Social Studies is by nature an interdisciplinary class. We study different things from different fields. The traditional social studies classroom draws upon history, politics, economics, and geography. The goal of my classroom is to take that to the next step by adding in Spanish, business, science, and language arts to the curriculum.
History and science have more in common than meets the eye. Scientific discoveries are framed by their historical context and can forever change the course of history. One concrete way that history and science are related is in the field of genetics and inheritance. After all, genetics is the study of the accumulation of traits over time. DNA doesn’t fall from the sky; we all came from somewhere with our own unique combinations of genes. Genetic genealogy is a hobby of mine. Not only do I love researching the lives of my ancestors (genealogy) but I have also had my own personal DNA tested in order to find living relatives, determine ancient ancestral origins, and find out more about my ethnic origins. In other words, I can use DNA to learn about my own family’s history. The website that I used to get my DNA tested is http://www.23andme.com.
Here is an activity that I created to better understand how scientists can use DNA to study the past:
A career in genetics would be an excellent move because it is an up and coming field. Our knowledge about DNA and what it codes for is growing with each passing day, but there are still millions, probably billions, of more discoveries that need to be made before humans can say that they truly understand how DNA works to create the building blocks of our bodies. A career in genetics is great for anyone who has a passion for history too because it uses science to study ancient peoples and migrations in addition to identifying bones and other human remains. I think this is fascinating as well as a great case study for how science and history help us to explain the world around us.