The world around us: teaching social studies through teacher travel experience and integrated units

The purpose of this study was to see the affects on student interest and knowledge through my teacher travel experiences and with integrated social studies units on Spain and Australia. Research for this study was conducted in a second grade classroom with twenty students. For two months the students were exposed to teacher stories of travel and artifacts from Spain and Australia, listened to books and saw pictures of cultural events, and participated in discussions and activities relating to the units. Students were given a survey prior to and at the conclusion of the study, which was used as a measurement of their interest and knowledge. Throughout the unit student work was collected, notes of class discussions taken, and teacher observations recorded. Data was analyzed by two different three-point rubrics that measured student interest and knowledge at the end of the units. All the students showed an increased interest and knowledge as shown through the rubrics and teacher observations. The children were actively engaged in discussions and lessons throughout the units. It was concluded that my teacher travel experiences and realia made a positive impact on the students.