ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. -

Arroyo Grande High School chemistry teacher Kelsey Gorter is all about challenging her students.

Twice a year, she gives her students projects that force them to come up with solutions to real-world problems. This year, her students will have to design hand warmers.

"They're going to go into the chemistry lab, they are going to collect data with different types of compounds that produce heat when they're mixed, and they're going to have to look at a cost analysis," said Gorter. "It'll be something that's real-world."

It's the kind of teaching that goes in line with the Common Core philosophy for K-12 students, which emphasizes critical thinking and problem solving. Teachers in the Lucia Mar Unified School District have been re-trained to teach the new way, but for Gorter the new way wasn't that difficult to pick up.

"I think if you're doing your job, you're already doing it," said Gorter.

School districts across the state are learning Common Core on the fly and trying to get their curriculum in order for what's to come.

"I think the benefits are going to be profound for students," said Hillery Dixson, Coordinator of Assessment for the Lucia Mar School District. "Mostly the Common Core is aimed at getting kids college and career ready upon graduation."

The philosophy is already being implemented in the classroom, but school districts are still in the process of learning what new textbooks they'll use. Also, computers and tablet technology are a big part of the Common Core. New testing will be computer-based, and schools still need to do a trial run of those tests before using them next year.

"It's an exciting time to be a teacher, and I think these changes are going to be good for our students," said Gorter.