New Florida civics curriculum available for fourth graders

(The Center Square) – A new civics curriculum is available for Florida fourth graders, and all Florida residents will have access to it online for free.

The Florida Department of Education has approved a curriculum created by the state House. Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, said the curriculum can only improve on Florida’s third-place ranking in K-12 achievement.

Within the state’s “backdrop of quality and excellence,” the legislature presented a [new] civics and government curriculum,” Sprowls said, which was approved by the Department of Education. The department certified the curriculum to meet state Civics and Government Standards.

Sprowls spearheaded the initiative after he learned there was a lack of Florida-specific civics curricula available in grade schools. He targeted the curriculum for the fourth grade because he said it’s the grade in which students are already learning about Florida’s history. The curriculum expands on what they are being taught, he added.

“The Florida House of Representatives has a reputation for blazing trails by being one of the most innovative legislative bodies in the nation, and this new civics curriculum is proof of their dedication to improving the education that Florida’s 2.9 million students receive,” Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said. The Florida House was “the first legislative body in the nation to craft and develop a set of civics curriculum for students and teachers to utilize,” he said.

The House consulted with public school teachers and the House Clerk’s Office developed the materials for the curriculum. There’s no obligation for schools to use it, although it’s available for free online for everyone’s use. Anyone of any age can learn more about Florida civics by downloading the information. The curriculum includes sample lesson plans, benchmarks and quizzes in the form of games.

The House is also developing a website to allow teachers, administrators, parents and home school instructors to download materials to use the curriculum.

The topics include Bingo Lingo, Voting is Easy, We the People of the State of Florida, Florida Trivia, Paths to Public Service, and Mock Bill Challenge.

In Paths to Public Service, students “choose an adventure” to travel the path of a Florida teacher, learn how to serve as elected officials, or about the roles and rewards of being a public servant.

In the Mock Bill Challenge, students learn how a bill becomes law. They learn how to create their own bill, present it to a committee, and how to question, debate and vote on it.

In Florida Trivia, students learn key facts, terms, figures and places in state government. Using PowerPoint flashcards, they participate in an interactive Jeopardy-style trivia game.

In Bingo Lingo, students can learn terms, figures and places in state and federal government. Similar to the Florida Trivia game, they learn using Bingo cards instead of the Jeopardy style flashcards.

In Voting is Easy, they learn how the voting process works and use a realistic-looking ballot.

In We the People of the State of Florida, they learn about the Florida constitution, including key terms and sections.