Window Into the Classroom: Interdisciplinary Essays
What are Interdisciplinary Essays?
In the middle school students go to classes in 8 discrete subject areas, however it is a fundamental belief that this should be done with interdisciplinary subject areas. This year, I (Jeff) as the 8th grade humanities teacher worked with Linda Gazzola to design an interdisciplinary unit around the enlightenment age in Europe and great mathematical thinkers.
Tell me more about the Interdisciplinary Essays essays and what’s involved this year in writing them.
This year, the essays require students to research a great mathematician and then make a connection to how the thinker was influenced or influenced the enlightenment. Additionally, as we study the pollical philosophies we have students study how the governments they lived under affected their thinking and work.
Jeff, how long have you been teaching the humanities at MIS?
I first started teaching at MIS in 2003, then moved to teaching middle schoolers with our first group of 6th grade in 2005. So, I have been in the middle school humanities for about 14 years now. My role at MIS has changed dramatically over the last 16 years, however being in the classroom has a remained a critical piece of my work here at the school.
What do you like teaching about humanities?
It’s a fascinating discipline because it requires students to think about and develop skills in an array of areas like math, literature, philosophy, and language. Combining these areas will allow kids to see and understand the connections between people and events over history.