Dr. Jonathon Wetherington, 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 that is aimed at developing strong content 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.


Science teachers in Gwinnett have developed the tradition of continuously improving the science program to meet the needs and potential of our students who are preparing for an increasingly sophisticated, technological world. Science content knowledge and process skills are assessed on the Georgia CRCT in grades 3-8. Teachers in GCPS then continue to monitor the learning of our students through the Gateway Assessment Program in grade 10. Finally, high school students' mastery of science is demonstrated on End of Course Tests in Biology.

Gwinnett County Public Schools is committed to maintaining standards of excellence as indicated by science achievement. In the 2013-14 school year, district assessments will be administered in Grades 3 – high school physics and will provide teachers with an opportunity to evaluate content mastery and provide additional learning opportunities when necessary. By balancing the need for a skills-based learning environment and a content-rich curriculum, science in Gwinnett will prepare students to be successful in post-secondary education, careers, and as scientifically literate citizens.

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 BiologyBiology
McDougal Littell (2008)


College Prep/Honors/Gifted ChemistryChemistry - Matter and Change
Glencoe/McGraw Hill (2013)


College Prep/Honors PhysicsPhysics Principles and Problems
Glencoe/McGraw-Hill (2013)


AP BiologyBiology - AP Edition Biology(Pearson/Benjamin Cummings)
AP ChemistryChemistry - The Central Science
(Pearson/Prentice Hall)
AP Physics BPhysics
(Pearson/Addison Wesley)
AP Physics CPhysics for Scientists and Engineers
(W.H. Freeman & Company)
AP Environmental ScienceLiving in the Environment
Anatomy & Physiology (A & P)Principles of Anatomy & Physiology
BiotechnologyBiotechnology: Science for a New Millennium, 1st Ed.
(Ellyn Daughertry)
Earth SystemsEarth Science
(Holt, Reinhart & Winston)
Environmental ScienceGlobal Science
Environmental GeologyModern Physical Geology
(Saunders College Publishing)
AstronomyAstronomy Today
(Pearson/Addison Wesley)
MicrobiologyMicrobiology: A Human Perspective
OceanographyOceanography: An Invitation to Marine Science
Forensic ScienceForensic Science: An Introduction
(Pearson/Prentice Hall)
Physical SciencePhysical Science Spectrum