A Personal Example
Eleventh Grade. American History and American Literature. In American History, we were studying the time period right before the Civil War. At the same time, my American Literature teacher had us read Huckleberry Finn. Neither teacher told us what they were doing. They did not combine any of their assignments. They never even mentioned each others' classes. But that did not matter! The work in one class fed off of the work in another. Suddenly, it became obvious how intertwined history and literature are. Think what could have happened if they had combined lessons!
Integration Throughout the Curriculum
Cross connections are so important to the student's learning experience, and these connections can be found throughout the curriculum. Some courses, like American History and American Literature, seem like a perfect fit. However, many of the courses which seem to have no connection can also be integrated combining curriculum that is traditionally taught. Following are some great ideas and examples from teachers who have found that integration truly works.
- Government and Statistics: Polling Methods
- World History and Geometry: Greeks
- Literature and Geometry: Flatland
- Chemistry and Algebra: Balancing Equations
- Mathematics and Art/Architecture: Design of Cathedrals
- Economics and Calculus: Law of Diminishing Utility
- World History and Astronomy: Astrolabe
- English and Government: Logical Fallacies and Politics
- Psychology and Geography: Urban Planning
- Art and History: Numerous examples, especially biblical history
- Literature and History/Government: Invisible Man
- Biology and Statistics: Genetics
- Math and Geography: 2010 Census
Hopefully, this has gotten you thinking about ways that you might integrate. There is a great method to integrating numerous courses. However, many school districts can not or will not pay for the extra planning time required. Simply put, you get together with your fellow teacher(s) and discuss all of the major topics that you teach. Then you find the connections between your classes and try to correlate the times that you will be covering this material so they coincide. One important word of caution: make your integration authentic. Students can tell when you are trying to stretch the curriculum, and it will not have the desired impact.