Social Studies Curriculum that Integrates Technical and Academic Content

Posted on Categories Academic/Technical Skill Integration

At a Glance

At North Montco Technical Career Center, social studies instructors developed a curriculum that integrates technical concepts (program of study tasks) into the social studies program.


North Montco Technical Career Center (NMTCC) provides academic courses to full-time students in addition to offering part-time technical training. In order to add context and relevance to technical instruction and to ensure students from other sending schools were meeting graduation requirements, NMTCC created an integrated social studies program that supports and enhances technical curriculum through application of knowledge, skills, beliefs, and values. To develop the curriculum, certified social studies instructors created and divided the 11th and 12th grade social studies curriculum into eight topic areas identified by the National Council for the Social Studies. They then aligned the social studies curriculum to the Pennsylvania Core Standards. 

Within each unit of study, social studies instructors created a “T” chart with essential questions and learning objectives for each unit of instruction. They also identified the corresponding academic standard and learning objective. Technical instructors were then asked to identify scenarios and/or applications related to their technical field of study for each social studies unit. Technical instructors were also asked, “How does this trade or occupational scenario apply to the social studies lesson?” and, “If you were not present in the classroom where the social studies lesson was being presented, how would the social studies teacher relate the lesson to your technical area?” Through this integrated approach, instructors aim to provide students with a contextual learning experience that increases each student’s academic capacity while meeting the needs of business and industry.   

After completing all eight units, students receive two social studies credits, fulfill their social studies graduation requirement, and learn key social studies content through a student’s trade/technical program. 

Origin / Implementation

This initiative launched in 2008 after a sending school district requested that NMTCC offer a social studies course to accommodate increased graduation requirements. Using national standards and guidelines, the content of the course was developed by NMTCC social studies teachers.

Results / Impact

Since implementation, the program has enabled 11th and 12th grade students to earn social studies credit and graduate on time.  It has also provided instruction in social studies in a unique manner that places key social studies concepts in a contextual framework related to the student’s field of study. Student engagement has also improved as the course uses a student’s intrinsic motivation within their field of study to complete a contextual social study course.


North Montgomery Technical Career Center

Tammy Albanesius, Special Projects
Email: talbanes@NMTCC.ORG

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