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Integration in the Classroom

Current research and thinking on effective teaching practices prescribe integration of content areas. Knowledge cannot be departmentalized. Educators should stretch across grade levels and disciplines to examine teaching from multiple points of view.

Incorporating these fundamental ideas can advance the pursuit of scientific literacy in the classroom. Carin and Sand (1985) note, "You are currently engaged in teaching reading in your science program whether or not you realize it. When you help your students develop scientific processes you are also helping them develop reading processes." When students are investigating science content, following scientific procedures, and thinking as scientists, they are developing skills necessary for effective reading and understanding (Padilla, Muth, and Lund, 1991).

A creative lesson planner can have students working on science, as well as developing and practicing the skills useful in other subjects. Science experiences can help learners develop their reading and thinking skills. Learners can become motivated through science activities to work on vocabulary development, word discrimination, and comprehension. Older students can develop their abilities to identify and control variables, make meaningful conclusions, and communicate ideas clearly.

In summary, reading for understanding of content is the core process skill of science, and there is no substitute for practice at an early age. Hands-on investigative activities should be sprinkled into a science program like a spice; they cannot substitute for a main dish. The best hands-on program is one in which learners comprehend text in order to apply and evaluate science concepts.


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