As teachers, we have tons of content to teach our students throughout the year, and teaching each standard separately would be time consuming to say the least.
This is why I like to combine subjects in my lessons.
For example, we may do STEM activities that are related to books we are reading. We might cover reading passages in science, or integrate science and social studies in our literacy block.
It doubles down on what students are learning and helps them apply what they are learning more effectively, which is great for both students and teachers!
Here are some center ideas for integrating science and social studies in your literacy block.
Are speaking and listening a part of your ELA standards?
The answer to that question is YES!
So why not give your students opportunities to listen to related topics and record themselves summarizing or sharing important information they learned in a technology center?
Here’s how to do it:
Set up a technology center with iPads, Chromebooks, or whatever devices you have with internet access. Display a QR code for younger students to get to their choice of website easier or save the website in the bookmarks.
My favorite website for social studies is CrashCourse Kids because it has highly engaging videos on current events.
My favorite website for science is Wonderopolis because your students can literally type anything into the search bar and discover it.
Hello, science inquiry!
This is an effective literacy center because it keeps your students engaged. They make sense of what they’re learning by asking and answering questions.
This also gives them exposure to a ton of academic language.
Some ideas to add to this center are:
- Science vocabulary word lists
- What I learned story starters
Writing About Social Studies or Scientific Topics
This center is where students write in their journals the whole entire time. I like to keep clipboards, paper, pencils and erasers, and writing menus at this center.
I use this editable writing menu and change the writing topics based on our focus standards for science and social studies.
Using the editable choice board gives students ideas or suggestions about what to write. It allows them to pick, and when they have a choice, they will become motivated to write. When they are motivated, they will stay engaged.
This center is simple to set up. Be sure that you model good and bad examples of writing.
Finally, when students create writing, share it with the class (with their permission) and praise them for their efforts.
Science Books/Passages About Related Topics
One thing I love to do is display books related to the topic. These books include poetry, non-fiction, and fiction.
I like to display these on the ledge of the whiteboard or on a little display case. I change books with every new topic or holiday.
By doing this, you’re giving your students opportunities to choose. This empowers them as young readers.
Again, this motivates them because it gives them a choice. This is such a simple way to engage students in reading!
Not only that but now they’re able to apply their learning to actual reading.
You can also use science reading passages. Here’s how to use them in small groups!
Again I like to set up choice boards for my vocabulary center. I add some things like word art, vocabulary games, and word chains.
For word art, I like using the website Wordclouds for this. Students can create word clouds for free.
Before our district took away student printing capabilities, I would let students print their word clouds and paste them into their word journals.
Another word art game is giving your students a blackline of the topic you’re studying.
Let them create their own word art by having them draw one science-related thing (like a heart). Then, they record new words inside the drawing.
For example, if you were learning about bones and muscles, you could write the names of bones and types of muscles within a heart.
As you can see, I love thinking of creative ways to help my students learn.
I hope you find these tips useful for integrating science and social studies into your literacy block!
As always, if you have other creative ideas, I’d love to hear about those! Please share in the comments!