One of the aims of international education is to nurture our young people, developing them into productive, global citizens who can use their talents, knowledge and learned skills to support themselves and others. These learned skills can be seen on a day-to-day basis in the most mundane of places. What skills do you use when you make a purchase at a supermarket? Analyzing the health benefits of food, Science. Running a cost analysis in your head, Maths. Considering the implications of purchasing locally sourced goods, Geography. Seeking more information from a worker, the Languages.
Cross-curricular learning aims to unite concepts and skills from various disciplines and to step away from isolated learning within disciplines that often leads to fragmented knowledge development. Teachers see increased motivation within students who participate in cross-curricular learning as well as genuine teamwork that can pave the way for new discoveries. When students learn how to apply their knowledge they begin to see the value in learning and are more likely to become life-long learners. A well-planned cross-curricular learning opportunity opens the door for students to develop critical thinking, generate meaning, draw conclusions and make predictions. This open-minded approach removes the limits of what the student can achieve and learn.
Recently, the Science department has been in collaboration with the Humanities department, making available a cross-curricular opportunity for some of our year 7 students. With energy being a topic in both the year 7 Science and the year 7 Geography curriculum, the teachers of Y7A decided to combine their expertise and set teams of students the task of creating an infographic related to one renewable and one non-renewable energy resource. Once completed it was time for the teams to participate in a balloon debate, in which they needed to convince a panel of experts that their energy resource was the best. 5 rounds of structured debate incurred with students drawing knowledge from their Science and Geography lessons as well as demonstrating skills gained in Art, ICT and Language lessons. A student within the class commented that, “It was a cool experience that allowed us to view the same topic from two different perspectives”.
This cross-curricular learning opportunity is only one of many projects the science department has provided in recent academic years. Others have included:
The study of Brazilian Biomes during a Year 7 museum visit (Brazilian Social Studies)
Scientific language development in Year 7 and Year 9 (Modern Foreign Languages)
The study of nature during a year 8 educational visit (The Arts)
The study of Social Darwinism in Year 9 (History)
STEAM Week (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths)
As we continue to develop these opportunities for our students and integrate them into the curriculum, it is essential that we allow the students to reflect on their experiences and celebrate the successes they have in cross-curricular learning.