Social Studies Lesson Plans With Science Connections

There are great social studies lesson plans that can help students make historical connections to science.

By Daniella Garran

social studies lesson plans with science connections

Finding the time to plan effective, substantive interdisciplinary units can be a challenge; however, educators need not shy away from such opportunities. Many cross-curricular lessons require minimal planning and can even be taught without co-teaching if schedules are prohibitive.

Social studies can connect to virtually every other subject, and while the logical connection is within the humanities, science provides an excellent opportunity for collaboration.

Students will have a much clearer understanding of the pace at which modern technology has developed after creating a timeline of scientific advances and inventions. Beginning with the discovery of fire in the Stone Age, science and social studies teachers can help students chart the development of everything up to and including the iPad. You can have students research a different technological or scientific advance, write a brief summary about it, and affix it and an illustration to a timeline.

Archaeology is, perhaps, the best example of interdisciplinary collaboration between science and social studies. Not only will students learn about an artifact’s history and culture, but they will also learn about the earth through an analysis of flora and fauna, stratigraphy and seriation. Simulating an archaeological dig is both easy and fun. You can use trash cans, plastic tubs or buckets to bury artifacts that can reveal something about a culture. The artifacts should be buried in several layers of dirt or sand, the layers of which are clearly delineated.

Researching individual scientists and their accomplishments is also an important way to help students understand the history of science and scientific achievements. This content can be geared towards ancient Greek, Roman or Egyptian scientists and is, of course, especially relevant to later eras such as the Renaissance and the scientific revolution. In conjunction with such a study, students may enjoy the opportunity to make models or copy sketches made by Da Vinci, Galileo and others. What follows are more ways to connect social studies lesson plans to science.

Social Studies Lesson Plans With Science Connections:

Wrestling with Social Studies and Science

This lesson explores the Greco-Roman tradition of wrestling while offering an in-depth analysis of the musculature involved in the sport. This lesson is perfect for ancient civilization teachers who wish to collaborate with biology and/or science teachers. 

Health and the Community

This interdisciplinary lesson explores the effects of the American Industrial Era on the health of those who lived through it, as well as the impact that it had on the environment. This lesson provides an excellent starting point for students to investigate the effects of industrialization on their local communities, as well as the efforts being made to help preserve the environment. This lesson could also be expanded to include other industrial ages and advances.

Virtual Museum

For those studying the socio-economic and historical causes and effects of industrialization as well as the impact it has had on technology and the environment, this lesson allows students to create a virtual exhibit of technologies and the role they played in historic events such as the Cold War.