"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known."
-Dr. Carl Sagan
Students in Gurnee District #56 participate in a science curriculum that covers, life, physical and earth sciences. The instructional program focuses upon hands-on learning through the study of content in combination with follow up labs. The curriculum ranges from the study of animal habitats and concludes with the dissection of animals to study external and molecular structures. Students study how organisms and objects work and impact their world. This content area is impacted by daily events as the science world is continually moving and making discoveries. The teachers at Gurnee District #56 work to balance current events and discoveries with the existing curriculum objectives. Understanding the scientific process, scientific discoveries and the long-term effects of these discoveries provides a context for students to be successful in the global society in which they are living. All Science curriculum maps have been designed with the Next Generation Science Standards in mind.
Textbooks & Materials
Instructional materials for science were selected based on the individual units of instruction which were designed to align with the Next Generation Science Standards. Units will be realigned with each subsequent revision to the standards, if needed. Kits include hands-on, district created e-books and leveled readers selected to support the units of instruction.
All content based teachers, including science, are working collaboratively with their grade level and content area peers to identify strengths and weaknesses of individual students and sub groups of students. These teachers are then working to identify areas in the curriculum, units of instruction or particular instructional strategies that need to be modified in order to increase student success. Content area specialists, such as science teachers, work in an area that research has shown has a greater impact on students achieving high levels of success in literacy, and that is non-fiction. Non-fiction reading and writing pushes students to think at higher levels such as analysis and synthesis. Future plans include having the content area specialists participate in training on the writing programs being adopted in the district. Use of Socratic Seminars is encouraged in the upper grades.