Inside: Struggling to fit science and social studies into your school day? Learn how integrated social studies, language arts, science, and math can help give you more time in your classroom.
It never fails. The curriculum that is tested with common core or state standardized tests often gets priority in planning and curriculum guides. However, science and social studies are subjects that are just as essential for understanding the world we live in.
By integrating your curriculum, you can fit in science and social studies lessons in your other core areas of reading, writing, and math. Here are 8 ideas to help you make more time for these subject areas with integrated social studies, language arts, science, and math.
How Integrated Social Studies Language Arts, Science & Math Makes More Time In Your Classroom.
The answer is simple. Instead of needing to have a larger chunk of time with social studies and science, you can also weave them into your instruction in other areas, such as math and language arts.
Students can read informational text to learn about science and social studies topics. They can work on their presentation skills while learning about these topics, too. You can even integrate math into some topics such as temperature for the weather!
When you can get a little creative with it, you’ll see how much more you can fit into your instruction. It will even make learning more meaningful for your students because they will see how it is all connected.
Now that we’ve discussed how integrated social studies and language arts or integrated science and math curriculum can save you time, let’s look at some specific ways for integrating science and social studies lesson plans.
Focus on Researching Science and Social Studies Topics
English Language Arts curriculum contains standards that focus on research. By choosing social studies and science topics to research, you can help your students learn more about the world they live in and the world they came from. This is a great way for integrated social studies, science, and language arts instruction.
Research starts with developing a topic and research question. Today, it’s also imperative that we teach our students how to research online. Limiting them to library books, magazines, and newspapers is no longer an option with the wealth of up-to-date information online. Each research unit should start with a mini-lesson on using the internet for research and finding credible sources.
For science, start with the Solar System Research Unit. Teach your students how to search for keywords, find appropriate and credible sources online, and take notes from their research.
In Social Studies, you’ll love the President Research Unit to discover where our country came from and develop those research skills within the social studies curriculum. Try it out in February for Presidents’ Day lessons!
You can check out all of my research topics in my Science and Social Studies Unit Mega Bundle. You’ll save 30% when you purchase all of the units together in the bundle. Your students will learn stellar research skills while learning about a variety of topics with this bundle!
Discover Text Features in Science and Social Studies Text
One of the most important skills in nonfiction reading is being able to identify, comprehend, and interpret text features. Anything that is not a normal printed text is considered a text feature. Text features include a table of contents, index, appendix, graphs, maps, photographs, captions, charts, timelines, bold text, italicized text, and sidebars to name a few.
Social studies and science texts contain so many text features. As your students read both books and online texts, it’s so important for them to be able to understand how to use text features to enhance their reading experience. Each of my research units includes a review of text features or check out my Book & Internet Research Freebie.
Write Across the Curriculum
It’s so important to write in all content areas! Easily integrate language arts practice into any other subject with writing practice. If you aren’t sure how to do this, let me share a couple of ideas:
- Constructed responses- Constructed responses can be anything from fill-in-the-blank or shorts answer questions. Just leave a designated space for students to practice writing their answers.
- Use sentence stems- Give students the beginning of a sentence and have them finish it. This is good constructed response practice for younger kids especially.
- Justify answers- After students have answered a question have them write an explanation of their answer. This helps students think through things and understand their own throught process.
- Keep a journal- You can do this in any subject- social studies, science or even math! Designate a space for students to reflect on their own learning.
- Take notes- Use premade note cards or guided notes to assist younger students in learning how to take notes. This works especially well for things like research skills!
- Write a report, essay, letter, story- There are so many different possibilities for writing! Be creative and you can find a way for integrated language arts into other subject areas.
All of my research units include these important pieces to showcase the writing process. The United States Research Unit is the perfect way to work on writing skills through state reports. For Science, try the Animal and Habitat Explorer Research Unit complete with journal and report resources.
Work on Speaking and Presentation Skills
Integrating science and social studies lesson plans and research units lead to some pretty amazing presentation opportunities. From Science Fairs to social studies presentations (think “State Fairs”), researching in these areas gives your students an opportunity to speak in front of their classmates and even their families!
Be sure to guide your students in what to include in their presentation. Help them write themselves notes or even a script (another great writing practice!) so that they know exactly what they are going to say, it will help ease some of their nerves.
