• Ellen

How Subjects Inter-Relate

Did you know that different disciplines ( or subjects ) have topics and problems that lay in-between multiple subject areas? These problems could be trans-disciplinary, multi-disciplinary or interdisciplinary.

Sustainability is one of the best examples of this, as it requires research in a multitude of areas and is a broad problem which covers many different topics within it. Disciplines that might be required: Engineering, all types of science (environmental, medical, marine biology etc...), sociology, geography, history and many other disciplines could factor in. For example, we need to look at the past and what has worked and what hasn't, hence history, we need science and engineering to explore new ideas that could improve current sustainability; and to see how our environment is currently being affected, sociology and geography to look at the real world impact of these innovative ideas.

One way of bringing interdisciplinary learning to a classroom (aimed at schools) would be to pick a topic such as sustainability, global warming, world hunger or poverty (there is a whole host of problems that could be used these are just some ideas to get you started). Once you have chosen your topic, ask students to create a mind map of topics and disciplines they believe are related to the problem. Then ask them to write a paragraph or bullet point how the ideas on their mind map are related to the topic. They could do this in a simplistic manner like I did above or they could go and research more in-depth how these subjects and ideas are related to the main topic. Then get them to share ideas with their peers and see how their ideas and disciplines they have researched differ. You could get them to create presentations, posters or even mini scrap books/ journals to show what they have learnt.

The main point of this is to help students learn to connect various disciplines to one larger topic, I have found through studying liberal arts, it has helped me to see the bigger picture. Whilst bringing more topics together gives you a broader knowledge in general, it also allows you to gain a deeper knowledge of specific problems.

In short:

  1. Pick a topic

  2. Get students to mind map related topics and subjects

  3. Look at how these ideas are inter-related

  4. Share ideas with peers

  5. Collate their ideas to show what has been learnt

If you try this or have ideas/ questions let me know! Also with everything going at the minute you could try this as a home school activity. It is one way to learn about multiple subjects at once in a different way than you usually would (unless your a liberal arts student!). That's all for today.😊

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