Lesson 1 Introduction

What is Curriculum Integration?

Venn diagram with three overlapping circles labeled CTE, Math, Science. The center area where all three circles overlap is labeled Real-World Work/Life Concept.
There are many different definitions of curriculum integration in education. For the purposes of this course, curriculum integration in career and technical education (CTE) refers to a multidisciplinary approach to instruction that combines underlying core academic knowledge and skills with occupational knowledge and skills within the context of a CTE program of study. 

Examples of Math Integrated into CTE Lessons:

  • Students apply geometry to real-life situations in a CTE construction course.
  • Students use patterns and shapes to design a room in a CTE interior design course.
  • Students use graphs and algebra to compute a company’s total revenue, total costs, and the break-even point in a CTE marketing course.
  • Students use measuring units to test a recipe in a CTE culinary arts class.

Features of Effective Curriculum Integration

Two girls measuring ingredients in a cooking class
Effective curriculum integration for CTE includes the following features:

  • Instruction centers around a concept, issue, problem, topic, or experience that students may encounter in a real-world work situation.
  • Students explore the content in standards-based academic disciplines connected by a unifying CTE concept that reinforces learning and brings the curriculum to life.
  • The concept being explored brings together various aspects of the curriculum in a meaningful way.

Source: Clayton, M., et al. (2011). “Designing Multidisciplinary Integrated Curriculum Units.” ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career. Retrieved from https://connectednational.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/LL_Designing_Curriculum_Units_2010_v5_web.pdf

Why Integrate Math in CTE?

Students study building plans
As technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, more jobs will require mathematical reasoning and problem-solving skills. Research shows that integrating math and other core subjects like reading, writing, and science throughout the CTE curriculum helps students become comfortable with the subjects. They are more likely to develop the skills necessary to be successful in their personal lives as well as in their professional careers.

Effective math and science integration within the context of the CTE program can

  • help students recognize the math involved in a real-world work situation;
  • motivate students to develop mathematical reasoning skills;
  • stimulate curiosity;
  • strengthen problem-solving abilities; and
  • build confidence in communicating with seasoned professionals.

The Role of the CTE Teacher

Teacher with students at a table

CTE teachers play an important role in helping students gain the skills they need to be successful. It’s not enough to simply teach the CTE content. This two-part course will provide you with strategies, examples, and resources to support you as you engage your students in math and mathematical reasoning as part of their CTE program of study.

While CTE teachers are experts in their professional fields and specialty areas, they may be apprehensive about teaching math to their students. They may be intimidated by the subject and may lack confidence in their own math skills. In this article, CTE teacher Gary Scarpello provides some useful tips to help you overcome your anxiety as you work to integrate math into your curriculum.

Source: Scarpello, G. (2009). “Tips for Teaching Math to CTE Students.” Techniques. Association of Career & Technical Education (ACTE), March 2009.

Benefits of Integrating Math into CTE Curriculum

Students practicing taking a patient's blood pressure
Research shows that integrating math into CTE curriculum provides clear benefits for both students and teachers.

Click each group below to see some of the benefits.

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