Science and Social Studies as Integrated Curriculums

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by LTFY17, Jun 27, 2012.

  1. LTFY17

    LTFY17 Rookie

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    Jun 27, 2012

    Hello,
    How do you feel about curriculum integration? Especially in regards to teaching science and social studies together in the elementary grades? Does your school do it? If so how?
     
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  3. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    I think many schools do not do it well. I have many parents tell me we do much more science in preschool than their kids do in elementary.
     
  4. geoteacher

    geoteacher Habitué

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    Jun 27, 2012

    In theory it can work well, but too often science and/or social studies are shoved to the side because of an emphasis on reading and math. It has always seemed to me that these subjects should not exclude each other; rather, science and social studies can help to extend the reading and math curriculum.
     
  5. 4Teachers

    4Teachers New Member

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    I agree standardized test specifically pertaining to reading and math seem to take over most of the given time a teacher has with his or her students. This leaves the responsibillity to the teacher to try and incorporate science and social studies in with the reading and math curriculum since there is not time allotted in the schedule to teach it. Also, for me, science and social studies are not areas I am evaluated on.
     
  6. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Integrated curriculum is the basis for our entire school. For us, it is terrific. It helps us to stretch as teachers, as well, in order to provide the most meaningful activities.
     
  7. LTFY17

    LTFY17 Rookie

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    Awesome! Do you think that by the curriculum being integrated that your students learn more than curriculum that is not integrated? Does your school have a specific way that they integrate the subjects?
     
  8. hiawatha92

    hiawatha92 New Member

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    I think it has to be skillfully done by an experienced teacher. We have been told by our district that we need to integrate subjects because of lack of time during the day to teach everything. We major on reading and writing. But our state test is now testing social studies so we need to include it in our day. I think kids can learn a topic in a deeper way if the curriculum is integrated.
     
  9. LTFY17

    LTFY17 Rookie

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    I agree, I think a new teacher would be overwhelmed and would need to be mentored by a more experienced teacher.
     
  10. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    We are trying it this year by using Stephanie Harvey's Tool Kit.
     
  11. LTFY17

    LTFY17 Rookie

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    Sounds interesting I have not heard of the Stephanie Harvey's Tool Kit. Are you excitied to try it out?
     
  12. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    How do you integrate social studies (to a meaningful extent) with hands on inquiry science labs?
     
  13. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    We have more freedom to choose how we teach because we are a specialized school. We plan our year around six basic units (sort of like theme teaching). Then we spend weeks gathering resources and planning activities that incorporate an integrated curriculum. We use our district chosen curriculum more as a resource than anything else. We also plan activities using the state standards. This is our 4th year doing this so our units only have to be tweaked a little each year.

    I guess you can call us a constructivist, project based school. Our parents have told us that our children have a much more rounded education than the schools around us that teach "to the test".

    A good example of something we do differently is that during the two weeks during state testing we do a school wide unit on art integration. Every staff person in the school works together for those two weeks to provide art integration activities and we culminate with an arts showcase for the community. Teachers are free to choose how they approach the unit. This year I chose to study famous artists. We studied Michelangelo and the history of the Sistene Chapel. Then we did an activity where they lay under their desks and painted upside down. They also painted ceiling tiles and we hung them back up to decorate our room. Some teachers chose dance, music, or drama as their focus.
     
  14. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    I find it easy to integrate science/math or science/literacy or social studies/literacy...but I don't think I would find it easy to integrate science and social studies. Especially with the curriculum in 4th grade. I don't know what it will be like in 3rd grade but I don't foresee that happening.
     
  15. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Agreed. With our focus on reading and math due to state testing, science and social studies gets pushed out. We have tried integrating, but we were not able to effectively teach hands on science, or go in depth in social studies through integration.
    My 5th graders told me at the end of the year that they are most excited about having science in middle school than anything else.
     
  16. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    such as...labs on electricity as well as learn about inventors or an electrical timeline. The labs may involve dams, windmills, batteries, etc.

    The ideas are endless.
     
  17. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    The problem for me would be that those/most social studies ideas wouldn't fit with my social studies curriculum. I have such a limited time to teach science and social studies I can barely meet all of the standards in one year.
     
  18. TEX123

    TEX123 New Member

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    Integrated Curriculum

    Integrating subjects is a great way to teach. It is a more realistic approach to what student will encounter in the real world.

    This method teaches students to think critically and apply theory and knowledge to real world applications. Also, if teachers can make the learning hands on and cooperative it really adds to the experience.

    This requires more organization and planning on the part of teachers but in the end students really enjoy and remember the material.
     
  19. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    I think SS is easy to integrate into ELA and math skills can be integrated with science as a review, but science really needs to stand alone in order to be truly inquiry-based.
     
  20. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    I think they can be incorporated very well with Reading. Well, to an extent. I have a Non-Fiction: Social Studies and Non-Fiction: Science center in Reading every week. My other three centers are FCAT Explorer, Vocabulary, and my center. Students get to review more of the content areas through the two centers. The center runs for thirty minutes. For the other thirty minutes I do centers, I conference with students about their book choices and do mini-lessons with them. I do a 15/15 split and sometimes randomly choose students (or choose specific ones who need me). Then for the other 30 minutes of Reading, I incorporate the Science and S.S. a lot in my whole group instruction. Sometimes I incorporate a short video clip with the week's reading story (or a reader's theater activity). I also write a lot of my own reading comprehension activities, so I know my students are learning some wonderful curricular information on the side.

    Then when the thirty minutes come up for Science or Social Studies, we do more hands-on activities (and sometimes, content reading as needed). I am working on the integration a lot this summer, actually, because I will be teaching two 90-minute blocks of reading this next year with up to 22 in each class.
     

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