Energy as a multidisciplinary concept in K-12 education – a case study
Although one of key ideas behind the introduction of STEM (or STEAM) as a unifying concept, is to emphasize the interdisciplinary character of many real world problems, there is a non-trivial educational challenge in exceeding existing subject boundaries and implementing multidisciplinary activities into the classroom. The present case study covers the design, implementation and evaluation of a multidisciplinary unit in a Finnish lower secondary school, grade 9. The entire multidisciplinary unit was organized around the central concept of energy, and the present study focuses on an activity within that unit that had as theme how energy can be used to analyze both living and non-living systems. Evaluation of the activity was done with pre and post student questionnaires, analyzing the students’ written poster presentations and focus group interviews done with a voluntary group of students after the whole unit. Our results show both the challenges and the possible gains of working in a multidisciplinary way. However, to succeed serious thought has to be invested in both identifying core concepts that gain by being analyzed in an interdisciplinary way, and in the design of appropriate learning activities around these core concepts. Our study is as an effort in this direction.
Copyright (c) 2021 Mats Braskén, Ray Pörn
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