Students are often reluctant or unable to transfer knowledge across subject areas or to use knowledge from one subject area to help them solve new problems in other areas. In actuality, math and science go hand-in-hand, and social studies can never be understood without reading authentic documents and literature from different time periods and perspectives. With interdisciplinary instruction, the subject areas are woven together and explored through an overarching theme or concept. In real life we are not able to isolate math into 45 minutes of our day. Instead, we use math to help us solve everyday problems in the kitchen, in the garden, and for many of us at our jobs.
Brain research has shown that information in our brains is organized in schematic structures. These structures are made up of interconnected bits of information and serve as a framework for the knowledge we acquire. When a learner’s knowledge is connected, it is much more likely that they will apply the prior knowledge to a wide variety of new situations. They will acquire new information in a way that is more accessible and will be better able to relate it to previously acquired knowledge.
With Moving Beyond the Page, students learn about patterns in math, science, social studies, and even literature. Because of this, they are much more likely to “see” these patterns when they encounter new situations. Since students study patterns across subject areas, they are able to make connections and understand that patterns can be found in many areas of their lives.
Interdisciplinary instruction allows students to understand the interconnectedness of the disciplines and makes learning more meaningful and relevant as fascinating connections are made across the subject areas.