Turner, Rachel Kay (2020-07). There and Back Again: A Social Studies Tale of Integration. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • This dissertation research explores ways to bring subject area knowledge together, specifically in the elementary classroom. Organized into three unique studies, or articles, this dissertation study helps determine approaches for organizing curriculum, explores how and why elementary teachers utilize integration in their elementary social studies classroom, and determines a process for integrating curriculum that ensures alignment to subject area goals. The first article explores ways bringing curriculum together integrates knowledge. Through the development of a Disciplinary Scale, the researcher explores ways to distinguish between single subject, correlation, fusion, multidisciplinary, broad fields, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches. Analysis of each approach, using the Disciplinary Scale, provides critical information for educators and leaders considering integrating curriculum. The second article explores three elementary teachers as they attempt to integrate curriculum in their classroom. Utilizing a case study methodology, the researcher compared the data collected to the activity framework developed by Brophy and Alleman. The results showed that while teachers attempted to integrate, they failed to consider the goals of social studies curriculum. Recommendations include accounting for curriculum goals in multiple content areas and completing a lesson cycle while integrating curriculum. The third article includes developing a process to integrate curriculum while focusing on content area goals. The process is developed, explained and applied to a 2nd grade integrated social studies unit with the support of a practicing 2nd grade teacher. After developing the unit, three practicing teachers provided feedback. On the whole, teachers provided positive feedback. However, they did not address the unit's alignment to curriculum goals.

publication date

  • July 2020