What We Teach
Explore contextual lesson design elements by reviewing these contextual lesson templates. Use the templates to practice the development of lessons that allow students to Relate, Experience, Apply, Cooperate and Transfer as they learn.
Contextual Lesson Design Templates
Sample REACT Lesson
Applying the REACT Strategy
Developing Contextual Units
Grading a Lesson - How Contextual Is It?
Building on REACT to Developed Integrated Curriculum
Presenting course content in an integrated manner promotes both depth and transfer of knowledge. Capitalizing on the natural relationships between subjects and disciplines provides for the reinforcement of knowledge and skills. Instructors should be actively searching for opportunities to increase instructional interconnections to provide deeper and more meaningful instructional experiences. Integrated lessons provide more breadth of context, demonstrating to students a wider perspective of content relationships.
The purpose of creating integrated curriculum is not to force academic content into technical courses or vice versa. Instead, instructors should look for opportunities to capitalize on concepts that are naturally embedded in course content. For example, a unit in which students draft plans for and build a structure, investigate its environmental impact, document the building process, and develop a budget would involve the use of skills and concepts drawn from courses in English, mathematics, construction trades, drafting and/or design, and biology.
An integrated approach recognizes that:
- Students don’t want to learn in a vacuum.
- Students are motivated by “how is this course relevant to my future career?”
- Understanding real-world connections to course content increases student engagement.
The benefits of integrated instruction include:
- Integration of technical and academic content
- Student engagement at a higher level that fosters critical thinking, collaboration, and other skills valued by employers
- Authentic assessment opportunities
Integrated Curriculum Building Blocks
When creating integrated curriculum for adult learners there are three types of fundamental skills/competencies that should be addressed:
- Academic Skills - reading, writing, speaking, mathematics, etc.
- Technical Skills - industry-specific occupational skills
- Employability Skills - skills needed for getting and keeping a job
Developing a scenario (an authentic workplace situation) is an important part of integrated curriculum design. Real-world scenarios provide students with relevant context for the academic, technical, and employability skills presented in a lesson. Scenarios:
- Contain fact-based stories—may be from the news or invented (but must be plausible)
- Provide the real-world context in which the lesson/project takes place
- Prepare students to examine a complex situation
- Illustrate the need for using an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to problem-solving
Sample Scenarios for Integrated Projects
Integrated Lesson Design Templates
Explore integrated lesson design elements by reviewing these integrated lesson templates. Use the templates to practice the development of lessons that allow students to benefit from the integration of academic, technical and employability skills that are presented through authentic real-world applications.
Developing an integrated project synopsis is a good way to brainstorm and organize preliminary integrated lesson ideas.
Integrated Project Synopsis
Once complete, a project synopsis is a helpful resource in the completion of the integrated project template below.
Integrated Project Template
Sample Completed Integrated Project Template
STEM Transitions - Example Resources
The STEM Transitions initiative, led by CORD, developed 61 integrated curriculum projects for use in math, science, and technical courses to engage students in STEM-related careers via problem-solving scenarios.