Connecticut HS creates custom science text

When ninth-graders enter their classrooms at Greenwich High School in a few weeks, they’ll be learning from a new textbook created specifically for the district’s unique method for teaching science.

Greenwich High School offers its ninth-graders an “Integrated Science” course that combines chemistry, biology and physics rather than teaching each subject separately. This distinctive approach left Greenwich’s District Science Coordinator Sheila Civale searching for a textbook that corresponded with the course.

“Because of the inquiry-based, rigorous nature of our Integrated Science course, there wasn’t a textbook that existed that truly could serve as a resource for our students. Yet, we knew that such a book would help our ninth-graders improve their critical thinking skills and their understanding of the material on the state test and in their future educational endeavors,” says Civale.

Civale, a devoted team of Greenwich teachers, and University of Connecticut professor Dr. David M. Moss, worked with education company Pearson to develop an original, customized book and corresponding digital text for the science course. The book weaves together higher education statistics and chemistry material along with high school science content.

“This is not your traditional textbook,” says Civale. “We literally put this book together page-by-page to reflect our state standards, ensuring our students have all of the right material to meet state-level expectations. And, at the same time, we focus on the concepts that our students will enjoy learning about—making each page of this text relevant to their lives.”

Civale added that the district surveyed students about their interests and used the results to develop the course and text, which centers around four real-world themes: survival, sports and human performance, space, and sustainability.

“We want students to react favorably to the text, using it as a reference to help them master the concepts and identify with real-life scenarios in science that engage them and take them beyond just the book,” says Civale.

This school year, “Integrated Science” will enter classrooms as a paperback and digital text. Next summer, Greenwich will work with Pearson to modify the content, if needed, based on teacher and student feedback.