Thematic interdisciplinary work, where the central concept has been carefully chosen in the light of the areas of the interaction and the MYP fundamental concepts, can be a very useful mechanism for developing links between subjects, provided the integrity of the academic disciplines is maintained and subject-specific objectives are carefully considered for all subjects involved.
Most of these experiences will be organized naturally through subject teaching; teachers synchronize their teaching relating to common concepts and plan a more meaningful unit involving perspectives from two disciplines and shared assessment of more complex projects. There are likely to be many areas in any school's curriculum where beneficial cooperation could be developed. Examples might include:
- students studying literature and arts relating to history topics;
- health-related fitness work in sciences and physical education;
- arts and technology projects with clear links to other areas of the curriculum.
Schools are also encouraged to explore the use of special events and activities (such as an Earth Day, a Healthy Hearts week, a Human Rights day), which provide opportunities for the further development of important issues and ideas. Work of this kind is often student-centered, encourages motivation and creativity and can create enthusiasm and vitality.
Through the perspectives of the subjects involved students will develop a realization that most real-life problems require insights developed from a variety of disciplines. Work of an interdisciplinary nature can also encourage higher level thinking and decision-making skills, the very skills necessary to reach the higher MYP levels of achievement. Interdisciplinary projects can also develop collaborative learning skills in students. Similarly the planning of interdisciplinary work will require teachers to work together as teams and might encourage new teaching approaches and a wide sense of being in a learning community.
Truly meaningful interdisciplinary projects engage the students when they focus on real life issues involving problem-solving, inquiry into complex issues, motivating groups and individual tasks, and authentic culminating activities where students can see a real result to their investigation. In these projects, reflection, self-assessment and peer-assessment are important ways of making the process as important as the product; they help the students to progress further in their approaches to learning and to realize more fully how they have gained a deeper appreciation of issues related to the areas of interaction.
MYP 1 (Sec 1)
Languages (French and Spanish) and Humanities – creating a travel brochure
MYP 2 (Sec 2)
- Mathematics and Science – Egg Drop project
MYP 3 (Sec 3)
- Science and English – creating a zine on a disease for a Grade 6 student
MYP 4 (Sec 4)
- Science and Humanities - researching, presenting and persuading the audience of a chosen power source
MY5 (Sec 5)
- English and History – A unit on Genocide, with the students being taken to the Montreal Memorial Holocaust Centre. The students then have a presentation by a Holocaust survivor and then do a reflection piece.