Threaded Integration

Threaded Integration is a mode of curricular integration as described by Fogarty and Stoehr (1991) in their work "Integrating Curricula with Multiple Intelligences: Teams, Themes, and Threads". Threaded integration is based on the concept of using skills, ideas, content, or approaches through various disciplines to connect them, as if by a "thread". By uniting disciplines with a thread, we provide a way to integrate the ideas that comprise the thread as well as ideas that reside in each discipline. It may be pictured as a road connecting many towns. By building a road and driving on it to visit many towns, we see how that road may change (asphalt to cobbles? Highway to little town traffic lights?) and also see that road in many places (Does it take us through the historic district? Does it cross with other roads? Is it in the suburbs or straight through downtown?). By traveling on this road, ideas can move from one "town" to another, we can see an authentic connection, and we can travel at our own pace and choose the direction.

In the Shepardson STEM Model, the Crosscutting Concepts are the threads (roads) of integration through all elementary school disciplines.

Next Generation Science Standards

The "NextGen Standards", created and published by the National Research Council, consist of three main parts- Content, Practices, and Crosscutting Concepts. The content portion outlines the "what" of science that students learn- the facts, formulas, and knowledge that is traditional and needed in quality education. The practices are the "how" that we also know is important- inquiry, discovery, working together, etc. These two dimensions of education are identified as valuable and are present in many educational objectives. In Colorado, standards consist of explicit content (evidence outcomes) and process (21st Century Skills) which highlight the complimentary and essential nature of these parts of learning and are both accepted and embedded as best practices in the Shpeardson STEM Model.

The portion for which the Shepardson STEM Model drew significant inspiration is in the Crosscutting Concepts- the "why". The Shepardson STEM Model proposes that by focusing on these 7 meta-curricular concepts, we can frame and organize information in a way that enables STEM initiatives to be integrated in all disciplines. Many schools understand the value of content and practices, and thus far these two metrics have been the foundation of evaluation and organization of STEM schools. However, Shepardson Elementary felt that these should be present in every school (in science and math classes) and that a STEM school must have a fundamentally different perspective. By exploring meta-curricular themes derived from science, the model provides a framework of thought that can be applied at every level and in every discipline.