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Using Constructivism to Integrate Math and Science

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Discuss: How could constructivism be used in an integrated approach to teaching science and math?

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Solution Summary

This answer defines constructivism and lists the four principles of Social Constructivist classrooms. This solution illustrates how science and math could be integrated in a classroom by giving an example of a lesson for fifth grade students. This lesson incorporates both science and math skills that are appropriate for that age group (based on national standards) and it follows the four principles of a Constructivist classroom.

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Constructivism is an approach to teaching and learning based on the premise that students learn by fitting new information together with what they already know. Russian theorist, Lev Vygotsky was a social constructivist. He believed learning is a social, collaborative activity based on input from others. He developed the term "zone of proximal development", which means that teachers should challenge students with activities that are just slightly above their current level of development. As students successfully meet these challenges, they gain confidence which motivates them to continue learning.

Social constructivist classrooms share the following four principles:
1. Learning is a social, collaborative activity.
2. The Zone of Proximal Development serves as a guide for lesson planning.
3. ...

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