A new report on elementary science was released this month. The findings were not very surprising given similar reports, such as this one that was released one year ago. The time spent on science in elementary school continues to be very low compared to ELA and mathematics.
The average number of science minutes per day falls far short of the 60 minutes per day recommended by the National Science Teaching Association. Often, teachers do not have a choice on how to allocate instructional time among content areas. Most states, districts, and schools prescribe a number of minutes of instruction for each content area and science has a lower priority than English Language Arts or mathematics, which are tested more frequently.
Perhaps the answer to getting more science time into the elementary school day is interdisciplinary teaching. Several years ago, Tina Cheuk created a Venn diagram showing the overlaps among ELA, mathematics, and science.
These overlaps could be used to create curricula that coherently integrate the three domains. For example, the practices in the intersection have great promise in lessons that facilitate students bringing together skills from ELA, mathematics, and science as they use the practice of argumentation from evidence. Integration leads to questions about coherence. How similar or different are the approaches to argumentation across the three disciplines? There is a need for coherence among the content domains if we are to use integrated approaches.
If you use any integrated curricular materials, please share in the comments!
For more on how to integrate science, mathematics, and ELA, see my next post.