Decoding the Naming of Subjects in School Curricula


Have you ever wondered how subjects like mathematics, science, history, and literature came to be named as they are in school curricula? The process of naming subjects is not arbitrary; rather, it reflects the content, purpose, and historical context of each discipline. Let’s delve into the fascinating world of subject naming and uncover the stories behind some of the most common subjects taught in schools:


The name “mathematics” originates from the Greek word “mathēma,” which means “knowledge” or “learning.” Mathematics encompasses the study of numbers, quantities, shapes, and patterns, reflecting its fundamental role in understanding the world around us.


The term “science” derives from the Latin word “scientia,” meaning “knowledge.” Science is a systematic study of the natural world through observation, experimentation, and logical reasoning. It encompasses various disciplines such as biology, chemistry, physics, and earth sciences, each focusing on different aspects of nature.

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The word “history” comes from the Greek word “historia,” meaning “inquiry” or “knowledge acquired by investigation.” History is the study of past events, people, and societies, providing insights into human experiences, achievements, and challenges throughout time.


Literature is derived from the Latin word “litteratura,” which originally referred to any form of written or printed works. Today, literature encompasses a wide range of written and spoken texts, including fiction, poetry, drama, and non-fiction, reflecting the diversity of human expression and storytelling.

Physical Education (PE):

Physical education focuses on the development of physical fitness, motor skills, and overall well-being through physical activity and exercise. The term “physical education” highlights the importance of holistic health and emphasizes the educational aspect of physical activity.


Geography combines the Greek words “geo” (earth) and “graphia” (description), literally meaning “earth description.” This word explores the Earth’s features, environments, and human interactions, providing insights into spatial relationships and global phenomena.

Computer Science:

Computer science is the study of algorithms, computational systems, and information processing. The term “computer science” reflects the central role of computers in modern society and emphasizes the scientific approach to understanding and innovating in the field of computing.

In conclusion, the naming of subjects in school curricula is rooted in language, culture, and the nature of each discipline. Whether it’s mathematics, science, history, or literature, each subject name carries with it a rich history and meaning that reflects its purpose and significance in education. Understanding the origins of subject names can deepen our appreciation for the diverse array of knowledge and skills imparted through school curricula.

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