Meet Ariane Huddleston, the creative force behind TpT store The Science Penguin and one of this year’s TpT conference presenters. After receiving her M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas at San Antonio, Ariane began teaching 5th grade science in 2008. When she noticed a shortage of effective, differentiated science materials, she began developing her own resources. She chronicles her experiences with individualized instruction and her passion for science education on her blog (also named for the flippered, flightless bird).
1. Ariane, we love how you describe The Science Penguin as both a “who” and a “what,” with the “what” being a way of teaching that helps you reach diverse students with varied backgrounds. Can you share a specific example of how you achieve this?
During my first couple of years teaching, I really struggled to meet my students where they were. I started experimenting with learning stations to teach science. In response, my students enjoyed their time in my class and put forth more effort. I found I could adapt the activities to meet students’ needs. It was a win-win!
2. Who or what inspired your love of science and drive to share that broadly?
There’s only one reason I started teaching science. It’s what I was hired to teach, and I couldn’t turn down a job! I spent a lot of time my first year teaching myself the 5th grade science curriculum. I’d never spent more time on science than I had to, but as I figured out how to make it fun for my students, it became fun for me, too. I always want my students to love science much more than I ever did in school!
3. How did you first come to TpT, and when did you realize you’d turned a corner and things were really taking off?
In November of 2011, I started my blog, The Science Penguin. I wanted to share my ideas and some activities that my class was doing. I only signed up for TpT so I could keep track of how many people downloaded the pages I offered! While the materials I offered at the time were nowhere near my current standards, people seemed to like the ideas I had. I worked hard over the next year, making my resources top-notch and easy to implement. By January 2013, I could tell that TpT was going to be a game-changer for my life. I currently work on The Science Penguin full-time and love every second of it!
(The Science Penguin after a presentation at the NSTA Regional Conference in Orlando, Florida; TpT Teacher-Authors: Ashleigh, Teaching in Room 6, Teaching With a Mountain View, Tessa Maguire, Blair Turner, and The Science Penguin)
4. Which of your resources are some of your favorites?
I absolutely adore Hands-On Science Vocabulary Instruction. Instead of copying and memorizing definitions, you provide students with hands-on experiences so they have a more concrete understanding of new vocabulary. This resource serves as both a teaching guide and printable resource.
The All in One Science Interactive Notebook Bundle is one of my best-selling items. This resource has 184 notebook activities and photos for grades 3-6.
I loved making Your Brain: Free Student Notebook Activities About Learning. The lessons teach students about brain lobes, parts of a neuron, dendrites, and so much more! You can reference these activities all year as you help your students learn new things!
5. What’s the biggest impact being a TpT Teacher-Author has had on your life?
This is a tough question because TpT has changed so much in my life. My fiancé, Adam, and I are able to work from home and have the flexibility to travel. In my full-time Science Penguin life, I can help teachers who are busier than ever. I love being able to support them by providing ideas on my blog and ready-to-use teaching resources.
I’m lucky enough to have formed wonderful friendships with other TpT Teacher-Authors across the country. I talk to some of these ladies nearly every day! I love TpT!
Thanks, Ariane! We’re so excited to see you at TpT’s Come Together, Go Further Conference in Las Vegas.