TIP #3 - General: Subject Integration
The Illusive “Golden Snitch” in Elementary Classrooms
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) promote a philosophy of inquiry-based student-directed learning. While this approach is shown to be more effective at reaching all students (1,2,3) there is little debate that this teaching method takes more “classroom hours” than teacher-based direct instruction. So, in an elementary day, with teaching time already constrained by students leaving for RTI, out-of-classroom specials, and a national focus on ELA and math, how do you find more time to teach science?
One commonly employed strategy is integration. Science concepts form a natural motivation for students to practice and develop many skills that are central to ELA, math, social studies, and art standards. Why not use your science content as topics in those lesson blocks?
Example 1: Integration with ELA
The completion of mini research projects, based on scientific topics, students are both learning key scientific content (e.g., 3-LS4-2; 5-ESS1-1) and practicing a variety of ELA writing (e.g., W3.2,7,8; W5.2,7) and reading (e.g., RI3.5; RI5.2,3,5) skills.
Example 2: Integration with Math
The collection, organization, and analysis of weather data (temperature, sunlight, rainfall, etc.) to be used for a science investigation supports both a variety of NGSS learning objectives (e.g., K-ESS2-1; K-PS3-1; 3-ESS2-1; 5-ESS1-2) and gives students motivation to practice necessary math skills (K.CC.7; K.MD.3,4; 5.MD.2; 5.G1,2).
The CreositySpace approach
In order to address this challenge, nearly 50 percent of CreositySpace lessons are suitable for instruction during ELA, social studies, math, or art classes. While these lessons can certainly be delivered during science instructional time, they are intentionally designed to reinforce key ELA, math, social students and art learning objectives, in addition to teaching the intended science concepts. To help visualize lesson integration an organization spiral accompanies every unit, as well as examples of spirals teachers have used in their own classroom. An example series from the grade 3 unit Mushroom Maestros is provided below
Want to learn more about our integration spiral? Check out one of our upcoming workshops here.