How cross-curricular learning can help your child

Mar 2012
Music and maths can be linked as the number of beats in a bar or note can potentially help to develop numeracy skills.

Subjects that traditionally stand alone in a school timetable can actually be linked in a number of ways to the idea of aiding your child's learning and development.

If we think about a maths lesson on capacity, children may have to make estimates and predictions about how much liquid will fit into a particular jug. These are skills that will also be invaluable for science, for example.

In their study on the impact of cross-curricular learning, The National Teacher Research Panel found that the project: "provided evidence that cross-curricular work using thinking skills benefits students of all attainment levels, and in different ways. The approach has encouraged students to see how thinking skills, like sorting and classifying, can enable them to approach a topic from a different angle. It also seems to help them see the transferability of such skills across their learning in a range of subjects."

Schools are already building their curriculum delivery around one key theme. For example, if the theme of the term is 'Ice Worlds' then learning in subjects would look something like the list below:

Literacy: Writing stories about Antarctica, sending letters to Santa Claus, writing lists about what children would take to a polar expedition.

Numeracy: Activities such as counting the number of polar bears on an iceberg or world problems that encompass cold climate themes.

Science: Investigating icy habitats and the creatures that live within them, as well as experiments in melting ice or creating ice structures.

Art/DT: Children may use recycled materials to create a setting to go with their Ice World story or even paint a snowy scene.

Parents can achieve the same aim by grouping together commonly linked subjects. Science and numeracy can potentially cross over on many levels and children who are working on a growth topic could plant a seed and then make various measurements to connect it to their development in mathematics.

History and Geography also have close links. For example, children who are investigating a history topic on The Great Fire of London can also investigate the roads, buildings and population that made up the city.

Music and maths can also be linked as the number of beats in a bar or note can potentially help to develop numeracy skills.