The Benefits of Cross-Curricular Instruction 

Student learning styles are not cookie cutter. Each student learns and comprehends information differently. As educators, it is essential to know each student’s style and use cross-curricular teaching in the classroom to engage a broader range of students. 


Cross-Curricular Definition 


Cross-curricular teaching is the use of multiple academic disciplines during each lesson. This teaching method works on students’ soft skills, increases engagement, and helps improve student retention rates. 


The Benefits 


Finding the intersection of subjects in the classroom, known as cross-curricular teaching, is a practice schools across the country are implementing with their students. This method has proven to be effective for students of all ages. 


By mixing and blending academic subjects together, students can combine something they’re passionate about with something they may not be.


Cross-curricular learning is similar to disguised learning in that you engage and educate students without them even knowing. For example, in STEM Golf, golf is used to facilitate learning about weather and climate. This teaching method engages the golf, science and geography loving students and gives them the opportunity to engage in a subject they may not have liked before. The use of sports in education is especially unique and effective because it gets students engaged in the lesson whether they are an avid learner, a sports enthusiast or both! 


It helps with real-world problem solving and critical thinking skills. 


The world isn’t neatly divided into different subjects, so why should classroom education have to be? Cross-curricular learning gives students the ability to problem solve and connect ideas with what they are learning to real-world value. These teachings better prepare students for their education and futures, by allowing them to implement what they have learned in everyday life. 


It sets students up for success in high school and college.


Cross-curricular learning becomes more common as students’ progress through their education. By implementing this at the elementary and middle school level, educators are preparing them for success in high school and college courses. An example of this would be writing a scientific research paper. A student who is familiar with cross-curricular learning would have the knowledge and skill to make real-world connections and combine learnings from other subjects to support their thesis.  

 It allows students to think creatively and outside the box. 

Cross-curricular lessons allow students to think creatively and make connections to personal experiences, the real world, and lessons they have learned in the past. This is a skill that will benefit them in their future careers. Outside the box thinking is valuable in office settings, especially in the STEM workforce. 


What are some cross-curricular activities examples?


Looking for examples of how you can implement cross-curricular lessons in your classroom? Below are five effective, engaging activities that utilize cross-curricular teaching:


  • Combining science and history: When teaching students about weather and natural disasters, educators can emphasize the science behind natural disasters; thus, making connections to previous events that have happened around the world.

  • Combining engineering/math and history: Students can become engineers in a lesson where they learn about historical buildings and are tasked with creating one of their own. For a long-term project, students can choose a historical monument, research it, create architectural plans for their building and then construct it using a variety of materials. 

  • Combining technology and math: Starting as early as preschool, technology can be used to facilitate math lessons. This introduces students to technology while improving their math skills. This is useful whether it is basic addition and subtraction, or more complex topics such as geometry and algebra. 

  • Combining science and sports: Using sports as a way to facilitate science lessons creates a hands-on learning environment that gives real-world examples of why what they are learning matters. In the STEM Sports® STEM Basketball curriculum, students make scientific observations about the design and development of basketball shoes. By giving students a relatable example of science concepts, they have increased engagement and retention. 

  • Combining drama, literature, and history: Using novels during drama class gives students the opportunity to improve their reading comprehension and interact with historical events. With this hands-on combination, students will better understand the history they are learning and educators will quickly see gaps in comprehension.

What are some Cross-Curricular Instruction Tips 


Oftentimes, new teaching styles can be intimidating to educators who are unsure how to implement new techniques  in their classrooms effectively. STEM Sports® has created a list of tips for educators to use when integrating cross-curricular teaching into their classroom. 


  • Make sure there is a long-term plan: It is important to know what academic disciplines you will combine and that they will to easily connect throughout the quarter, semester or year. 

  • Make sure the connections between subjects make sense: In order to see the benefits of cross-curricular learning, students must be able to easily connect the multiple subjects and see examples in the world around them. 

  • Plan themes for each lesson: By creating themes, students are able to easily follow what they are learning, make the necessary connections, and know what to anticipate in the future. 

  • Evaluate the success/failure of each unit: Pre and post assessments are beneficial to educators understanding what students know and what needs to be revisited in more detail. 

Cross-Curricular Instruction with STEM Sports® 


STEM Sports® provides cross-curricular education for K-8 students in the classroom, afterschool programs, summer camps, and at-home. Our curriculum utilizes hands-on learning, real-world examples, and the jobs related to every lesson’s objective so students understand the importance of what they are learning.


Getting students excited about STEM learning can sometimes be difficult for educators. By using a child’s favorite sport and getting them physically active, they will be more excited and comfortable going into the lesson. The cross-curricular parallels between physical education, STEM and sports improves student comprehension of complex concepts, allowing them to develop soft skills, such as problem solving and collaboration. 


If you are interested in implementing cross-curricular lessons during your summer enrichment programs using EANS or ESSER funding, click here to learn more.   


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