How cross-curricular can special subjects be with other subjects?

Discussion in 'Special Subjects' started by LimaUniformNovemberAlpha, Feb 19, 2021.

  1. LimaUniformNovemberAlpha

    LimaUniformNovemberAlpha Rookie

    Feb 16, 2021
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    Feb 19, 2021

    Music is, effectively, a sequence of sound frequencies. An especially pleasing sequence to hear (okay... depending on the music) but a sequence of them nonetheless. This already sounds like it has enormous potential for cross-curricular overlap with math and/or science. Measurement of the "second difference" between different frequencies, perhaps? Comparison of how "loud" different frequencies at the same number of decibels feel?

    Likewise, physical education is all about motion. Motion among students, and in the context of sports, motion among the volleyballs, basketballs, etc... that they are tossing around. This too sounds like it has enormous potential for cross-curricular overlap with math and/or science. Graphing of one's own motion as one does laps around the gym, perhaps? Physics problems analyzing future and/or past sports plays?

    Theatre and art, of course, can be used to represent a wide variety of topics. I had a history teacher who had individual students volunteer to represent the role of whole countries in an introductory skit for the World War 1 unit. Can similar cross-curricular projects be done to represent the roles of different chemicals in photosynthesis? To represent the orbits of different planets? I've taught at schools that had poster projects for math units, which feels a little unfair to students who aren't as good at drawing. What arrangement could be made for cross-curricular content that's a little more fair to those who chose art of their own accord?

    What ideas have the rest of you come up with for cross-curricular content? I find the only stuff I managed to come up with over my teaching career was stuff that was either between core courses and other core courses, or, if involving a special subject (media tech) then literally only cross-curricular in the sense of "do a video project, involving material from any of your other courses, on [insert theme here]." There wasn't anything tying it to a specific other subject.
  3. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

    Oct 25, 2016
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    Feb 19, 2021

    I do a TON of cross-curricular lessons. There's a chrome.experiment with a keyboard and a sound wave simulator that I use to teach the physics of sound and the concepts of amplitude and frequency. Basic algebra and logic skills are included, e.g. If raising the pitch by one octave doubles the frequency and A4 is 440hz, what frequencies are A3 and A5?

    I reinforce their literature lessons by spending a day or two on story ballads and having them identify the literature elements (characters, conflict, plot, resolution), which sometimes leads to some good questions. Is the clock in "My Grandfather's Clock" a character? Great example of personification.
    Perhaps the most love/hate project is when I have my classes create a soundtrack for a book. I have a big list of 50+ books popular with their age group and I ask the 6th grade lit teacher what they read as a class the year before so they can't claim they never read *any* of the books on the list. They can choose whatever songs they want so long as there's a good justification/explanation for the choice. It's practice with identifying themes and higher-level thinking.
    If I had older students, I'd be linking beat patterns and poetry feet. We could analyze the patterns of emphasis in hip-hop or rap.

    They get a history lesson if I have time to include decoding the national anthem. The language is so dense that most of them don't understand the story until we go through and look up words and re-write in modern language. Most of them have never heard of the Battle of Baltimore and schools are pretty bad about covering the War of 1812, so as 8th graders it's brand new.
    They also get a lesson on historical events in songs and songs as response to events. Everything from "Yankee Doodle" to "Abraham, Martin, and John" to "Where is the Love?" goes into that lesson.

    All of that is a big fat anthropology lesson on how our culture uses music to express moods and tell stories.
  4. Guitart

    Guitart Comrade

    Nov 16, 2014
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    Feb 19, 2021

    My art lessons frequently have social studies included (cultural), language arts, and sometimes math for the older kids. Årt is all about problem solving which is a huge life skill.

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