New Teachers

Integrating Science within other subjects

Hello, my name is Kara Mancini and I am a Elementary Education major but I specialize in 4-8 Mathematics. I am right now taking a science methods course for teacher candidates that are soon to be graduating. As a new teacher leaning more towards mathematics, what is some ways that I can incorporate science within my mathematics classroom? I feel like these interactive activites may make math more exciting for middle schoolers and that connection between two subjects may help them develop new skills in both. 

Kara Mancini
Kara Mancini
290 Activity Points

I'm going to share Gabe's response on this same topic. 

The sad fact is that science, like many disciplines, takes a back seat to the big subjects: Language and Math.  This is particularly acute because there is a tendency to treat all the subjects as separate entities when we really should be incorporating all subjects into all the learning activities of young students.  With emphasis on language and math it is easy to justify taking time away from other subjects to make sure students understand and, sadly, perform better in those subjects.  Other factors that apply: many elementary teachers have very little background in science and they may fear teaching it; there are limited budgets for science supplies and resources; limited PD funding means that teachers are more likely to attend language and math conferences than science, social or the other subjects; limited PD experience means that teachers will not be confident in trying exciting, hands-on activities; science is one of the subjects that some parents will consider non-essential or even disagree that should be taught.  

As for how to integrate subjects:  There are many natural phenomena that can be used as a thematic launchpad for wonderful learning experiences in all subjects.  For instance - Monarch butterflies in the millions descend on specific, isolated valleys in Mexico.  But, these butteflies have never been there.  They were born all over North America and are the grandchildren of the monarchs that last visited!  Imagine the geography, art, language, math and science that can all be taught diving into this story.

Check out NSTA's NGSS Hub (https://ngss.nsta.org/) to get other ideas and how you can do this.  

Hope this helps,

Gabe 

Pamela Dupre
Pamela Dupre
90424 Activity Points

Kara, 

I am also a preservice teacher, with an elementary education major and a math teaching minor. I think that science and math are very interconnected subjects, in that their is a lot of math in science and science in math. If you are teaching in a middle school, I would collaborate with the science teacher to focus on the same area of science so that students can build on their knowledge and then apply it within the math classroom. But I think that collecting data through science experiments or activities and then using that data within the math classroom creates that real world application that is necessary for students when learning mathematics. As I am only a preservice teacher I have not implemented these ideas into a classroom of my own yet but I know that the NSTA resources have a lot of really great activity ideas that connect these two subjects. Hope this helps!

Ashley Darling
Ashley Darling
2015 Activity Points

Thanks, Pamela! 

I just wanted to add that our language and mindset has to change about the subjects we teach.  It seems to be ingrained into us to say, "Put that away, it's time for math" or "we only have 10 minutes left in our language arts period" when we should be talking about how to seek answers using all our 'subjects' at all times.  Except perhaps for physical activity, a day in elementary school should not be dissected into subjects in my opinion. 

Regards,

Gabe

Gabe Kraljevic
Gabe Kraljevic
3368 Activity Points

I agree Gabe! I love when we are learning about forces and motion and we go outside to try different activities that involve using different surfaces to find out which one allows the ball/car or whatever to roll the fastest and the farthest. They love being outside and they are getting to move!

Pamela Dupre
Pamela Dupre
90424 Activity Points

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