When I was in college, my University stressed the importance of teaching with thematic units. If you’re not familiar, it’s when you teach a theme a week and link all your educational content around it. I still use this but now focus it on my science topics for that week and plan everything else around it. It’s what I like to call cross curricular science activities.


In the last post, I wrote about the importance of integrating science education with other subjects like reading and math. If you haven’t read that yet, I’d start there and then come back here to see how to get it done.

A square with the words Hibernation STEM: A STEM Research Project written. A picture of an animal den and writing templates is displayed

What does cross curricular science look like?

This type of teaching style combines math, reading, writing, social studies, and science together for a longer unit. In Kindergarten, I do units by weeks but it can be longer or shorter for whatever works best for you!

Today, we’ll be using the example of hibernating animals as our science topic and see how it links to all the other subjects. But you can use any science standards to make this work!

The NGSS standard we will be using is: 

K-LS1-1. Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.

Cross Curricular ELA Ideas:

  • Read non fiction stories about hibernation. Teach the tools that a non fiction text has.
  • Research animals that hibernate and record information.
  • Create charts: tree maps, KWL, and bubble charts *My favorite organizational tool is a tree map
  • Let students write a narrative about a hibernating animal

Cross Curricular Math Ideas: 

  • While teaching math, stick with your standards that you are teaching. For example, if students are learning about addition- create word problems that include hibernating animals.
  • When researching data about how long animals hibernate for- create a table to write down the information gathered.
  • Use a video to compare an animal’s breathing before/during hibernation and record the breaths taken. Here’s a link to a video of a bear.

Cross Curricular Social Studies Ideas:

  • Study maps & see where hibernating animals are typically found
  • Teach about Groundhogs Day and why it became a holiday
  • Practice arranging events leading up to and including hibernation for an animal (cause and effect)

Putting it all together for a cross curricular science activity

Now here comes the magical part. Your students are going to put together everything they learned into an engineering design project to build what they just learned about. For hibernating animals- it can be creating a den to withstand a harsh winter. I created a premade lesson template for you- so all you need to do is teach! (minimal prep required)

Your students will love the culmination activity where they can build and use what they learned. Just like when I discussed that science experiment last week when I had to create an insulated house after researching and learning- your kids will do this too! 

Check back next week to see some Frequently Asked Questions on these cross curricular science activities.

Got questions? Let me know in the comments below.

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