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The student news site of Downers Grove South High School


The student news site of Downers Grove South High School


DGS unearths new science class

Olivia Velazquez
Student studies for an upcoming exam with material from class.

In August 2023, a team of around 10 science teachers at DGS took the opportunity to start teaching a new science class, Earth and Space Science (ESS), that is being taught from scratch.

This class is offered as a regular or honors course and is taken year-round. ESS is offered to freshmen, sophomores and juniors. The basic goal of ESS is studying what students have missed out on in other classes.

Dimitri Tripkios, a science teacher and STRIVE Tutor at DGS, explains the main concern science teachers face: students aren’t learning enough about the world around them.

“So the idea behind earth and space is that when we study concepts that are fundamental to the space and universe around us, we call it the cosmos. And then we start moving our way down to the ground beneath us,” Tripkos said.

The types of students that are recommended for this class are students who have strong critical thinking and creative minds, since the lessons that are taught cant be realistically demonstrated. Some students may have an advantage from the classes they have taken before, such as biology and chemistry.

“A lot of what we do is abstract thinking, and kids who are going to struggle don’t have that skill set yet. But the best part of this course is that we train you and get you up to that level. For example, we spent two weeks working on abstract thinking to prepare them for the big bang theory. And there are some certain things we do to support the freshman in the room all the way to the juniors. That’s the big challenge in the course,” Tripkos said.

Kelsey Gibney, a Science teacher at DGS, informs how students that have taken or are taking a science class are already supposed to be learning about earth and space.

“One third of the science standards that we are required to teach are earth and space science standards,” Gibney said.

Some students want to take the class because it’s different and new, but others have a genuine interest in the subject. Erisa Hasani, a junior at DGS, took full advantage of taking the class.

“I heard it was an option and I’ve been wanting to major in it for college, so I thought it would be for my resume,” Hasani said.

Ninth grader at DGS, Maggie DeAbla, expressed how she thought that ESS would be more interesting of a class to take, rather than biology.

“I wanted to join because I heard there was an option this year and I preferred earth and space over biology. I just wanted to take something new, “ DeAbla said.

This course required teachers to make the curriculum and teach lessons all from scratch. This is a trial run for teachers, so they can improve for next year.

Tripkos talks about how this group of teachers has impacted his decision on teaching the class and the similarities they have in teaching.

“I look at the team that we put together a team of teachers. And when I look at them we all have a similar philosophy, a similar approach to education. So the opportunity to work with the people I’m working with right now was a big driving force behind why I agreed to teach it. I highly respect the teachers that we’re with and it’s an opportunity to work with both your friends and the people
you respect,” Tripkos said.

ESS teaches new learning habits and advances the way people view the world, from the core of the earth to the edge of our universe.

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