel plates when they get into the lab the next day instead of wasting them.

"One of the biggest problems we have whenever we’re teaching lab is how do you give feedback to the students in the moment? There’s one of you and thirty of them!" - Cristi Sims

#3. Cristi doesn’t just love Pivot Interactives – her students do too.

It’s always a happy moment when your students say they like your class. It’s even better when they say they enjoyed a lesson or liked that lab. But how often do your students tell you they’re glad you use a particular resource?  

Cristi’s student loves the ease of using Pivot Interactives. It’s like they said – there isn’t much setup on the student’s part! Your students no longer spend five minutes setting up a lab and five minutes tearing one down. All they need to do is open their device.

"I’m really glad my class uses Pivot Interactives." - Cristi’s student

How can you be like Cristi?

Pivot Interactives isn’t just for biology. The platform hosts over 500 Pivot-made astronomy, biology, chemistry, Earth science, environmental science, and physics activities. With nearly 10,000 more in the Community Library, you can see how other teachers like Cristi use Pivot Interactives too. Try it out in tandem with your next lab.