Using Integrated Curriculum to Prepare Students for the Real World


While the concept of integrated curriculum has been in practice and studied in educational circles for over 100 years, it has recently become a buzzword for teachers and administrators. Learn why adopting an integrated curriculum can be an effective approach for K-12 teachers and how to implement integrated lessons in your classroom.

Why Integrated Curriculum?

Adopting an integrated curriculum approach allows students to learn and retain information at a faster pace by helping them make connections between subjects and providing real-life applications of curriculum. This can make it a valuable tool for teachers facing challenges including:

  • Between implementing Core Curriculum and preparing students for high-stakes standardized testing, teachers have more to teach in less time.
  • The push to raise math and reading scores in many districts has slashed classroom time for social science, humanities and science instruction.
  • Today's typical classroom includes English language learner students as well as students with differing learning styles and abilities who require different methods of instruction to ensure comprehension and retention of subject material.
  • Teachers are being asked to not only teach their prescribed curriculum, but also to help prepare students for the modern, global job market where employers are looking for candidates with top-notch written and verbal communication, problem-solving, project management, and leadership skills.

In this video from an Education course on, teachers can learn about the benefits of integrated curriculum, both from a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach. We have also created an example of how to create an interdisciplinary unit using an integrated approach:

Example of Using Integrated Curriculum in an Interdisciplinary Unit

Unit on Ancient Greece

  • Have students research the life of a famous Ancient Greek mathematician (Reading/Research), write a short biography of the mathematician (Composition), and then create a cover for their book using crayons or collage materials (Art).
  • Discuss how the mathematical theories of Pythagoras influenced the building of Ancient Greek temples (Math), show pictures/videos of how the temples looked when they were built and how they appear today (History), and then have students build small structures out of blocks, clay, or other materials using the Golden Ratio (Art).
  • In groups, use theories created by Ancient Greek Pythagoreans to solve geometry problems (Math).
  • Study the observations of Pythagoras on how music can be translated to mathematical equations (Math) and listen to examples (Music).
By Meghan Cooney
September 2016
teachers engaging students

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