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Human Growth & Development : Reviews & Comparisons

October 18th, 2023 | 9 min. read

Joshua Witherspoon

Joshua Witherspoon

After serving as a Texas FFA state officer in 2018, Josh Witherspoon joined the iCEV team as a part-time employee for 3 years before taking on the role of content development specialist in 2022. Witherspoon holds a bachelor's degree in agricultural communications from Texas Tech University, in which his experience and proficiency in writing, marketing and CTE allow him to effectively communicate the successes of CTE educators and students and the value iCEV has to offer.

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As a family and consumer sciences teacher, you know that understanding human growth and development offers personal, academic and career value to students regardless of what industry they pursue. After all, knowledge of this vital topic helps students gain an understanding of their own lives, those around them and the world they live in. 

However, with so many curriculum options out there, choosing the right resource for your classroom can be a challenge.

As a passionate Career and Technical Education (CTE) provider, we’re often asked about the best human growth and development resources available. In this article, you’ll explore some of the most popular providers and discover how they compare to iCEV, including: 

  • eDynamic Holdings 
  • Goodheart-Willcox 
  • Texas Tech University for FCS

After reading this article, you’ll better understand each curriculum provider, their benefits, drawbacks and who the curriculum is best suited for. 

iCEV’s Human Growth & Development Curriculum

As a comprehensive CTE solution, iCEV offers extensive resources for teaching family and consumer science courses including Human Growth & Development.  

In this course, students examine human development from infant to late adulthood with emphasis on research, theoretical perspectives, and common physical, cognitive and social developmental milestones. The course comes complete with pre-built lesson plans, interactive activities, formative and summative assessments as well as other materials to engage students in your classroom.

In addition, teachers receive access to a robust learning management system to track student activity and report on their progress. The platform and courses are also customizable and allow you to combine multiple courses to build students’ knowledge and create a cohesive learning experience over multiple years.

What Are the Benefits of This Curriculum? 

iCEV provides an extensive curriculum for teachers to meet standards for human growth and development and other FCS courses. With a single subscription, instructors receive access to a library of FCS courses complete with ready-to-use lessons, activities, and assessments.

Through varied and engaging courses, students interact with a variety of instructional methods in a blended learning environment. With iCEV, teachers have the ability to tailor their instruction to the needs of every student, including special populations.

iCEV’s digital curriculum and platform are also continually updated to satisfy changes in standards and keep students prepared for future developments in family and consumer science.

What Are the Drawbacks of This Curriculum? 

While our human growth and development curriculum is a great fit for many classrooms, it isn’t the right solution for everyone. Instructors who want to teach this course in a more traditional, text-focused format might prefer a print-based curriculum for their classes.

Likewise, educators who want to focus in great detail on a single facet of human growth and development like career and personal subjects might consider a curriculum that focuses more heavily on these concepts.

Finally, teachers who prefer to craft their own lesson plans from scratch might not utilize the full library of premade plans and materials available in the iCEV curriculum system. 

Who Should Consider This Curriculum? 

iCEV gives students a comprehensive introduction to human growth and development concepts and skills in a blended learning environment. Through engaging multimedia content and interactive activities, your students will learn a wide variety of knowledge and skills to set them on a path for success 

It’s a good choice for educators looking for a well-structured, engaging curriculum solution to support your course. It’s not for teachers who favor more traditional instruction methods with less interactivity like textbooks.

eDynamic Learning Human Growth and Development

An established provider of digital curriculum, eDynamic Learning offers two unique courses including Human  Growth and Development 1a: Introduction and Human Growth and Development 1b: Journey Into Adulthood. In these courses, students take a deep dive into the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional growth across an individual's lifespan. Through the lessons, students will learn key milestones, apply theoretical frameworks that give insight into health and safety as well as strategies to optimize growth and development. 

Students learn critical vocabulary, complete timed assessments and learn in a structured, asynchronous space. Teachers also receive lesson plans and a Getting Started guide to help implement the course in their classrooms.

It should be noted that both courses will need to be purchased in order to comprehensively teach Human Growth & Development.

What Are the Benefits of This Curriculum? 

eDynamic Learning’s courses and platform are a great fit for online or distance learning programs. As a primarily digital option, eDynamic Learning offers multiple auto-grade features as well as limited customization options to change due dates, show student status and more. For online educators, these features not only save you time but also streamline your grading process and keep students and the educator on the same page.  

In addition, the student e-book offers opportunities for critical thinking and further exploration of topics. For example, if students need more context for an image being viewed, they can click on pictures in the textbook which will show more visual examples or definitions of specific words. 

This option also comes with a variety of resources including critical thinking questions, quizzes and midterm exams. These materials are valuable for educators in that they give you insight on student understanding and retention throughout your course. 

What Are the Drawbacks of This Curriculum? 

A significant drawback of eDynamic Learning is that they split their human growth and development curriculum into two separate courses. You'll need to purchase and use both courses to comprehensively teach human growth and development, which can present budgeting or pacing issues. 

The second downside of this option lies within grading on the eDynamic Platform. All assignments and activities associated with this option have already been assigned specific point values which might not align with how you grade in your course. In addition, grading rubrics for assignments are very simple and lack depth for teachers to challenge students. 

