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New science and social studies standards being implemented for students

LaGRANGE- Changes are looking to be made in science and social studies classes for students in Troup County starting in the 2017-2018 school year.

The Troup County School System is presently under GPS (Georgia Performance Standards), which provides clear expectations for instruction, assessment and student work. The GPS standards emphasize that students should be able to use their skills to problem-solve, reason, communicate and make connection with other information.

Under the current GPS (Georgia Performance Standards) curriculum in science classes for students in grades kindergarten through second grade, the focus was to:

  • Understand
  • Be Familiar with
  • Differentiate between
  • Analyze
  • Investigate
  • Demonstrate relations

Starting next school year, Troup County Schools will implement the GSE (Georgia Standard of Excellence) standards.

The focus for the new GSE (Georgia Standard of Excellence) standards will shift to teaching students how to obtain, evaluate and communicate information to:

  • Design and construct a device
  • Model
  • Plan and carry out investigations
  • Ask questions
  • Interpret data to make predictions
  • Construct explanations

These new science methods for K-2 students are not expected to be taught every day in class but will be instructed periodically throughout the year, Troup County Board of Education members learned this week.

For third grade students in science classes, they will be required to investigate, describe what they’re working on, construct an argument with fellow students explaining their thoughts on the topic at hand and develop a model that consists of a statement about the topic at hand.

For eighth graders under the new science standards, they will be expected to go more in-depth when explaining what they’re learning in class. Students will have to recognize, demonstrate, investigate, explain, construct an argument, and plan and carry out an investigation.

Students who will be taking physical science and dealing with certain areas like force, motion and mass will have to delve into more scientific experiments such as calculating velocity and acceleration, applying Newton’s three laws (inertia relationship between force, mass and acceleration, equal and opposite forces), relating falling objects to gravitational force, explaining the difference in mass and weight and calculating the amounts of work and mechanical advantage using simple machines.

“It will be a different structure for students,” said Yolanda Stephens, spokeswoman for Troup County Schools. “There will be more hands-on learning and students will have to explain what their learning in class. It will be more vigorous and will require deep-thinking but we believe they will be more engaged and that’s what we want.”

The social studies curriculum will also vastly change heading into the 2017-2018 school year.

Under the current curriculum in social studies, teachers concentrated on the traditional instruction format:

  • Teacher-centered
  • Students are passive listeners
  • One right answer
  • Concerned with preparation for the next grade level and tests
  • Learns how to use technology

Next school year social studies classes will be more inquiry-based and will include more participation and deeper thinking from students:

  • Student centered
  • Students are actively involved
  • Many answers
  • Concerned with preparation of life skills
  • Uses technology to connect learning

K-2 students in social studies will be integrated into ELA (English Language Arts Standards) which will involve reading in whole/small groups and/or writing. The changes for students in grades 3-5 will include them learning about different historic time periods: third-graders will be taught about American Indians through the Construction era, fourth-graders will learn about Colonization through Reconstruction, and fifth-graders will tackle the Reconstruction period through the year 2001.

Middle school students will be expected to explain and describe more comprehensively when it comes to issues like the relationship between the United States and Cuba. High schoolers will aim to do more investigating and research on topics like historic events throughout British, European and United States history.

 

Shirttail- Reach James Simpson II at 706-884-7311, ext. 2155, or by email at james.simpson@lagrangenews.com