Knoxville Community School District Brings Science Alive! with TCI

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Meet Katie Frey

Katie Frey

“My kids love coming to science. They love that the sections are short, the way it’s broken up, and the organization of it all.”

Katie Frey

  • Grades: 6th and 8th
  • Subject: Life and Science Earth Science
  • District: Knoxville Community School District
  • Teaching with TCI Since: 2017

Adopting a New Curriculum

When Illinois adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), Knoxville Community School District was looking for a new standards-aligned K-8 curriculum for their students. Middle school science teacher Katie Frey was a part of the selection committee. The committee wanted a program that provided science knowledge support and flexibility so teachers can adapt the content for their classrooms.

TCI was Katie’s first choice. She explained, “We liked how TCI was simpler to use. Each lesson was broken down into small sections, and we could easily combine sections and lessons. We could really make it our own and still stay true to the curriculum.”

In 2017, the district adopted TCI. Features like TCI’s blended-learning platform and hands-on investigations swayed Katie and the rest of the committee to vote for the Bring Science Alive! programs.

The blended-learning platform was especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic. The district moved to a hybrid learning model, and teachers were able to continue engaging their students using TCI’s digital resources. Tech features, such as Google Classroom integration and the Grades Dashboard, helped teachers manage their classrooms online.

“During the pandemic, TCI’s online program was a blessing! The assessments were online. We could assign work, and if students needed tech support, they were there—like the text-to-speech and highlighting tools,” Katie said. “It’s nice to have everything in one platform so students aren’t going to a million websites to find everything.”

Earth Science Program


Katie pointed out that TCI’s platform helped her automatically track student progress and learning outcomes. She used the Grades Dashboard to view class statistics and see which questions students missed on the test. “I like the grading statistics and the ability to see which questions students were missing that I need to go back and teach,” Katie recounted.

Bringing Science Alive!

With TCI’s middle school science programs, Katie also noticed increased student engagement levels. Her students were collaborating, discovering, and having fun learning. “My kids love coming to science,” Katie shared. “They love that the sections are short, the way it’s broken up, and the organization of it all.”

TCI is excited to hear about Katie’s success in her science classrooms. We hope she and her students continue to explore phenomena and build their science content knowledge and skills.


Katie’s Favorite TCI Investigations

Walking the planets

Bring Science Alive! Space: Gravity and the Solar System

Students create a solar system model and “visit” the planets. They calculate planets’ distances on a small-scale model.

Bring Science Alive! Planet Earth: Earth’s Tectonic Plates

Students uncover data that support Wegener’s Continental Drift hypothesis. They recreate a map of Pangaea to see how Wegener analyzed evidence that supported his hypothesis.

Bring Science Alive! Cells and Genetics: Interacting Body Systems

Students create a life-size model of the human body. Then, they use the model to explain how all the systems in the body work together.

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