Eye on Integration: Processes for Integrating Content Across Disciplines


This page is designed to highlight examples and methodologies for creating unique learning opportunities that address standards from multiple content areas. There are many ways to approach integrating content. This page can be used to spark ideas. It includes an exemplar unit, descriptions of projects in process and videos shared that showcase possibilities for this work.

Please come back often because this is a work in progress and updates will occur as projects are created and shared.  A link is included below if you wish to share ideas or projects related to integration of content.

Disciplinary  Learning

Academic content may be integrated in multiple ways.  
A few common methods are described below.


Multi-disciplinary: “The juxtaposition of several disciplines focused on one problem with no direct attempt to integrate (Piaget 1972, Meeth 1978).” AKA: “the potpourri problem” - sampling of disciplines scattered but not connected authentically. Example: going to the apple farm, dissecting an apple for biology, talking about Johnny Appleseed for History.

Cross-disciplinary: “Viewing one discipline from the perspective of another; for example, the physics of music and the history of math (Meeth 1978).” AKA: the [subject] of [subject] - focusing on content from one discipline through the lens of another. Example: Making a timeline to integrate History as a part of a Science Project, or an essay as a part of a project to integrate ELA.

Pluri-disciplinary: “The juxtaposition of disciplines assumed to be more or less related; e.g., math and physics, French and Latin (Piaget 1972).” AKA: the most natural kind due to overlap of content or skill (humanities together, STEM together). Example: Chemistry & Engineering Project designing scaled models of molecules. Example: writing letters for a History + ELA project.

Trans-disciplinary: “Beyond the scope of the disciplines; that is, to start with a problem and bring to bear knowledge from the disciplines (Meeth 1978).” Using all disciplines content and skills together to solve a real problem as they authentically arise.

Un-disciplinary: completely dismantling academic silos in an attempt to unlearn the constraints of disciplinary labeling that we may not even be aware of to explore deeper learning, creativity, application of all skills and content, and collaboration

(Cornell, 2022)

The Quality Model for STEM and STEAM schools contains more information and resources for  integrating disciplinary learning methods.

Elementary Examples

The Wilds 

This unit for grade three is based on a unique Ohio destination, The Wilds in Cumberland, Ohio. This wildlife sanctuary and research facility is located on reclaimed strip-mined land.
The lesson components in this unit address Ohio Learning Standards for grade 3 from English Language Arts, Mathematics, Music, Social Studies, Science and Technology. The unit can be used as is, or in modified form, for grade three students. It can also be used by educators of other grades as an example of one way to integrate content.

The Office of Learning and Instructional Strategies welcomes feedback from any educators that select and implement this curricular unit with their students.  Please send all feedback to Eye on Integration Feedback

Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks 

The ancient American Indian societies known as the Hopewell culture lived in central and southern Ohio between AD 1 and 400. Eight of their magnificent earthen enclosures are in the process of being nominated to the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks will include Newark’s Great Circle and Octagon Earthworks, five separate earthworks that are part of the Hopewell National Historical Park and the Fort Ancient Earthworks. 

The video Teaching About Ohio’s Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks provides educational resources to create a powerful interdisciplinary unit for Social Studies, Science, English Language Arts and more. 

Integrated Garden Curriculum

The Berkeley Unified School District, in Berkley, California has focused curriculum around garden education since LeConte Elementary planted their first garden in 1983. This single garden has inspired many others and evolved into a multi-school Gardening and Cooking Program with  K-3 curriculum that supports teachers and students in the academic classroom as well.  This curriculum is featured on the OER Commons platform

Middle School Examples

Total Solar Eclipse - Coming Soon

On April 8, 2024, Ohio will experience a total solar eclipse. A 124-mile-band across Ohio will experience a total solar eclipse. This is a rare and spectacular event for Ohio. The last total solar eclipse in Ohio was in 1806 and the next one will be in the year 2444. To prepare for this once in a lifetime moment, a group of Ohio teachers are working to develop an interdisciplinary unit to help educators showcase the eclipse for students. As that work progresses, drafts will be shared for feedback. 

Other lesson resources for teaching about eclipses will be provided on Eclipse Ohio 2024 as they become available.  For more general information and logistics regarding the eclipse in Ohio, please visit eclipse.ohio.gov  

Ocean Currents

Ocean Currents and the World is the first example of an Eye on Integration created in 2011. This template addresses Ohio Learning Standards for grade 7 that were related to ocean currents. The science behind the impact of thermal energy flow on the globe and how it influences the landscapes and lifestyles of all living creatures on the planet. The elements to develop a storyline was developed with the lenses of multiple disciplines. This template showcases one approach to designed an integrated unit.

High School Examples

Integrating Algebra 2 and Physics

The events of our world are not artificially divided into individual courses that switch when the bell rings. Some districts have created full courses that integrate content that helps students make meaning of the world. St. Vincent-St. Mary’s High School in Akron teachers share their work integrating Algebra 2 and Physics in their high school courses to provide simultaneous credit for their students. Watch this video from the Building Bridges 2021 Conference for how they do it.

Please Share Your Experiences in Content Integration With Us

If your district has created integrated content experiences for your students, the Department would love to hear about it.  Please take a moment and complete the Integrated Content Across Ohio form.

Last Modified: 4/2/2024 1:38:25 PM