Give them lots of time to practice their presentation out loud so that they feel confident when they stand in front of the class or their parents. I like to have my students practice with a partner or small group of friends.
I love how many different ways there are to present information! Posters, brochures, displays, wax museums, video, slide presentations- let your students get creative and try out different ways of presenting the information.
All of the science and social studies research units include presentation invitations to invite parents to see what your students create. There are also different projects to integrate art, writing, and speaking into your social studies and science curriculum.
Add in a Video Component to your Integrated Social Studies Language Arts, & Science Instruction
Adding a video component to a science or social studies unit is very fun and engaging for your students.
A perfect example of this can be found in my Weather Reporters Unit. After making observations and recording in a weather journal for several weeks, the students will dress up as weather reporters and make their own weather predictions on camera. Beforehand, the students will practice their writing skills by writing a script for their video.
Once the script is complete, it’s time to bring the video to life with the Veed’s video editor. With Veed, you can easily add animation, music, and special effects to your student’s videos. This will make their presentations even more engaging and enjoyable for their peers. Moreover, Veed also allows you to easily cut and convert videos for any desired purpose. With its intuitive tools, you can quickly make changes to videos so that they are ready for your classroom.
An integrated activity like this is a great way to integrate science, writing, and presentation skills into one activity. (Grab my weather unit here to have all of the planning taken care of for you!)
Have Students Create a Newspaper
Have students create a newspaper front page about their science or social studies topic.
For example, in my water cycle unit, students will create a newspaper front page about how the water cycle is impacting their community. They will write headlines, write a comic about the topic, illustrate pictures, and write captions for them.
Adding this into your integrated curriculum helps you make time for the science and social studies curriculum while still teaching students writing and the text structure of newspapers, too!
Study Vocabulary and Math
Content and specialized vocabulary skills are so vital in science and social studies units. These are important standards in English Language Arts and focusing on these skills in science and social studies units can help integrate curriculum. Try out both my weather and water cycle units that include colorful vocabulary posters and activities.
These units also give your students a chance to practice math skills with integrated lessons like temperature average calculations for the weather. You can save 20% when you purchase the weather and water cycle units together in the bundle!
End with an arts-integrated final project
Studying dinosaurs? Have students create salt dough fossils! The solar system? Paper mache planets. Penguins? Have students create a life-size model! What about social studies topics- such as author study? You can have the students create a book about a person they are studying filled with artwork. There are so many ways to integrate the arts into a final project for your integrated science or social studies unit. It’s a great way to have a hands-on activity at the end of a unit.
We’re want to help you with integrating science social studies lesson plans! Our science and social studies units are already integrated for you! You can check them out below:
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This hit home for me, as I find it SO easy to put math and english into my curriculum, and even a little social studies. However, I always fall short for science and end up back at the caterpillar life cycle. I love the idea of each student having their own book/file, and independent research in a structured group format!
Thanks so much, Kiersten! This is something I did with my students and it was so helpful!
Awesome!! Love this
Thanks for reading, Kim!
I really like that you’ve given some amazing ideas about integrating science and social studies into the other subject areas….especially the speaking and listening skills! Thanks for this! :}
Thanks, Rachel! Glad you enjoy the ideas 🙂
Our school has really been focusing on identifying and using text features too! All great info—thanks!
You’re welcome! Thanks for reading, Nikki!
This is similar to what we do in the IB PYP program. We have to integrate as much of the ELA into the SS and/or science. Great tips!
Thank you! Glad you are doing this- it is a great way to teach!
not necessarily geared to my little folks, but I’m sure I can find an appropriate way to have them and me make use of it
I’m hoping to make younger versions at some point! 🙂 Things are definitely different for the little ones.
Thanks for sharing such great information!
You’re welcome! Thanks for reading, Kaitlyn!
Truth! Always looking to incorporate science and social studies and what better ways! Love the presidents unit especially with the holiday right around the corner!
Hi Courtney! You are right- the president unit is PERFECT for using around President’s Day! 🙂
We have time to teach science and social studies topics, but we are finding that there just isn’t enough time to delve deeply. These ideas will help us to extend into Language Arts to help our students understand the topics.
