For organizational convenience, schools traditionally separate curricular areas such as mathematics, science, language arts, and social studies. This separation permits us to concentrate on particular skill areas of the curriculum. But as we utilize this knowledge in life situations, we find that we need to incorporate and integrate all of these subject areas into accomplishing our goals. These curriculum divisions that we have set up are in reality nothing but a classification of knowledge developed by our predecessors. If we are going to design our classrooms to represent children’s lives in as realistic a way as possible, we need to break down these artificial curricular barriers. The thematic nature of concept explorations makes them natural and ideal for integrating all areas of the curriculum.
A quality concept exploration includes a wide variety of activities that integrate all discipline areas. They encourage more detailed observations and inquiry through music, prose, poetry, dance, and art. They incorporate all of the children’s senses. They elicit children’s questions. They encourage each child to share ideas and interests with other children and adults. They help children develop learning and organizational patterns through the activities of collecting and classifying information. They help children take ownership of their learning by involving them in the process of inquiry. They are catalysts for children’s continuous exploration for the rest of their lives.
“Mathematics is the language of science.” Galileo Galilei
Science and Mathematics in particular become integrated in a natural process. The recognizing and understanding of trends and relationships that occur in scientific processes require organization and analysis of data. This is true with Einstein’s theory of relativity. This is also true with comparing how high a variety of balls can bounce. This is true when we collect data on how many birds come to the classroom bird feeder. We utilize the relationships of mathematics and science every day throughout our lives when we count the calories we eat, analyze our gas mileage for our car, and fertilize our garden.
Science activities utilize skills in mathematics to reason out scientific relationships. Many characteristics such as height, weight, temperature, and pressure must be measured. Thus, utilizing basic skills of mathematics throughout experiences in science is imperative in that it ensures that the science taught utilizes a process approach. In addition, the mathematics taught through science activities is presented in authentic situations, which increases the retention of mathematics skills.
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