A lesson in physics may also be a lesson in math, biology, or other other subjects when taught by science teachers connecting lessons across classes.
For example, a group of high school students studied headsets, earbusd, and ear phones. That lesson could have been physics, about the transmission of sound waves.
Or it could have been biology, about the effect of sound on the ear. Or it could have been math, graphing the sound waves.
In fact, it was a lesson team taught by a group of teachers in all those subject areas.
“This is how it’s going to be when they get out in the real world,” said Middletown High School physics teacher Jason Kreidler. “When you get a job, you have to be collaborative. And you have to apply what you learned in one area and apply it to another.”
Kreidler and his co-workers were one team from 10 Delaware schools that brought students to the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering labs at the University of Delaware this week to refine a variety of experiments and projects they had dreamed up over the past few months.
In addition to the headphones experiment, there were students designing and launching water-powered rockets, groups making batteries out of mud and bacteria and others creating and toying with complex pendulums.
The experiments are all designed to meet a deceptively simple goal: teach a lesson that spreads a concept across several different sciences.
“When you introduce logarithms in a math class, it doesn’t seem useful at all,” said Appoquinimink School District math specialist Charlotte Webb. “But think about how often a high schooler uses those headphones. That’s something tangible they can see.”
Science teachers are increasingly turning to the idea of “cross-cutting concepts,” breaking down the traditional silos that have separated the different sciences.