Who Should Consider This Curriculum? 

eDynamic Learning is best suited for an asynchronous learning environment. Educators looking to assign their students coursework and manage the course digitally will likely be successful with this option. 

On the other hand, if you’re an educator looking to create a blended learning environment using a variety of instructional methods and interactive activities, you might be disappointed in this curriculum options lack of variety.  

Goodheart-Willcox Lifespan Development, 2nd Edition 

Goodheart-Willcox is a prominent textbook and digital curriculum provider for a wide variety of courses. One textbook they offer is called  Lifespan Development, 2nd Edition, which covers Human Growth & Development. In this textbook, students learn about the different stages of development that people pass through as they age from newborn to older adulthood.

What Are the Benefits of This Curriculum? 

Content in Lifespan Development 2nd Edition is robust and offers multiple platforms for students to engage with course content including a hard copy textbook, online textbook and companion websites. This benefits educators as it gives you more ways to engage students with course content. 

In addition, through the Online Learning Suite students can play games with vocabulary words and other concepts to allow them to synthesize information in an engaging way. 

The final benefit associated with this option is the variety of critical thinking questions and other opportunities throughout the resource. Rather than just presenting students information, this curriculum pushes further by challenging students to dive deep into concepts and question their understanding to think innovatively. 

What Are the Drawbacks of This Curriculum? 

When looking at the supporting materials for this option, educators will notice that the lesson plans are not laid out in a daily sequence and instead group related information together in larger units. Educators will need to break these lesson plans down further to hold yourself accountable and ensure students are experiencing a streamlined, consumable learning experience.

Even though Lifespan Development offers digital courseware, the content itself is very text-heavy. In modern classrooms text-based learning has fallen behind as multimedia-based lessons like video and slide presentations better engage a wider variety of students and needs. If you’re looking for a highly engaging curriculum you may not enjoy relying on this text-based option.   

Who Should Consider This Curriculum? 

Lifespan Development is a solid choice for educators looking to take a more traditional approach to teaching human growth and development. While the textbook and materials may lack flexibility the content included is still credible and valuable to students learning in your classroom. 

This option is not a great fit for educators looking to better engage students through blended and interactive learning due to its lack of variety and focus on text-based instruction.  

TTU Curriculum Center for Family and Consumer Sciences Human Growth and Development Curriculum 

The Curriculum Center for Family and Consumer Sciences (CCFCS) at Texas Tech University offers a Human Growth and Development curriculum for students in grades 9-12.  

This curriculum examines human development from before birth throughout the lifespan. Each unit within the course contains multiple instructional strategies with varying approaches. All strategies include learning objectives, step-by-step instructions, and downloadable supporting materials including student handouts, rubrics and editable PowerPoints.

What Are the Benefits of This Curriculum? 

While this option may not offer the most robust materials and content, having more simplified curriculum and resources often serves educators looking for supplemental resources very well. 

Another benefit of this option is that all materials can be edited allowing you to tailor coursework to your unique classroom and students' needs. 

The final benefit of this curriculum lies in the opportunities for discussion and debate. Throughout the materials, educators are provided with thought questions and prompts to encourage students to challenge their understanding and think critically.  

What Are the Drawbacks of This Curriculum? 

The first drawback associated with this provider is that there are many occasions when students or teachers are directed to third-party sites such as YouTube or TedTalks. While this may seem like a useful feature, it’s not sustainable due to items on the internet being ever-changing and going out of date. Furthermore, some of the materials don’t use the most up-to-date research and statistics, risking your students engaging with outdated concepts and skills. 

As a more time-consuming facet of teaching, being able to streamline the grading and record-keeping aspects of your job is extremely valuable. However, with this option, there are no auto-grade options or LMS integrations offered, meaning you’ll need to loop in another platform to support your grading and reporting efforts. 

Who Should Consider This Curriculum? 

The CCFCS Human Growth and Development curriculum is a great choice for educators looking for supplemental resources to incorporate alongside a more robust curriculum. While the curriculum may not be comprehensive, educators will find value in pulling materials and activities to complement a more comprehensive curriculum. 

This resource is not a good choice if you’re looking for a comprehensive curriculum solution equipped with premade lesson plans, engaging multimedia-based lessons, LMS integrations and a variety of other features and tools.  

Which Human Growth and Development Curriculum Is Best For My Students? 

Selecting the best human growth and development curriculum for your classroom can be challenging. To ensure your students succeed, you need a comprehensive resource that covers core human growth and development concepts while preparing learners for the future.

Which curriculum you choose will ultimately depend on your unique classroom needs. Which concepts and skills do you specifically need to cover in your course? Do your standards require that you teach specific material? Which curriculum will prepare your students to be successful in their careers?

Depending on how you answer these questions, you might prefer one of these curriculum solutions over the others.

But if you’re searching for a comprehensive human growth and development curriculum to help students succeed, consider iCEV.  Sign up for a free trial and gain instant access to the iCEV platform and curriculum so you can decide if it's truly a good fit for your students.  

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