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The Interdisciplinary Approach

Coordinated Thematic Units

Thematic units (a course of study revolving around one topic) engage students in learning, capture their interest, and involve them in discussions meant to stir controversy, debate, and critical thinking.  Topics are structured to be intellectually and emotionally relevant to students so that they can meaningfully apply ideas learned from their discussions to their daily lives. 

 

The interdisciplinary approach to teaching envisions traditional subject classes as a unified and organic whole, rather than as divided individual pursuits.  Teachers in an interdisciplinary setting work cooperatively to design, integrate and administer curricula that is thematically linked.  This emphasis on thematic units -- when combined with team teaching, unified classes, and interdisciplinary projects -- encourages students to incorporate knowledge from each of their classes.  In this way, students will rely on their various intelligences to solve problems and will then be able to recognize and build connections between their studies and their lives. 

Action-Based Projects

 

The basic premise of the action-based approach to curriculum integration is that successful, productive adults carry out a purposeful problem solving process at work and in other areas of their lives.  By completing appropriately scaled down versions of adult action-based projects, students develop the capacity for success in their personal work life and demonstrate their degree of preparedness for work or for the next level of education.

 

Each semester will require students to work cooperatively on directed projects incorporating skills and knowledge gained across their various classes.  An example of this is the annual Science Fair organized by our Biology and Chemistry teachers.  Students conduct independent research, organize their data and present their findings to peers, parents and assorted community members.  These action-based projects allow students to call upon their performing arts skills while enhancing content understanding in their academic classes.  Students also foster the ability to work cooperatively in a group setting, yet be individually responsible for tasks delegated to them.