Tag: secondary IDL

S2 IDL at Braes High School

Fiona Malcolm, Faculty Head of Social Subjects and RMPS at Braes HS worked with a range of colleagues to create an interdisciplinary unit of work entitled Braes Anatomy. Over the course of last session, all S2 pupils experienced connected learning across science, history and religious, moral and philosophical education. The theme which connected this learning was vaccination and its impact on society past and present. In science, pupils discovered how vaccination works with the body’s immune system, and in RMPS they explored the ethics of the ways in which vaccines are produced and used. During history lessons, pupils explored the pioneering role of Edward Jenner and his discovery of the first “vaccinations” as the cure for smallpox.

The overarching learning intentions for this connected learning were:

By the end of these courses, I will:

Be able to develop an understanding of medical knowledge and innovation in the past and present

Be able to develop an understanding of social, moral and ethical views on medical discoveries, past and present.

The project was launched during a history lesson, then each teacher taught their subject content discretely. Click here to see the introductory teaching presentation and here to see the final one for pupils. Pupils then used the 2 weeks leading up to their Easter holiday in their RMPS lessons to begin the task below – they completed this as a homework task. Click here to see the overall IDL homework task.

You are part of the original scientific team that discovered HPV. This is the most important scientific discovery on cancer research in the past 5 years. As such, your evidence is in demand. To keep your funding, you have to produce an article for Medical News Today sharing your findings on HPV.

You must consider the social, moral and ethical implications of your research, including the historical background.

One challenging element of the collaboration for staff was their shared responsibility for marking the pupils’ work. To help with this, each department prepared assessment guidance on their subject content – click here for science, here for history, and here for RMPS key learning points. Fiona and colleagues are still working on how best to manage the joint assessment and maintain their focus on teaching for deep understanding and higher order thinking in line with Curriculum for Excellence ideals.

Staff involved in the project are keen to develop it further this session because it obviously engaged pupils’ interest in all 3 subjects. By making the overlap between subjects evident to the pupils, staff increased the coherence and relevance of learning. Pupils have responded positively and enthusiastically, and can better appreciate how curricular learning in school is actually used and applied in an interconnected way in the workplace and by society. Despite the challenges of finding time to communicate and co-ordinate their work, Fiona and her colleagues have designed connected learning which uses an interesting theme to integrate effective assessment, and develop a shared set of skills, knowledge and understanding for their pupils.

STEM support materials for Interdisciplinary Learning

STEM Central is a very rich source of support materials for discrete and interdisciplinary learning which develops understanding of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Click here to explore the range of learning journeys and contexts available. These resources also support planning of learning which meets recommendations of the Learning for Sustainability Report. Click here to view a second level learning journey linked to the theme of Using Water, and here to view a third level example. These documents demonstrate how to bundle related experiences and outcomes across the STEM subjects. They also show the prior learning required for the study, and the skills being developed. There are suggested success criteria, learning experiences and evidence of learning and next steps. Most learning journeys have additional “challenges” which  follow on and allow pupils to apply and deepen their understanding using an unfamiliar context – click here to see an example. The STEM website also has excellent information on how higher order thinking skills are integrated into the learning journeys.

Senior Interdisciplinary Learning Partnership

In early September 2014, Yvonne McBlain of Falkirk Council Education Services met  with Alan Christie, Community Engagement Manager and his colleague David Love of Falkirk Council Housing Services to explore potential partnership working. Alan and David had noticed links between the pupil entitlements of our education services policy Learning to Achieve, and their Housing Services’ Tenants’ & Residents Participation Strategy 2013-16. They hope to involve Falkirk young people from S5 & 6 in a Stepping up to Scrutiny Course (click to view) they intend to run between February and March 2015. The course is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Housing – level 3 (GCSE equivalent) Award in Resident Scrutiny http://glo.li/Z6MOgx . The course  takes around 5 days over 8-12 weeks and pupils will work with politicians, senior managers, residents and employment training unit participants. This would therefore be a very diverse working group which could significantly enrich the experience of the young people involved.

Initial discussion between Alan, David and Yvonne suggested that this opportunity might enhance and enrich existing course work in Modern Studies. Yvonne will also consult school pupil council representatives about the opportunity  and alert colleagues in a pastoral or careers advice role. Participation in this course offers valuable chances to challenge and apply a range of transferable and higher order skills such as: development of text analysis, interpersonal skills, team working, and a culminating task which will require pupils to collaboratively evaluate a range of data and apply systems thinking to their suggested action plan.

What is interdisciplinary learning?

 Education Scotland states that  interdisciplinary learning: “enables teachers and learners to make connections across learning through exploring clear and relevant links across the curriculum. It supports the use and application of what has been taught and learned in new and different ways. It provides opportunities for deepening learning, for example through answering big questions, exploring an issue, solving problems or completing a final project.”

The importance of interdisciplinary learning as one of the 4 contexts for learning is highlighted by this quotation. Education Scotland has just published assessment and moderation exemplar materials which show how teachers carefully select a relevant and related “bundle” of experiences and outcomes. These  exemplars (click here to view the collection) provide an assessment overview of the significant aspects of learning being developed  in one subject area, but almost always show the teacher making a type 1 connection between one or more subject areas and/or with the cross-cutting themes of Curriculum for Excellence.. Click here to see how E & Os within HWB & LIT were linked at early level. Click here to see how higher order reading skills were integrated with contexts for learning at first level. To see how modern language vocubulary skills and thinking skills within literacy were linked at second level, click here. To explore how RME & Buddhism were linked to modern life at third level, click here. These do not prescribe the way these things must be done – they simply show how teachers have planned, delivered and assessed linked learning  for their pupils. They may act as useful examples of very focused IDL which provides breadth, challenge and/or application opportunities for pupils.

Graeme HS Meta Literacy Event

On 18th June 2014, Graeme High School staged a meta-literacy event involving subjects from each of the 8 curricular areas within Curriculum for Excellence. The whole of the new S2 year group attended this event, with new S6 pupils acting as facilitators at each of the workshop stations. The event was a culmination of development work by teachers in every subject area looking to extend literacy across learning strategies. Click here to see the rota of activities.

Caroline Harper, principal teacher of English worked with colleagues in school to develop teaching strategies which enriched and deepened awareness of  literacy across learning and helped pupils transfer and apply their skills more effectively.  

The activities experienced by pupils during the meta-literacy event developed skills such as: mind-mapping, note-making, summarising, visual words, using “post its” and extending vocabulary. Each subject area devised a task which was relevant to their course content, and pupils rotated each 15 minutes. The activities were facilitated very ably by the S 6 pupils and school staff  visited the event to see how other departments integrated these literacy skills. The event provided valuable ideas which could be applied in a range of contexts and shared practice very effectively.

Pupils were engaged throughout and gave very positive verbal feedback. The literacy experience was enriched by this event and pupil awareness of how to apply their literacy skills was enhanced. There was a lovely collaborative and exciting atmosphere during the event which added to the positive ethos within the school. Caroline and her colleagues were pleased that the event widened their exemplification of literacy across learning, and acted as a showcase for staff development work. Read more in Falkirk’s Literacy Strategy blog http://glo.li/1luPT26

What is “Interdisciplinarity”?

Anne Pearson, Acting Head of Service for Falkirk Council Education Services found this interesting video clip (click below to view). Myra Strober of Stanford University shares her interpretation of interdisciplinarity, its current influence and application within education, and how it is best fostered.

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