Interdisciplinary teaching means that disciplines connect through a central theme, issue, process or experience and encompass all areas of instruction. Interdisciplinary teams try to teach skills with application beyond one subject, make the curriculum relevant to today's students, and teach students to think and reason. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, interdisciplinary teaching provides conditions under which effective learning occurs. Knowledge gained in one context becomes the basis for knowledge to be acquired in other contexts, both in and out of school. Students learn more when they use their developing critical thinking and language skills to explore and write about what they're learning, and interact with their classmates, teachers and other members of the community. Live From Antarctica 2 provides middle schools (especially) and middle grades teaching teams with a wonderful opportunity to make learning an integrated and contextualized experience.
The interdisciplinary nature of Live From... Modules affords teaching teams an ideal opportunity to showcase their students' efforts to the whole school community, to students' families, and to the community at large. When schools and their stakeholder communities come together to share a unique experience and celebrate a job well-done, the benefits often extend far beyond the immediate event. Advance planning is necessary-scheduling a night on the master school calendar; securing locations (gym, concourse, halls or other public areas), and ensuring enough time for setting up and putting away computers and other displays; enlisting the help of PTA, PTO or other parent volunteers; sending out invitations; arranging for media coverage; even planning light refreshments all require a commitment of time and energy for a grand finale. However, many teachers participating in previous Live From... Modules have reported great success with such events, which both validate and provide closure for students' participation in these projects. Such a public presentation of knowledge gained also showcases in very specific ways the beneficial results of new learning experiences only made possible through the use of computers and telecommunications.
Students will reflect on and summarize what they've learned during the Live From Antarctica 2 Module and develop ideas to share their experiences with others.
Re-post the list of items that students could include in their individual Antarctic Logbooks. Have students review their Logbooks, and discuss how they feel about what they've learned. As they assemble their final Logbooks for self and teacher assessment and review, encourage students to choose examples of their work which they feel best illustrate their own individual achievements and/or challenges.
Have students brainstorm a complete list of activities implemented during the LFA 2 Module in all their classes. Compile list on the chalkboard. Have students identify through discussion those activities they found most meaningful, interesting, fun (or boring!) How and with whom would they like to share what they have experienced and learned? List all suggestions and discuss. If not already suggested, present the idea of organizing a major public event-an "Antarctic Expo".
Design on paper, and then build an Antarctic landscape, or diorama in the gym, cafeteria, or central concourse of your school. Outline the Palmer Peninsula, or the Palmer Station area with its many small islands on floor, create a scale replica of Palmer Station, a deck of the R/V Polar Duke, or an outline of a Zodiac, etc. Situate "poster" or Activity stations appropriately by topic.
Involve all disciplines in the "Antarctic Expo" experience. If possible, enlist aid of Wood Shop, Home Ec., Art and Music staff and classes. Make the evening a truly interdisciplinary Antarctic experience!
Find more about such Closing Activities, and tips from teachers who've
done similar events in the past, via the LFA 2 Website: