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Jessica King Holden Director

(678) 301-7036

Description of Program

The science program in Gwinnett County consists of a comprehensive, K-12 curriculum that is enhanced at every grade level with inquiry-based exploration. Through the integration of science and engineering practices with content, students develop a strong understanding in the earth, life, and physical sciences; as well as problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.

The foundation for science literacy is introduced through a hands-on approach throughout the elementary grades. The K-5 curriculum is focused on developing a preliminary understanding of the earth, life, and physical sciences while cultivating the natural curiosity of young students through exploration of the world around them.

In the middle grades, students take part in a three-year sequence of sixth grade earth science, seventh grade life science, and eighth grade physical science. Middle grades science in GCPS focuses on inquiry-based content instruction in conjunction with the characteristics of science necessary for the development of future scientists. To that end, students will refine their ability to make observations, develop hypotheses, conduct investigations, collect and analyze data, draw conclusions, formulate questions, and recognize evidence of bias in preparation for their high school science experiences.

In high school, students will complete a four-year sequence of biology, chemistry, physics, plus either elective courses and/or AP courses. In all courses, a minimum of 25% of instructional time is devoted to laboratory-based experiences. This strong science program offers Advanced Placement biology, chemistry, and physics in most high schools. Other science electives include Anatomy and Physiology, Astronomy, Environmental Science, Forensic Science, Microbiology, Oceanography, and Earth Systems. Each school may select electives to offer based on student interest.

Current core instructional materials for the K-12 science program were reviewed in June 2008, piloted in Fall 2008, and approved by the Board of Education in Spring 2009. The adoption was gradually implemented between 2009 and 2013.

Core Materials

The current core instructional materials are listed below. New science materials, recently reviewed and approved by the Board of Education will be implemented according to the GCPS schedule.

Elementary School Science 

Grades K-5: (Houghton Mifflin) Houghton Mifflin Science


Middle School Science

Grade 6: (Holt) Earth Science
Grade 7: (Holt) Life Science
Grade 8: (Holt) Physical Science

High School Science


College Prep/Honors/Gifted Biology

McDougal Littel (2008)


College Prep/Honors/Gifted Chemistry

Chemistry - Matter and Change
Glencoe/McGraw-Hill (2013)


College Prep/Honors Physics

Physics Principles and Problems
Glencoe/McGraw-Hill (2013)


AP Biology Biology - AP Edition Biology (Pearson/Benjamin Cummings)
AP Chemistry Chemistry - The Central Science (Pearson/Prentice Hall)
AP Physics B Physics
(Pearson/Addison Wesley)
AP Physics C Physics for Scientists and Engineers
(W.H. Freeman & Company)
AP Environmental Science Living in the Environment
Anatomy & Physiology (A & P) Principles of Anatomy & Physiology
Biotechnology Biotechnology: Science for a New Millennium, 1st Ed.
(Ellyn Daughertry)
Earth Systems Earth Science
(Holt, Reinhart & Winston)
Environmental Science Global Science
Environmental Geology Modern Physical Geology
(Saunders College Publishing)
Astronomy Astronomy Today
(Pearson/Addison Wesley)
Microbiology Microbiology: A Human Perspective
Oceanography Oceanography: An Invitation to Marine Science
Forensic Science Forensic Science: An Introduction
(Pearson/Prentice Hall)
Physical Science Physical Science Spectrum


Jessica King Holden,Director

Jessica King Holden, Director

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