For instance, new science books asked children to ‘analyze’ throughout, whereas in the past the questions were much more straightforward.
The chapters were also ordered differently. A concept that wasn’t’ taught in math until the very end of the book is taught within the first few pages of the new book.
In science, space is not taught until after everything regarding earth and its atmosphere has been discussed. The current book basically starts off with space and space exploration.
Lewis said some of that is because of a national push to get children interested in science and math careers.
She said since the 1990s the numbers of students majoring in engineering and technology fields has vastly declined so educators like herself are trying to figure out how to fan the flames of interest from an early age.
“Let's start asking some questions, what do you wonder about? Do you wonder if there's any more planets in our solar system and if so why do you think we haven't found them,” she said.
According to Lewis, the push for those careers is also why the new science text focuses so heavily on the role of human impact on the environment. It’s to encourage a generation of environmental engineers, which she dubbed "a hot major" right now.
In the older book, students learned that the use of aerosol spray cans was thought to be contributing to a hole in the ozone layer, and that industrial pollution had led to smog.
In total, about eight pages of the entire book relate to human impact on the environment. “Fusion” dedicates an entire unit to human impact.
“Science isn't just something that's just out there on its own, it's about how we interact with the world and how the world impacts us and knowing that and our place as a civilization in that,” she said.
Sunshine state standards are also peppered throughout the newer books which are custom made for Florida. Lewis said the beauty of being a larger state is that textbook publishers are willing to create books customized for our educational standards and benchmarks.
[READ: From Mathematics Structure and Method, Course 1, Teacher Edition 1985 book | 2012 book | Copyright by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Used by permission of the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.