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Arts Across the Curriculum, Grades 9-12

Integrate Music and Visual Arts with Social Studies, Math & Science

Found In: arts, 9-12

C. P. Snow described the sciences and humanities as two intellectual cultures in The Two Cultures. E. O. Wilson described how they could be reconciled in Consilience. As the following lessons and activities demonstrate, the sciences and humanities have never been exclusive realms.

Lesson Plans

Social Studies

The Artist and Society
Students in grades 9-12 investigate the interaction of popular culture and artistic production by examining the use of popular borrowed images in the work of Henry Darger (site includes video clips).

Mirror of Values
Students in grades 9-12 create paintings that reflect their personal beliefs and values after examining positive acts inspired by intolerance or violence.

“Jazz Is About Freedom”: Billie Holiday’s Anti-lynching Song “Strange Fruit”
Students in grades 9-12 investigate Billie Holiday’s signature song, “Strange Fruit,” a protest song written in 1938 about the ongoing and intransigent problem of lynching in the American South.

Blues Geography
Students in grades 9-12 explore the major blues styles associated with various regions of the United States.


Capturing Light: The Science of Photography
Students in grades K-12 create their own simple cameras to understand how artists use and manipulate light to capture images in photographs.

Insect Anatomy and the Scientist as Illustrator
Students in grades K-12 classify the plants and insects depicted in a painting.

Elements, Compounds, and Pigments
Students analyze the properties of elements and compounds used to make pigments in the 19th century.


Jazz and Math: The Fibonacci Keyboard
Students in grades 6-9 demonstrate an understanding of the relationships of the Fibonacci Sequence and its relationship to a piano keyboard.

Math in Videogames Lesson Plan
Students in grades 7-10 describe scenarios that require designers to use mathematics and algebraic reasoning in creating videogames and then identify a strategy and create a model for problem solving.

Jazz and Math: Improvisation Permutations
Students in grades 9-12 explore how many different rhythmic combinations can be improvised in a jazz/blues piece of music.

Curriculum Units

Social Studies

All Curricula and Guides (Education at the Getty)
36 units and guides, many perfect for teaching visual arts and social studies.

  • When Impressionism Was a Dirty Word (Education at the Getty)
    Lessons for elementary and secondary teachers to prompt classroom discussion and learning of the history of Impressionist painting.
  • Landscapes, Classical to Modern (Education at the Getty)
    Lessons for elementary and secondary students can examine the distinct ways artists have portrayed the world around them.
  • Historical Witness, Social Messaging (Education at the Getty)
    Students in grades K-12 explore how art can influence social change and increasing awareness among individuals and governments.
  • Gods, Heroes and Monsters Curriculum (Education at the Getty)
    K-12 students investigate ancient Greek and Roman mythology in Western art and literature.

Integrating the Arts: Lesson Plans
Additional K-12 lessons based on an art object from The Walters Art Museum’s Integrating the Arts.

The Blues: Blues Classroom: Lesson Plans
A companion to the PBS documentary “The Blues” is for teachers of grades 9-12 and includes background reading and lesson plans.

Art, Advertising, and Propaganda
Students in grades 9-12 analyze images and accompanying text.


Music and Math
Lessons for grades 3-12 illustrate how math concepts underlie important ideas in music theory.

The Well Tempered Pythagorean: The Remarkable Relation between Western and Natural Harmonic Music ( PDF, 862 KB, 16 pgs.)
Best for teachers and students in grades 11-12.


Art & Science Curriculum | The J. Paul Getty Museum
Ten lesson plans for grades K-12 address the science of art production, conservation, and scholarship.

Music Acoustics, Physics, UNSW
The art and science of music acoustics are presented (best for teachers and high school students).

The Physics of Music and Musical Instruments ( PDF, 4.73 MB, 119 pgs.)
the physics of waves, sound, music, and musical instruments at a level designed for high school physics teachers and students.


Real vs. Virtual: Examining Works of Art Online
11 visual art activities using Google’s Art Project that can be used across the K-12 curriculum.

3-D Drawing and Geometry
In this geometry unit students in grades 6-12 see different types of 3-D drawings and learn how to do them. They can also explore many interesting careers that use these techniques, from architecture to movies.

Music Activities and Arts Integration Lessons: Connecting Music to Reading, Math and Science
Free arts integration resources, multimedia activities, and homemade instrument projects. Grades 6-12.


Integrating the Arts: Interactive Resources for K-12 Art Education
Interactives require Adobe Flash and Acrobat Reader.

The Art Zone | National Gallery of Art
Students in grades K-12 create original works art with 15 online interactives.

  • Mobile – add branches, shapes, and colors to this virtual mobile.
  • Wallovers – create a mural design with colors, patterns, and brushstrokes
  • 3-D Twirler – design and texturize three-dimensional shapes

Da Vinci - The Artist
Students in grades 3-12 can explore perspective and the Golden Ration.

Mr. Picasso Head
Students in grades 3-12use line, shape, and color to create works of art.

Superpolylogarithmic Subexponential Functions
A humorous song for students in grades 11-12 about functions that grow faster asymptotically than any polynomial of any logarithm but slower than any exponential (lyrics set to a familiar song). This is a large page. Scroll or word search to find lyrics.


Check your local library for items in this reading list.

  • Creating Meaning through Literature and the Arts: An Integrated Resource for Classroom Teachers
    by Claudia E. Cornett
    Prentice Hall, 3rd edition (paperback, 2006)
  • Musi-matics!: Music and Arts Integrated Math Enrichment Lessons
    by Karin K. Nolan
    Rowman & Littlefield Education (paperback, 2009)


last updated: February 21, 2018


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Teaching Strategies

The Arts Are Essential

Arts programs are frequently the first to be cut when school budgets are tightened. Preserve them by integrating them across the curriculum.