Practical Insights into Curricula Integration for Primary Science

Article excerpt

As indicated in a previous Teaching Science article, effective planning for curricula integration requires using standards from two (or more) subject areas (e.g., Science and English, Science and Art or Science and Mathematics), which also becomes the assessment foci for teaching and learning. Curricula integration of standards into an activity necessitates pedagogical knowledge for developing students' learning in both subject areas. For science education, the skills and tools for curricula integration include the use of other key learning areas (KLAs). A balance between teacher and student-centred science education programs that draw on democratic processes (e.g., Beane, 1997) can be used to make real-world links to target students' individual needs. This article presents practical ways to commence thinking about curricula integration towards using Australian curriculum standards.

THINKING CREATIVELY ABOUT CURRICULA INTEGRATION

Curricula integration is a creative thinking process where the teacher pedagogically connects subjects. One starting point for thinking creatively about science curricula integration is to examine lesson topics associated with key scientific concepts and then, using pedagogic intuitiveness, consider how to embed tools and skills from another KLA. Example 1 outlines key scientific concepts associated with the human body and then combines information communication technology {1CT), as a subsection of technology, to stimulate students into the topic.

In Example 1, the use of ICTs are variable (e.g., Internet, iPads, digital cameras, powerpoints, electronic whiteboards, and claymation software).

Example 1: Integrating science and
ICT with focus on 'Systems of the Human Body.

Lesson     Key          Technology (ICT)
Topic      Scientific
           Concept

1. Human   The bones    Brainpop video about the human skeleton:
skeletal   of           http://www.brainpop.com/
system     the human    health/bodysystems/skeleton/
           skeleton
           work
           together
           and
           have a
           specific
           structure.

2. Bones   Many human   Video record a physical activity that
and        bones are    investigates
movement   connected    students' bone movements.
           at
           joints to
           assist
           movement.

3. Muscle  Different    Use iPads to record information during an
function   muscles      excursion
           have         to the Academy of Sport.
           different
           functions
           within the
           body.

4.         Muscles      Use digital camera to show how different
Muscles    work         pairs of
at work    in pairs to  muscles might work.
           produce
           different
           body
           movements.

5.         The          Guest speaker uses interactive whiteboard
Digestive  digestive    to
system     system       demonstrate the digestive system.
           stores
           foods
           according
           to
           their
           nutritional
           value.

6. The     The          Take sequential digital pictures to
diaphragm  diaphragm    explain concepts
           works to     about breathing; make a lung and
           control      diaphragm:
           breathing.   http://www.youtube.
                        com/watch?v=JFUu-pn7Qtg

7. The     Each system  Presentation using a variety of ICT media
human      of the       (e.g.,
body       human        PowerPoints, animation, claymation, iPad,
           body has     photos).
           its
           own
           specific
           function
           and
           purpose.

Each technology presents motivating ways to engage students in the learning of a key scientific concept. Using claymation, for instance, can help students understand scientific concepts (see http://www.slowmation.com.au/). The use of ICT resources demonstrates that the teacher's pedagogical knowledge and innovativeness can be used to construct highly engaging classroom environments. …