4 High School Books For Interdisciplinary Teaching

high school books

Use these popular high school classics for teaching across different curriculums!

As high school students prepare to graduate and move onto young adulthood, interdisciplinary teaching is more important than ever. Interdisciplinary teaching, otherwise known as cross-curricular teaching, breaks down the walls that exist between the subjects of science, math, history, and English to encourage big-picture, holistic study. Common Core State Standards have been designed to support cross-curricular learning, which goes to show just how important interdisciplinary teaching is today!

Books are the perfect vehicle for interdisciplinary teaching, as stories and narrative rhetoric can cover a wide variety of subjects, themes, and topics. You don’t have to go out and find specially-designed books that align with Common Core State Standards. Just get creative with the high school classics that you already know and love!

4 Classic High School Books That Are Perfect for Cross-Curricular Teaching:

1. The Giver by Lois Lowry

the giver

About the book: Twelve-year-old Jonas lives in a perfect world of sameness. In this utopia, there is no suffering, hunger, or war — but there is also no privacy, color, music, or love. When he is assigned to his new job as the Receiver of Memory, singled out to receive specialized training from The Giver, his life changes forever. Jonas must decide: should he pursue a world of both true joy and suffering, or remain in the sameness for the rest of his life?

Related academic disciplines:  social studies, philosophyscience

Discussion topics:

 Compare and contrast the role of government in different cultures and societies.
– Examine the idea of a utopian society and discuss whether such a society is possible.
– Discuss how the science of genetic manipulation affects society as a whole.

2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

About the book: Told through the eyes of 8-year-old Scout Finch, the story follows the lives of Scout, her brother Jem, and her father Atticus. A successful lawyer, Atticus Finch is appointed to defend Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a young white woman, Mayella Ewell. The court case shakes the small Southern town of Maycomb, Alabama to its core, and forever changes the lives of the Finches.

Related academic disciplines: history, justice

Discussion topics:

– Focusing on the Depression Era in the 1930s, examine the culture, attitudes, and beliefs of the American South.
– Discuss the justice system and how court case decisions have influenced specific laws in effect today.

3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

the great gatsby

About the book: A Minnesota boy, Nick Carraway is fascinated by his new, wealthy Long Island surroundings and his mysterious yet obviously wealthy neighbor Jay Gatsby. As Nick becomes more acquainted with Gatsby, an intricate web of history begins to unfold before him and so unfurls a tragic story of love set in the reckless and unpredictable background of America’s Jazz Age.

Related academic disciplines: science, technology, history

Discussion topics:

– Discuss role does technology play in this story and what its role reveals about the author’s opinions of science.
– Study America’s Roaring 20s and discuss the political and social climate of the time, touching upon topics such as prohibition, immigration, and the tax legislations of presidents Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge.

4. Animal Farm by George Orwell

animal farm

About the book: In perhaps what is the most telling satiric fables ever written, a farm is taken over by its overworked and mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, these animals set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Life under this new way of thinking is fine at first, but things quickly begin to unravel…

Related academic disciplines: philosophy, history

Discussion topics:

– Examine the different types of government introduced in the story and the philosophies behind each of them.
– Introduce the Russian Revolution and study how characters from the novel represent specific historical figures of that time.


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This post was written by Elizabeth Lee, the marketing associate at BookPal. She is currently reading The Organized Mind by Daniel J. Levitin and Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.

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