The Colors of School Subjects


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Elanor Wilger, Feature and Opinion Editor

There have been many heated arguments in classrooms and between friends over what color represents different school subjects. Almost everybody agrees that at least the four general subjects (math, English, social studies, and science) correspond to a color, but which color goes with what subject varies from person to person. The reason why we associate different colors with different school subjects is most likely because we saw those colors used in reference to the subjects we associate them with when we were little, or those colors represent something related to the subject. The color that someone pairs with a class are very subjective, so there isn’t a real right or wrong answer, but here are the colors as I see them: math is blue, English is red, science is green, and social studies is yellow. 

Most people agree that English and math are either red or blue, but which one is which remains hotly contested. It is thought that perhaps whichever subject is thought to be red is thought of that way because the subject is a source of tension for that person, and red is a color associated with anger and hostility. Personally, the color I associate with either subject does not have anything to do with my feelings towards the subject. Math is blue because blue is a cool, technical color that feels devoid of emotion. Math is a technical subject that has to do with logic and facts, it’s not subjective and filled with emotion or symbolism. English can be quite the opposite. There are technical components in it, such as grammar, but many English classes have to do with a personal interpretation of symbolism and theme in works. It is a much more emotional subject than math. Unlike blue, red is a color that is tied with very strong emotions. Anger and passion are both explosive, more so than the quiet sadness or calm contemplation of blue.

There is less argument over the colors of science and social studies. Almost everybody seems to agree that science is green. This is probably because the color green is associated with plants, the Earth, and life in general. Life sciences get closely tied with the color green, and that gets extended to science in general. Social studies, and specifically, history, is yellow. As paper ages, it starts to turn yellow. Throughout social studies classes, you learn about many important historical documents that, if you saw them today, would be weathered and turned yellow with age. 

Those are the four subjects that usually get talked about when people give school subjects a color, perhaps because they’re usually the only ones that students have when they’re younger and their brain is just starting to create these associations. It is interesting that although there is no right or wrong answer, a lot of people have very similar ideas on what color goes with each subject. Although the matter is completely up to personal opinion, everyone is convinced that their answer is the correct one, a pattern that is repeated in many different places with human beings.