Problem-solving processes in an integrated content sixth-grade social studies class

Jean Albertson Matheus, Fordham University


The purpose of the study was to list, describe, and analyze instructional strategies used by a sixth-grade class with emphasis on problem-solving processes through integrated content social studies. Components of the study included: (a) integrated content social studies learning; (b) problem-solving processes; (c) curriculum instructional materials; (d) teacher and students' expectations, beliefs, and goals; and (e) classroom teaching methods and strategies. Data collection and research methods interrelated social studies activities and problem-solving processes through examination of instructional materials, teacher and student interviews, and classroom observations. Coding was based upon convergence of information from multiple data sources that included participants' engagement in problem-solving activities that could be identified and noted during classroom situations. The study attempted to connect the philosophy of integrated content with descriptions of problem-solving processes related to integrated content social studies instruction. Findings of the study revealed that participants' expectations and beliefs were generally consistent with those of the teacher. Ongoing cross-validation of data showed evidence of connecting pathways fostering problem-solving skills that participants could apply across disciplines and beyond the classroom. Participants' beliefs and expectations were exemplified through interviews, classroom situations, project work, and their response to assignments. Identification of integrative content problem-solving processes was related to strategies that allowed participants' use of preferred learning modes and to become acquainted with less developed approaches. Convergence of study data suggested that multidisciplinary learning modes were a vital component in the scheme of integrative content problem solving.

Subject Area

Curricula|Teaching|Secondary education|Elementary education|Social studies education

Recommended Citation

Matheus, Jean Albertson, "Problem-solving processes in an integrated content sixth-grade social studies class" (2000). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3003027.