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The effects of an integrated curriculum on a fifth grade class

1 July 1993


Integrated curriculum is an approach to teaching which abandons the thought that subjects must be taught separately. There are numerous methods and approaches to curriculum integration. The webbed model uses a particular theme to integrate each of the disciplines. Curriculum integration advocates believe this approach teaches children how to learn and allows them to see a purpose to their reading and writing. The intent of this research project is to investigate what a fifth grade classroom looks like when curriculum is integrated. In particular, the purpose was to examine how integration affects students' peer interaction, attitudes toward learning and finished products. The constructivist theory points out that learning should not simply be the process of gathering facts but should be an experience of integrating new knowledge into the cognitive systems. U sing a qualitative research approach, information was collected from published books and articles, observations, surveys, interviews, and class work. Findings indicate that throughout the five month period of integrated study, students became more involved in their learning and more likely to hold private discussions related to their new knowledge. As subject matter was related to prior knowledge and everyday life, children's interest in what they were learning increased and the quality of their class work rose proportionately .


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