Course Content
Chapter 3: Writing Mechanics Help
Chapter 12: Teaching Writing
Chapter 23: Teaching Reading
College English Composition: Help and Review
About Lesson

What Are Integrated Lessons?

In general, integration is defined as the process of combining two or more things into one. Within education, integrated lessons take on a similar meaning in that they combine two or more concepts into one lesson. This is a good general idea of what integrated lessons can be, but more specifically these lessons need to cross over subject areas while addressing a specific learning objective.

In elementary grades, many schools are already restructuring their curriculum to make all classes integrated. This is done by creating themes as academic units, which is like having a broad topic or umbrella that all the following lessons fall under. These integrated units involve many different concepts across all major subject areas. For example, a fifth grade class might have the theme of inventions. The lessons under this theme might include a science lesson on creating an invention, a history lesson on the background of an inventor, a language arts lesson on writing a story about an invention, and a math lesson on formulas used to create a specific invention.

We see this starting in elementary classes simply because these grades often don’t switch throughout the day, but rather have the same teacher for each subject area. But what about in middle school and high school classes where students have a number of teachers? There are still many ways you can make the lessons specific to your subject area integrated. Let’s first look at the characteristics of integrated lessons and then some examples you can use to help plan.


The major characteristic of integrated lessons is obviously that it must cross into another subject area. What this means is that you always remain focused on your specific subject area but also use aspects of another subject within your lesson. For instance, keep the novel you are reading in your language arts class as the main objective but bring in the historical background for it. There are many ways to bring other subjects into any classroom.

Secondly, be sure your integrated lesson addresses your learning objectives or standard but includes information from other core subjects. If your learning standard in a science class is to focus on how rocks are formed, then stick to this objective. The integrated aspects should reinforce this learning objective and not distract from it. If you integrate activities that are not related to your focus, you will confuse your students and hinder learning instead of strengthening it.

Lastly, all integrated lessons should be creative and show the importance of the learning concept. You must have a reason for your integration to relate to the overall objective. Of course, if you are a science teacher, you are in no way responsible for the standards of a history class. With that being said, you can still incorporate historical ideas as long as you have a goal in mind that shows the importance of the lesson. You should also share this goal with the students. If they understand why they are learning history in a science class, they will be much more willing to do the activity. Basically, don’t integrate for the sake of integrating; instead, integrate to provide your students with a more well-rounded understanding of your learning objective.


Now let’s look at some examples of integrated lessons. First, for a language arts class, you can use the background for novels or short stories to make an integrated lesson. For example, if you are a language arts teacher, one part of your curriculum could be to analyze how an author’s life affects his work. Say you are reading Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. To integrate history, do a lesson on England in the 16th and 17th centuries. Your students can research different aspects of the era and then create a skit or presentation of some kind to show to the rest of the class. You can also provide background information on Shakespeare and have students create a project, like building a model of the Globe Theater, where Shakespeare’s plays were performed. This type of integration will keep the learning goal on an author’s background but also brings a historical aspect to the lesson.

Another example of an integrated lesson can be seen in a science class. Let’s say you are covering biology standards focused on the classification of animals. Your science objective will most likely aim to have the students be able to explain the kingdoms all the way down to the species of various animals. You can make this into an integrated lesson by bringing in math concepts. Have your students create graphs to visually see the differences between some species. Students can research how fast all the big cats can run and graph their speeds on an X-Y plane. You can even bring in language arts by having your students write a short story with the topic of competition between species. These activities are creative but keep the learning objective focused on the classification of animals.

If you are a math teacher, you may have the hardest time thinking of ideas to integrate. So, as a final example, let’s look at how you can incorporate history into math. If your objective is for students to learn the Pythagorean theorem, you can have students research how and why it was discovered. The history of that time period can be covered along with how that theorem impacted society at that time. Furthermore, you can have your students look into major world events, like WWII, to determine how mathematicians were able to crack secret codes using different formulas. Whatever you choose to integrate, just be sure your lessons have clear learning objectives relative to your subject area.

Lesson Summary

To review, integration should be an important part of every classroom. Integrated lessons are ones that bring in aspects or information from two or more subject areas relating to a learning objective. The goal of all integrated lessons should be to strengthen student learning.

There are three important characteristics of integrated lessons. First, they must cross over into a different subject area. A language arts lesson can incorporate history topics, or a math one can incorporate science topics. Second, integrated lessons must always focus on your specific learning objective. Do not bring in integrated ideas or concepts that don’t relate to your objective. This will only confuse your students and won’t strengthen learning. Finally, choose creative activities with a purpose in mind. When students understand what they will be learning and how it will benefit them, they are much more willing to participate.

Using integrated lessons in your own classroom will allow your students to become well-rounded learners.

Join the conversation