A school day compartmentalized into separate content areas does not reflect life in our society (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Speech Communication Association & Council for Elementary Science International, 1996 as cited in Plummer & Kuhlman, 2008, p. 96). The world in which our students live is integrated and cross-disciplinary (Jones & Thomas, 2006, p. 64). A child’s brain searches for patterns and connections in order to build meaning and “an integrated, balanced curriculum promotes this type of brain growth and development through an enriched environment” (Diamond and Hopson as cited in Cuthrell & Yates, 2007, p. 23). The National Association of State Boards of Education agrees with this statement according to their
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Participating in both the social studies and science processes of inquiry requires students to organize and evaluate their thoughts in order to write descriptive and critical responses. They can think through and develop scientific ideas by writing their reflections on scientific observations (Plummer & Kuhlman, 2008, p. 103). Students develop their science inquiry and literacy skills simultaneously when they use reading, writing, and oral language to address questions about science content as well as build their capacity to engage in scientific reasoning (Hapgood & Palinscar, 2006 as cited in Plummer & Kuhlman, 2008, p. 104). Asking students to reflect using the social studies and science processes of inquiry allows them to use their own words to think about their experiences, include the thoughts and findings of others, and form their own conclusions which leads to true understanding (Pope, 2003 as cited in Plummer & Kuhlman, 2008, p. 106). Science reading and writing is easily connected to engaging hands-on activities that provides students with the experiences necessary to connect new learning to prior knowledge and reflect on these relationships.
Mathematics and science are naturally connected (Park Rogers, Volkmann, & Abell, 2007, p. 60). Math is used in science to organize and analyze data in tables and graphs, see and make sense of patterns in data, represent