So glad you found the tips helpful! It really is a challenge to fit it all in, but teaching this way can make it a bit easier. 🙂
I love the presentation invitations! What a sweet idea!
Thank you! I always feel like it is important to involve the families 🙂
I struggle to fit social studies into my day!
It’s a struggle! I know we can all relate!
Being a social studies teacher it’s nice to read about ways to integrate with another subject
Being a social studies teacher, it’s nice to see how I can integrate with other subject
So glad you found it helpful, Cathye! Thanks for reading!
I like the graphic organizers shown in the post. I agree teaching skills across content areas is a much more effective method of instruction. Great post!
Thanks so much! Glad you like the graphic organizers and that you found the information useful! 🙂
This is great. With new H-SS and NGSS standards, I needed some of these ideas because it’s so cross-curricular now.
So glad you found it helpful! Thanks, Kristen!
Love these tips!
Thank you and thanks for reading! 🙂
Our school integrates social studies and science and this post just reaffirms how easy it is to do! Thank you for sharing all these ideas!
No problem! Glad your school does a good job at integrating!
Two difficult subjects made easy!
Thank you! Glad it was helpful!
I am looking forward to trying one of your research unit on landforms it puts more writing in my day as well!
I hope you and your students love it! 🙂 Thank you!
I think I might use some of your meteorology unit with my calendar time. Thanks!
That is a great idea! Thanks, Vicki!
Some really great ideas. I especially like using text features in science and SS! I’m going to try it when we return from break!
Thanks, Laura! I hope it helps! 🙂
This is perfect for me! We always struggle in my grad level to fit all of the science/social studies in.
It is a struggle sometimes! Glad you found it helpful, Ashley!
I agree with you. It is really important to make sure we include social studies and science in our classrooms.
It really is! Thanks for reading, Jessica!
Our science curriculum this year is not as engaging or informational as I’d like it to be, so I find myself using strategies like these in the quarters we teach it! I really enjoy integrating curriculum whenever possible, so that students can connect different topics and relate what they’re learning to life outside of school – it’s all about educating the whole child! 🙂
Yes, this exactly! Thanks, Jes! 🙂
Thank you for sharing. I know it has been very important for me to intergrate my social studies and science into my language arts.
Glad you found the post helpful! Thank you!
I love the idea of writing across the curriculum using science and social studies themes! This is fun to incorporate into every subject! Thanks for the resource!
You’re welcome, Kendi! Integrating the curriculum can be so helpful in many ways. Thanks for reading!
This was incredibly helpful to me as the science teacher at our school quit halfway through the year, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to incorporate more science into my day (especially because my 4th graders have a science test this year). Thank you for all your awesome ideas and specific topics!
So glad you found it helpful! Thank you! 🙂
Why have I not seen this until now?!? Hello summer planning project!
A great summer project idea! Thanks, Whitney!
Great ideas. Thanks.
You’re welcome, Crystal!
Wish all school worked harder to integrate the subjects instead of focusing on the tested subjects.
AMEN to that, Gina!
These are great ideas! I’ve always wanted to do cross curricula but have struggled with ideas. These are so helpful!
Glad these ideas help! 🙂
This is going to be great with my debate kiddos!!!
I hope they love it, Christine!
This is perfect! I struggled to fit science and social studies into my classroom. Since I won’t get more time this will work wonders.
Yes! It really helps fit more into the same amount of time.
I agree we need to make sure to include science and social studies. I lack on teaching social studies since my admin doesn’t make much time for it. I love the idea of the students creating a newspaper.
The newspaper activity is a lot of fun! Thanks for reading, Vandana!
Thank you! I’ve been looking for ways to do this which do not seem forced or awkward. This is incredibly helpful.
Thanks so much, Emma! I hope it helps you figure out how to integrate the subjects. It can be done in a natural way. 🙂
This is awesome!
Thank you, Lisa! Glad you like the tips!
Luckily in my district we are able to integrate our Social Studies and Science with our PBL Units and some have them have even aligned with our Language Arts curriculum, Benchmark but I do love the video component you suggested in your blog! That could take our PBL Units to whole new level!
The videos are a lot of fun! Sounds like your district is doing a great job. 🙂
I can’t wait to use this ideas in my classroom.
