Articulation and Curriculum

Articulation is closely related to sequence, which was discussed in an earlier post. Sequencing in curriculum is about determining the order of concepts within a grade and subject. However, articulation is sequencing across grade levels and or across subjects.

For example, for a math curriculum, the teacher of basic algebra may towards the end of the school year begin to touch on some concepts related to geometry. The geometry teacher of the next school year may begin with some of the more advanced algebra concepts from last year before moving into geometry material. This is an example of vertical articulation in that one subject, math, is being aligned across different grade levels so that there is a smooth transition from algebra to geometry.

Articulation can also happen within a grade but across different subjects. For example, it is common for science and math classes to cover many of the same material but with a different application.  A chemistry class might require students to take algebra 2 at the same time or a physics class may require concurrent enrollment in calculus.  This is an example of horizontal articulation because it is happening across subjects rather than between grades.

A more practical example would by the use of thematic multidisciplinary units, which are more common at the elementary level. There is a theme, such as justice, which is covered in several subjects such as social studies and English. The students examine the theme from multiple perspectives with the goal of deepening their understanding of the theme.  Another term for horizontal articulation is integration.

Articulation is not easy to do. However, there are times when it is appropriate or can break the monotony of the learning process for students.  When to use this depends on the philosophy and goals of the school and needs of the students.

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