This has been a big year for GRACE science curriculum for both students and teachers! The 2022-23 school year marked the introduction of the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) science program for K-5 and the iScience program for grades 6-8. GRACE teachers participated in numerous trainings to prepare for the new programs, especially the cutting edge PLTW program.
What’s new about these programs?
PLTW is a STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) program that promotes critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork and resiliency – all skills that students will need to be successful in life and future careers. In the past, science classes were teacher-led but in PLTW, students take charge of their own learning, participate in engaging experiments, and experience the science process in real time. In middle school, students started to use the iScience program purchased for the 2022-23 school year. The iScience program uses “Project-Based Learning activities and hands-on investigations that focus on real-world situations.” Sixth grade students will focus on Physical Science, seventh grade will focus on Life Science, and eighth grade will focus on Earth and Space Science. This type of format supports the type of teaching our GRACE middle school teachers have found to be the most successful in setting students up academically for high school and beyond.
What can be expected at home with these new programs?
With PLTW in K-5, science material that comes home will look a lot different! Traditional worksheets are not used in PLTW but rather focus is on critical thinking skills using lab reports. Homework will also not involve simple yes/no or true/false questions. PLTW promotes high-level thinking skills and therefore will include questions that are more open-ended and ask students to provide evidence to support their answers. For example, in a first grade classroom at Holy Family Catholic School, students worked to design their own “ears” after learning about the different ears animals had and how they helped the animal survive. For each part, the students added to their own ear model and were required to provide a reason why that element was added.
iScience includes both a physical textbook copy as well as an online learning portal that students can access at all times. More assignments, classwork, and assigned readings may be done online through this portal compared to past years for science class. The order of science themes (Physical, Life, Earth & Space) remains consistent though and has not changed with the new program. The implementation of both these programs into GRACE classrooms was a huge leap in terms of bringing science education and instructional practices into the 21st century. GRACE is excited to see the impact these new programs have on students and their academic achievement in the years to come.
Holy Family Catholic School is part of the Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) School System. It is a private Catholic school serving Preschool and Elementary through 8th grade (PK3-8) with open enrollment. Holy Family provides an individualized education in a faith-based environment. Each child is supported not only academically, but spiritually.
The best way to learn more about HFS is to visit! Schedule a tour here.