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Life Sciences

Hello fellow practitioners,

I have been thinking about how you are instructing science in the field.  I know that time is short with our learners and we want to make sure we prepare them for their high school equivalency exams, future jobs, and further education.  There is at least one science course required for each of the degrees we offer at our local community college, as my adult learners transition into these courses I have been struggling with how to best prepare them.  I did find this resource: and it focuses on Life Sciences.  My question is do you only focus on one science topic, do you sample from all science topics, do you integrate other subjects such as reading, math, and writing...?  What suggestions do you have for a novice teacher who is just starting to teach science or for experienced teachers who are looking at doing more with science?  Do you run experiments?  I need advice and I am sure others do too.  I hope to hear a lot of different ideas (no idea is a bad idea).




Nicole Coady's picture

As a GED instructor in a correctional facility, there are several topics I touch on for those preparing for the science subject.  The four key concepts I teach are genetics (terminology and Punnett Squares), balancing chemical equations (understanding to use multiplication of the coefficient and be aware of subscripts), scientific method (knowing the different variables - IV, DV, CV; control group vs. experimental group; the variables in the hypothesis; determining if a science experiment is set up to yield results - not multiple IVs), and utilizing formulas (for example, converting temperatures, energy formulas, etc).  I also have poster sets that have students learn about living things (plant vs. animal cells, plants & photosynthesis, properties of living things), atoms & compounds (properties of atoms, elements/periodic table, compounds and molecules), scientific method (the different variables, data, drawing conclusions) ... and some others, like energy types and matter - but the first three seem most valuable.

Vicki Sexton's picture

I have created a hand-out for my students explaining the areas they need to understand to be successful in taking the GED Science Exam. I go over the areas several times to make certain they understand the concepts. I introduce all chapters to students with videos as time permits but explain that they can be successful with the test before we complete the Science book if they will read carefully and think critically about the answer choices and review the following items as listed below.

I show my students the following videos:   Scientific Method made easy with the explanations of Independent and Dependent Variables and Experimental Group and Control Group.          Balancing Chemical Equations; 

I want my students to know these four types of chemical reactions: Synthesis Reaction A + B becomes AB (two or more reactants combine to form a single product); Decomposition Reaction AB separates into A + B (a single reactant forms two or more products); Single displacement reaction AB + C becomes AC + B (where one element takes the place of another element in a compound);  Double displacement reaction AB + CD becomes AD + CB (where two reactants form two new products).

We review a few formulas: Force = m x a ( mass x acceleration) Distance = st (speed x time); to calculate for time: d/s=t; to calculate for speed: d/t = s

I make certain they know HO - water and NaCl - table salt

And I teach my students Mean, Median, Mode, and Range.  in order to be successful using charts and graphs information.

We discuss genetics and practice creating the Punnett Square. I believe that natural selection and speciation is important for students to learn. I let them know that 40% of the test is in Life Science, 40% in Physical Science and 20% in Earth and Space with approximately 34 questions on the test. Then we do the math to see how many questions that will be per area for the 90 minutes they are given to take the test.

I hope this helps your students find greater success with the GED Science test with this information.