Symbiotic means interaction between two ‘things’, this interaction is normally to the advantage of both. It is a mutually favourable relationship that can happen between different groups or people. It could be said that mathematics and science have a symbiotic relationship and that adopting a cross curricular approach to teaching both subjects in primary school create a perfect combination. Both are connected and mutually beneficial to each other. There are many areas where mathematics and science overlap especially as more areas of mathematical application are evolving. Similar to some areas of science and engineering as they too develop, they become indistinguishable from some areas of mathematics. Mathematics can reveal what scientists have discovered by helping children find relationships between a hypothesis and the data collected. Scientists use data from their experiments to support or disprove their theories. Without applying mathematics to science proving scientific theories would become very difficult. For children to accurately understand a scientific principle or calculation they will need to comprehend the relationship between mathematics and science. By helping children succeed in mathematics they will also improve their scientific skills. Teachers need to be aware of the importance of these connections and provide opportunities to make meaningful links. This is why teachers should respond with cross curricular teaching. Cross curricular topics provide a good opportunity for children to think deeper and learn about the important relationship between mathematics and science. Subjects taught effectively together can help children understand both areas in a more constructive manner and enable teachers to make connections to each topic and previous learning. This will allow children to excel in these areas and have a profound understanding of both mathematics and science.
Brodie, M. and Byrne, E. (2012) Cross Curricular Teaching and Learning in the Secondary School… Science. Routledge.
Gilfeather, F. Griffiths, P. (1986) Mathematical sciences : a unifying and dynamic resource. Washington, D.C. : National Academy Press.
Kumon (2015) How Science and Math are Related, http://www.kumon.com/resources/how-science-and-math-are-related/ (accessed 24.02.17)
Oxford Dictionaries (2010) Oxford Dictionary of English, 3rd edition, OUP Oxford