North Side Science and Social Studies Collaboration

What started as an introduction to a book from a Literacy Book Committee has led to a collaboration between two North Side Middle School teachers. Science and social studies are two subjects that don’t always appear to go hand in hand, but through innovative teaching and well-developed curriculum, these two teachers are combining efforts to create a fun and exciting learning opportunity.

Madelyn Pedler, a social studies teacher at North Side Middle School was sold on having her students read the nonfiction book ‘Left for Dead: A Young Man’s Search for Justice for the USS Indianapolis’. Mrs. Pedler states, “it is important to make reading exciting for the students, we always want to find something that will interest them and help them learn.” This particular book not only fulfilled the interest of students, but also teaches about the past through historical events.

Mrs. Pedler’s husband, also North Side science teacher, is currently studying cell structure with his students. She saw an opportunity to use this book in both classes – her class from the historical aspect, his in learning about cell structure and decomposition.

Dave Pedler was intrigued by the idea. He knows getting students to sit still can be a challenge, so to get them excited about the project, he read 20 minutes of the book to his class. Most of his students eagerly jumped on board. Incorporating nonfiction into social studies and science was a go! That same day, three students checked out books from the school library on cell structure. Seeing the students excited about a project, and following a passion, is something that both teachers find encouraging.

There are many advantages to combining efforts and subjects, as it provides a deeper subject study for students. Mrs. Pedler has overlaid curriculum before with geography, but this is her first with science. She explains that these types of opportunities help students see how jobs and science fields relate, and could help students determine their interests or occupation later in life. There’s a powerful connection between biology, disease, and the history of life and death. The North Side teachers look forward to seeing the outcome of this project, and finding other curriculum they can work on together in the future. They’re excited to see how other departments in the school can collaborate with projects and studies.