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Abstract

The Elementary Science Integration Project (ESIP) brought together teachers knowledgeable about, and committed to, whole-language instruction with their science-oriented counterparts to explore connections between the disciplines and build from teachers' strengths. By recognizing commonalities, that both hands-on science and whole language center on inquiry and focus on children's learning processes, ESIP was designed to reveal the issues both groups of teachers see as important as they go about making classroom decisions. The ultimate goal of the project was to promote science as central to cross-curricular study, thus increasing the comfort level of teachers, the amount of time devoted to science in the classroom, and an interest in inquiry. This article described the project and identified the considerations teachers used to evaluate science–language-arts connections. Twenty expert and 7 novice teachers worked together over a 2-year period to construct and elaborate their own understandings of curricular integrátion, designing action research projects to explore their newfound understandings. Teachers kept journals and participated in extensive group discussions and interviews that provided the data sources for this article. Results revealed the influence of teachers' scholarly and pedagogical orientations on the way they think about science–language-arts connections and the influence of personal experiences in convincing teachers that science–language-arts connections are worth fostering in the classroom.