As educators, we know the importance of providing students with a well-rounded education that prepares them for success in the real world. We also want them excited and engaged along the way. One sure way to achieve this is through cross-curricular integration. Cross-curricular integration is the practice of connecting a topic which is traditionally taught as a stand-alone subject - such as ELA, math, science, social studies, engineering, or computer science - to a different subject area.
The benefits of a cross-curricular approach to teaching are numerous, and could be the answer to your teaching needs: including supporting students’ overall achievement, classroom organization, lesson planning, and educator confidence.
Cross-curricular integration saves time for educators by allowing for more in-depth discussions while supporting lesson planning. When a lesson or activity integrates two or more subjects, educators can teach and practice more quickly than in two back-to-back single subject lessons. Students also benefit from these time-saving, multifaceted learning opportunities by being exposed to the interconnectedness of different subjects which provide a new perspective on learning [Research].
Even before the pandemic, educators lacked enough time to teach certain subjects. Most students spent most of their time on literacy and mathematics, exploring science only a few times a week and engineering a few times a year (Banilower, 2018).
Cross-curricular integration not only motivates students; it also helps them learn integrated, core subjects better (Cervetti, 2012; NSTA Board of Directors, 2018; Lott, 2019), and perform better in subjects like science and engineering, than those who don’t. Often this is because many fields draw on the same or similar underlying skills, like sequencing and pattern recognition.
A randomized controlled trial with more than 14,000 students found that those learning through cross-curricular integration had better outcomes in science and engineering than those learning without any integration (Lachapelle et al., 2019).
Cross-curricular integration is a powerful approach that motivates students, strengthens their understanding, and allows more learning in limited class time. In the era of pandemic learning loss, it is an especially important tool for effective teaching instruction.
That’s why EiE uses this style of integration to motivate and excite students, as in our Engineering is Elementary® unit Designing Model Membranes and Computer Science Essentials™ unit Creating Animations.
To learn more about how EiE utilizes the power of cross-curricular integration, and to find specific examples from our products, please visit us online.