Making INTEGRATION Work For You!
The main ingredient for developing an integrated project or work program is 'a generous dollop of real world context'. Regardless of a learner's age, it is imperative for them to understand the application of specific subject skills in the "real world". This is why I develop integrated project-based learning activities. When shopping, for example, you never consciously think now I'm reading or now I'm doing maths. There's a reason for that, because in real life situations you don't categorise subject content. To demonstrate integration strategies, I have selected a space theme for the following example.
- 1. Select a theme / topic that can be related to all curricula areas, or the majority of these subjects. (In this instance I'm looking at higher primary/elementary or middle school classes.) Astronomy is the theme for this project.
2. Find a focus article story that will engage your students. I've selected one about Eta Carinae, the heaviest known star out there among the trillions in our galaxy. The web site is http://bit.ly/yEOGzZ
3. LITERACY - Reading article / locating and finding meanings for new words / syonyms / develop comprehension activities / writing a summary of the article / researching other stars and writing a report - include timeline, mass, circumference of star, distance form Earth drawn to scale, develop a model that compares the size of Eta Carinae with our Sun and label / discuss the implications of gamma radiation on our existence on Earth / review vocabulary related to measurement of time e.g. millenium / creating a comparison chart for characteristics of different stars / read accounts of the space race when the USA and the USSR were vying to be the first to reach the moon / develop a PowerPoint Presentation that explains this type of star and its activity . This is not an exhaustive list of activities but more of a starter.
4. MATHS - You have already started to develop some activities through the literacy report etc, now to get into the nitty gritty. Comparing temperatures - temperature on the Sun's surface with Eta Carinae / investigating the Kelvin system alongside Celsius and Fahrenheit (this web page gives a tabular overview http://bit.ly/99sHG3) / reading daily temperatures and recording them for presentation in a graphical format / select another country and compare temperatures for same season / the life span of a star compared to that of humans http://bit.ly/QWbFY or http://bit.ly/60NjwD / drawing to scale - this will require a good grounding in fractions / comparing temperatures and mass as ratios / costing telescopes / finding the annual budget for different space agencies and companies / locating telescope sites around the world - estimating then calculating the distance from them to a learner's town or city / Uusing Google Maps to display centre and town / concept of a light year by comparing Earth's circumference, distance to moon and other planets and time it takes to travel this distance.
> Budget for space programs compared to education. NASA budget http://bit.ly/fXnnOq US Dept Edu.http://1.usa.gov/wpYEvs
> Risk to Earth from events happening in space and the implications for us as citizens.
> Current news and events.
> Working within the field of astronomy.
> Exploration has been a significant component of civilizations.
> Related topics - destruction of Ozone, Green House effects etc.
> Using equipment to safely and successfully achieve an outcome.
> Writing a set of instructions.
> Following a set of instructions / procedure.
> Finding locations using co-ordinates.
> Developing a timetable.
> Setting goals, both long and short term.
> Listing strategies to achieve goals.
> Mind mapping to develop a project or hypothesis.
Watch the video below to see how other teachers implement integreated project-based learning activities.