What are cross curricular assignments and are they needed?

More and more, projects and assignments are appearing in classrooms that cross between different subjects. These are cross-curricular assignments. But what are the purpose of these cross curricular assignments?

According to eduplace.com, “cross-curricular teaching involves a conscious effort to apply knowledge, principles, and/or values to more than one academic discipline simultaneously.” Many see it as a way to stop fragmentation of subjects, a recurring problem in America’s school system.

Generally, these assignments are connected through language arts. At North Springs, most freshmen are read “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot. At one point, teachers work with science teachers to organize debates within science classes about the ethics for the HeLa experiments. Then, in the literature class, students would write a paper on this same topic. Another example of this is in sophomore year where in literature students read Frankenstein, and then in science write a research paper on a controversial topic.

There are mixed feelings about these assignments. Both teachers and students were interviewed.

One teacher who was interviewed was Ms. Allsteadt, a teacher of General Chemistry, Honors Chemistry and AP Chemistry. She said, “[Cross Curricular assignments] are very useful for students to more deeply understand a subject like history and politics. Many scientific achievements came out of history and politics.”

“Cross Curricular assignments aren’t needed. They are a waste of valuable time and resources that could better be spent doing other things,” said an anonymous 10th grader. Other students agree: one sophomore, Chase McGrath, said that “College is the time to learn how subjects to relate to each other. High school is about collecting  the information needed for college, and teachers should stick to that goal.” An anonymous senior recounts his years at North Springs, and tells a different story, “I didn’t like them at the time… now I understand why I had to do them. It’s really broadened my view and showed me how different subjects can be one and the same.”

Cross curricular assignments are controversial. People disagree on how to handle them. A challenge to the readers: tell us what you think! Comment on whether we should have them or not!