Life connections are the recognition of the application, relevance, and meaning of academic information to a first grader’s experience in civic, social, and post-secondary life. Making connections is the cornerstone of thinking strategies. Making life connections involves building on prior knowledge and schema to allow for greater depth of learning. The ability to relate or associate people, events, ideas, language, performance and various other aspects of learning to one another creates deeper understanding.
Life Connections can connect all 10 content areas as detailed below.
Comprehensive Health and Physical Education
In comprehensive health and physical education, life connections involve relating health and fitness to the ways wellness affects one individually, including the ability of the brain to learn, and relationships to others and the environment. Understanding the benefits of physical activity is essential to developing lifelong movers. By mastering life connections, students will be able to apply their fitness prevention knowledge to choose healthy behaviors when dangerous situations arise and to engage in physical activity regularly.
In dance, life connections help learners connect dance to the world around them. Examples of this include: use of costumes, masks, headpieces and dance sequences to understand various peoples, places and things. Connecting body movement to simple concepts to understand other cultures or ethnicities fosters cultural literacy.
Drama and Theatre Arts
In drama and theatre arts, life connections pull together theatre and real life experiences. Describing the difference between theatre and real life enhances the theatre experience. Early discernment of individual, group and environmental connections prepares learners for understanding differences between fiction and nonfiction.
In mathematics, life connections help develop mathematical understanding and transfer concepts to new situations and contexts. For example, solving a variety of contextual problems is the basis for learning the concepts of addition and subtraction. First graders create and relate their knowledge of addition, subtraction, graphs, and time to relevant life connections.
In music, life connections show the integral part of music in communities and culture. Identifying the types of music used for various events such as patriotic music for Independence Day can enable students to connect relevance and understanding to a particular way of life or cultural event.
Reading, Writing, and Communicating
In reading, writing and communicating, life connections help learners build background knowledge in order to construct new meaning and make real world connections. In first grade, students develop a purpose for reading by asking critical questions to create a deeper understanding of text.
In science, life connections refer to the associations students make between their life and the natural world. The scientific skills of making careful observations and predictions, analyzing evidence, and formulating and evaluating conclusions can be used in any type of decision making process.
In social studies, life connections are the ways in which students make sense of life and how they are connect to the world. History supports how students connect the events of the past to the present and to make meaning of the world in which they live. Economics helps students understand how the choices they make have both costs and benefits. In geography students learn how the physical and human environments interact with their lives. Civics provides an understanding of how humans interact and the need for rules and order in society. Making life connections is critical for one to relate and understand how the interaction of people, events, and ideas are interconnected and impact one’s world.
In visual arts, life connections are associations made between art and the surrounding world. For example, icons and pictorial representations help the learner understand various peoples, places and things. Connecting visual representation to concepts such as cultural differences can help to foster understanding of these complex connections.
In world languages, life connections help learners understand the target culture and are found in a culture’s perspectives, expressive products (e.g., music, visual arts, literature), tangible products (e.g., toys, food) or intangible products (e.g., concept of time, holidays). In playing games, singing songs, and reading books in the target language, learners find relationships between their culture and the target culture.
Summary Document: All standards pages for life connections