George Lucas Educational Foundation

Schools That Work: Mixing Art + Politics -- Integrated Studies in High School

Teachers Dayna Laur (AP government) and Katlyn Wolfgang (art) at Central York High School in York, Pennsylvania, share their strategies for creating successful integrated studies projects.
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Katlyn Wolfgang: Remember, you are working on your symbolism reflection piece that is going on our final website. Help each other out, collaborate as you always do.

My name is Katlyn Wolfgang and I teach art at Central York High School. I always wanted to become a teacher. I looked into being a math teacher and I looked into being an art teacher. Art just happens to be the media in which I teach. I teach through the arts. I teach the whole student. I want the students to be aware of everything, of everything around them.

Jennifer Mills: Miss Wolfgang is a really great art teacher because she incorporates more than just art into the class. We use social studies, history, English, writing, reading, and we also use a lotta technology, where we're putting all of our projects and our reflections onto a website that can be viewed by anyone that wants to look at it.

Ryan Caufman: The school identifies and defines integrated studies really as curricular connections that can be made between the subjects and the different departments within our high school here. If you can show students relevance within the work that they're doing, they're more engaged. They're more apt to be more interested, to participate more, and integrated studies is a great way to do that.

Dayna Laur: That leads us to number seven where, can any of you seriously say the Bill of Rights could get through Congress today?

My name is Dayna Laur and I teach social studies at Central York High School. I don't think any subject matter is really a stand alone subject. You know, I think teachers inherently start to integrate other subject matters without maybe really even thinking about it. In this particular instance, though, it's something that you wouldn't normally see. An AP class, let alone a politics class, partnering with an art class.

Dayna Laur: The sculpture class has had a few questions based on the information that you've put on here.

Katlyn Wolfgang: Dayna and I were talking and we decided that we wanted to try to have a collaborative piece working.

Dayna Laur: My AP government students are currently researching public policy issues, looking at why laws are made, what issues arise that cause these laws to be created. And so we have partnered with Katlyn Wolfgang's class to use art and sculpture as a forum for these ideas to be expressed.

Katlyn Wolfgang: We tried to decide our goal and the goal was for her students to research policy, and my goal was for my students to develop a political art piece.

Dayna Laur: So the process that you saw in the classroom today was actually the students looking at some feedback that they were given by the sculpture students on the topics that they researched, and additionally, the sculpture students had presented us with information and brainstormed ideas that they would like to potentially create their wire armatures.

Katlyn Wolfgang: You have to come up with these creative ideas and creative solutions and that's what the students are forced to do in my class. They're forced to take these concepts and then they have to apply it to the different medium that I supply to them.

Dayna Laur: It really is opening the eyes, I believe, of my AP students, many of which have never taken an art class, and really exposing them to a different medium, as well as one that can connect with many more people in the outside world.

Natasha Stanley: As far as working with other students and collaborating outside of the classroom, it really allows you to pull in more ideas than just the people that are in your classroom and learning about the topic. So we're learning more about art and they're learning more about the different ideas that are going on in AP government.

Katlyn Wolfgang: When my students leave my classroom, I want them to leave prepared to embark on the outside world. I want them to have experiences that are gonna help them elsewhere.

Dayna Laur: If we operate in our classroom alone and we don't expose ourselves to ideas of others, or open ourselves to potential collaboration opportunities, then we're not truly going to serve our students in that twenty first century capacity. In order to open yourself to new ideas, it really just takes turning to your colleague next to you. There are professionals out there that are more than willing to get involved in projects that you may want to do within your classroom.

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This installment of Schools That Work was produced in collaboration with The Digital Learning Group.

Free Resources & Downloads for Integrated Studies Projects

Educators from Central York High School in York, Pennsylvania, have provided these samples of integrated studies projects and their associated resources as examples to use in your own school.

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Resources On This Page:



Art & English


Collaborative project between an art and English class as they apply the work of George Segal to their school atmosphere. Resources provided by art teacher Katlyn Wolfgang and English teacher Katie Anderson.

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Art & Politics


Collaborative project between an art and government class. Art students create a three-dimensional structure that portrays their viewpoint about a government policy. Resources provided by art teacher Katlyn Wolfgang and government teacher Dayna Laur.

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Dinner Party


Supplements for a diversity project based on "The Dinner Party," an art piece by Judy Chicago. Students did research on a person and created a place setting (plate, bowl, cup, silverware) to honor that person at a class dinner party. Resources provided by art teacher Katlyn Wolfgang.

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About Central York High School


Dayna Laur, Katlyn Wolfgang, and Katie Anderson teach at Central York High School (CYHS), a suburban high school of approximately 1700 students in York, Pennsylvania. CYHS has a graduation rate of 98% and more than 80% of their graduates enroll in higher education each year.

To learn more about Dayna and Katlyn's art and politics collaboration, check out our interview with them in How to Integrate Art and Politics to Improve High School Student Engagement.

Comments (2) Sign in or register to comment Follow Subscribe to comments via RSS

Judy's picture

Looking for ideas for US History, World History and Economics hands on projects for different level students in the class.

Sharon Rose's picture
Sharon Rose
Special Education

I'm starting to investigate ways of incorporating the arts into lessons within my resource reading and resource math classes. This video is compelling for me because of the depth the teachers used with AP students to create art that ties to politics. I'm finding that the arts can easily be incorporated into other content areas as introduction activities. For projects that rely heavily on arts integration it takes more planning. The teachers in this video mention that the planning for their project just started from a conversation between the two of them. Obviously, it takes considerable planning for a project such as the sculpture/politics product. I have come to believe that when students are involved in such projects, application of concepts using the arts becomes permanently a part of their knowledge base.

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