Teaching Cross Cutting Concepts with Pop Culture

by KellyAnn Bonnell, MA

Crosscutting concepts have value because they provide students with connections
and intellectual tools that are related across the differing areas of disciplinary
content and can enrich their application of practices and their understanding of core
ideas. — Next Gen Science Standards 

The idea of cross cutting concepts came to the forefront of educational reform with the Next Gen Science Standards. Next Gen Standards identify seven concepts that cross the study of all science. At Pop Goes the Classroom our goal is to identify those cross cutting concepts that grow the toolbox of critical thinking and evaluation across all academic areas.These are concepts such as learning to compare and contrast or identifying pattern and structure. 

One of the traps we could easily fall into with Pop Culture integration is not going deep enough to allow students to practice discourse skills. Often this is because we haven’t really practiced the skills ourselves. We should be dissecting pop culture-evaluating its messages. We should be debating its meaning. We won’t always agree with one another but how can we teach a skill we do not practice regularly.

Here is an example of the kind of discourse I am advocating. 

I Am Not All About That Bass: Deconstructing The Summer’s Feel-Good, Body-Positive Hit

It’s not about whether you agree or disagree with her conclusions. It’s that you go through the process of deconstructing the artifact.




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