Student newspaper = awesome!!! I’m doing it 100%! Thank you so much!! 🙂
You’re welcome! Glad you like the idea!
I’m going to be a math/science teacher for first grade & so many of these ideas work right into our curriculum focus. LOVE this! Thank you!
No problem, Hannah! Thanks for reading!
I always have such a hard time working social studies into my day. Thank you for the ideas…I can’t wait to use them!
Glad they helped! Thank you, Laura!
These are great ideas. It is always so hard to get time for social studies and science, so I look forward to integrating them into my other subject areas. Thank you!
Integrating makes it so much easier. Glad it can help you. Thanks for reading!
Excited to use this with my older groups!!! Great things I can use.
So glad you found it helpful! Thanks so much, Kacey!
Great ideas to integrate social studies with science
Thank you for reading! 🙂
Thank you for sharing such great ideas!
Glad you love them!
I love these! We incorporate our social studies and science into our reading program. I wish we had more time to do things like this!
Sounds like you are finding a way to integrate, so that’s great! 🙂
What great ways to integrate social studies and science! Thank you!
Thank you so much!
Having to teach Writing, Social Studies, and Science is difficult. This has been a helpful read because now I have more ideas for integration! Speaking skills, presenting skills, reading/writing skills, and research skills can all be used while learning about a Science or SS topic. Thank you!
No problem! It really IS a lot to fit in, isn’t it?! Thanks for the comment.
Thank you, Bethany!
So true! I’m always looking for ways to incorporate ss and science with language arts especially writing!!
Thanks, Tamera! Glad you enjoyed the tips!
I think the more difficult the subject is for most students lessons should be visually inspired yet motivates students to try.
Yes, so true! Thanks for reading.
Great idea for something when I’m subbing long term!
I hope it helps! Thanks, Sharon!
Not my strong suit social studies and science. A bunch of great ways to integrate these content areas
Thank you, Brittany!
I cannot wait to use this material!!
Thank you so much, Krista!
Love this! I like the pages that help the kids with research on the internet. They tend to get lost in the results search with all the information that pops up.
They are super helpful for the kiddos!
These two subjects are my greatest struggles on getting to them in the day. I try my best to get them in and when I know time is tight I like to sneak it in whenever I can! Glad to see other ideas and ways for science and social studies to be integrated into the curriculum.
I hope the ideas help! Thanks for reading!
I love how much writing you’ve incorporated into this curriculum, my students really need this!
These are absolutely fantastic! In my education courses, my instructor is constantly saying to integrate across subjects to cover more in the short amount of time given. I particularly love the solar system lesson you have. Thanks for all the great suggestions!
Thanks so much, Nicole! The solar system units is one of the most popular. I love it, too! Thanks for reading.
Integration is huge especially with a packed day! Anything can integrated with reading1
So true! And it makes reading that much more fun for the kids, too.
I wish I would have found your resources at the beginning of the year!
Better late than never! Early start for next year, right? 🙂
This is exactly what I need for the students I’m going to be teaching!
I hope it helps them! Thanks for reading!
Great resources to have. Thank you
Thanks so much, Keilyn!
Love the vocab cards!
I love your units, they’re hands on and easy to integrate! The kids are going to love it!
Thanks, Kate! I hope that they love the units.
Your materials could easily be incorporated into art lessons, perhaps for early finishers…
Those are all fantastic ideas! Thanks for sharing, Kris!
Yes! I don’t know how it is possible to fit everything in without doubling up! I have been doing some science in my reading groups and they love it! We are lucky enough to have differentiated readers with our curriculum which helps!
That definitely helps! Doubling up is a great way to fit more into the day.
Finding time to teach science and social studies can be so hard if your grade level is not departmentalized. Hopefully that with some of these resources it might be easier!!
Thank you so much, Chelsea! I hope the resources help you!
Can’t wait to try this out with my students.
Thank you, Sandra!
I love this. I am always trying to integrate science and social studies into my weekly lessons. I love how you said it’s important to write in all subject areas. I couldn’t agree more! I really like the Weather Reporters Unit. Where I live, the weather changes quite a bit throughout the day sometimes so it would be fun to chart the weather and do a whole unit on weather.
The weather does the same here! Filling out the weather journal is so much fun. I hope your kids love it! Thanks for reading.