Integrating Science, ELA, and Mathematics

In my post No Time for Science?, I presented a way to increase the amount of science time in elementary school. We can use the overlaps in the practices among ELA, mathematics, and science to create integrated lessons. In this post, I present a thought experiment using one standard, 5.PS2-1, about gravity.

5.PS2-1 Support an argument that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is down.

Letʻʻs start by identifying the standards in ELA that focus on argumentation. One ELA standard is about supporting a point of view with reasons and information in writing.

Miguel Á. Padriñán

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.5.1 – Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.

There are four more standards related to this one about the skills students should be using as they write to support their point of view with reasons and information that can inform the lesson. Other standards in Grade 5 ask students to identify which reasons and evidence support which points. So we see that Grade 5 ELA skills can be practiced in the context of written arguments about the effect of Earthʻs gravity on objects.

What about mathematics? Mathematical Practice 3 is about constructing arguments and critiquing the reasoning of others and is clearly connected to this NGSS Performance Expectation. However, none of the CCSS for Grade 5 mathematics specifically call out this practice. It is up to the teacher to decide how to incorporate arguments and reasoning in mathematics instruction. We could decide to connect this to a standard about data.


CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.5.MD.B.2 – Represent and interpret data.

This combination of standards makes sense because students could look at distance data for a falling object to argue about the effect of gravity.

Now that I have a standard from each domain. I proceed to creating an objective for an integrated lesson. I found this lesson idea from The Exploratorium. I modify it to make it more appropriate for Grade 5 by focusing on the data table only and ignoring the calculations. The activity describes how to collect data about a falling object with video. I can drop an object alongside a meter stick and record it on video. I can go through the video frame by frame to collect distance and time data. Or, I can use the sample data provided on the website.


Lesson Objective: Students will be able to write an argument about the effect of gravity on a falling object that uses real-world data as a source of evidence.

Notice that my lesson objective includes content from all three subjects.

ELA: Students will create a written argument.

Science: Students will argue about the downward effects of gravity.

Math: Students will interpret data.

What do you think of this as a Grade 5 activity? What examples do you have of integrated lesson objectives? Share in the comments.

For more about the development of this lesson, see my next post.

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