Boardman Teacher’s Book Aims to Make Biology More Understandable

BOARDMAN, Ohio – A new book by a Boardman High School teacher is aimed at helping students better understand biology.

After working with a student last spring who couldn’t grasp concepts behind their biology class, Heather Moran, an advanced biology teacher, felt her skills were more impactful than behind the other side of a computer screen on a virtual call. Moran eventually conveyed the material in a palatable form. The experience spawned her to pen a book: “Biology Help for the Virtual Weary Student.”

Moran included 17 stories that serve as a bridge between an average biology textbook and her classroom lectures. She said these stories make science more comprehensible for students, using everyday language instead of “sciency” words. 

“During the pandemic of 2020, I was trying to help a friend whose son was struggling with an online biology class,” said Moran, who was awarded Teacher of the Year by the Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts in February 2020. “My friend said, ‘We have the textbook, a workbook and the answer key. What we need is someone to break down the why?’ After writing several of my normal lectures out for this boy, I realized these same short stories could help other students who might be struggling. I wrote the book over the summer.”

Moran, who has been teaching science at Boardman High School for 19 years, reached out of 120 fellow teachers, parents, current and former students to help edit her publication. Savannah White designed all the graphics in Moran’s book, which is available on Amazon

Moran has been active outside the classroom, escorting a group of 17 Boardman High School students to Iceland in the summer of 2019, where they navigated the Solheimajokull glacier and dove between diverging tectonic plates.

“One of my students said, ‘Ms. Moran, I don’t know anyone who’s ever written a book,’ ” Moran said. “They helped me decide on the cover art. They watched the process, and sometimes I think my students are more excited than me. It’s been a real learning process for us all.”

Pictured: Boardman High School advanced biology teacher Heather Moran pictured with her new book “Biology Help for the Virtual Weary Student.” 

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.