Implementing the Common Core State Standards is a difficult task. But taking the curriculum and seeing where the overlaps exist so that teachers can integrate across the curriculum can significantly increase student achievement and understanding and decrease teacher frustration. It also allows for the depth that the CCSS demands and helps make connections between the content areas for the students.
I met with the biology teacher that I will be sharing students with and during our collaboration time today we came up with some ideas for our first ten weeks of school to help integrate Biology and Algebra 1. I will be adding these lessons to my website Algebra1Teachers. Here is what we have come up with so far.
- The integration of the scientific method in biology to the independent and dependent variables in algebra will give common meaning and definitions. This will be a great place to begin our integration as these skills will be necessary all year in both courses. I found this lesson to help the kids, and the teachers use a common language.
- We are creating a geocaching activity that will integrate solving equations to get the coordinates that will lead them to the biology answers to the ecology questions. Geocaching will be a great activity for the students, and I am already looking forward to this lesson.
- Classification is also a skill that our students do in both classes, but they often do not see how these two skills are the same. Biology classes will begin with a classification lesson, and algebra will follow with the classification of polynomials and equations.
- We are also very aware of the graphing needs in both areas. The Biology teacher was quick to think of an experiment that will work great in Michigan. Let's take a look at the trees, and have the students take pictures each day of different trees while the leaves change. If they start to change colors at different times and we graph the rate of color change will we get parallel lines? I love this idea! We are also talking about integrating other leaf projects along with this project.