Inside: Struggling to fit science and social studies into your school day? Learn how to make time for science and social studies by integrating your instruction.
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 some ways you can start making time for science and social studies with integrated curriculum.
How Integrating Curriculum Makes Time for Science and Social Studies
How does integrating your curriculum make more time for science and social studies? The answer is simple. Instead of needing to have a larger chunk of time with these subjects, you can also weave them into your instruction in other areas, such as 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 the temperature for weather!) When you can get a little creative with it, you’ll see how much more you can fit in to your instruction. It will even make the learning more meaningful for your students because they will see how it is all connected.
Now that we’ve discussed how integrating the curriculum can save you time, let’s look at some specific ways to integrate the curriculum and make more time for your science and social studies instruction.
Focus on Researching Science and Social Studies Topics
Your English Language Arts curriculum contains standards to 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 to integrate instruction. Researching 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. Text features include table of contents, index, appendix, graphs, maps, photographs, captions, charts, timelines, bold text, italicized text, and sidebars to name a few. Anything that is not normal printed text is considered a text feature. Each of my research units includes a review of text features. Social studies and science texts contain so many text features. As your students read both book and online texts, it’s so important for them to be able to understand how to use text features to enhance their reading experience. These texts can also help make time for science and social studies by integrating the curriculum.
Write Across the Curriculum
It’s so important to write in all content areas! After introducing research skills, it’s time for your students to take notes on premade note cards, journal about their findings, and create a final report. All of my research units include these important pieces to showcase the writing process. The United States Research Unit is 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
Science and social studies 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! 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 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. 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 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 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.
You can cover so much information in social studies and science by integrating your curriculum with English language arts and math. Try out these amazing, easy to use units and start marking time for science and social studies with integrated curriculum.
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