In an interdisciplinary unit of study on the different kinds of mammals, teachers are asked to come together to develop a curriculum unit of study that not only explores what a mammal is, but also seeks to answer the following key questions, using teacher inputs for curriculum mapping purposes:
- What is a mammal, and what are their specific characteristics? (ELA/Reading Connection).
- What are the different kinds of mammals you may find that are indigenous, or common, to South American nations? (Social Studies connection).
- Name three mammals that live in different types of habitats, or living environments (Science connection).
- Draw a picture or use the individual art supplies provided to portray your favorite type of mammal in its natural habitat (Art connection).
- List ways in which different kinds of mammals, including humans and animals, exercise to stay fit and physically healthy (Physical Education/Health connection).
- Measure the average heights of the different kinds of mammals with a ruler, and chart them on the bar graph on the worksheet provided (Math connection).
- List 1 or more ways we can help preserve or save a mammal’s natural living habitat (Science/ELA connection).
- Use specific music, picture or video recognition software on their personal computers, such as Windows Live PC Movie Maker or Apple’s GarageBand program, students are asked to record and produce a song about their favorite mammal, and include the mammal’s traits and characteristics in their song (Art/Music/Computer/ELA Connection).
- After reading about the average life spans of a list of mammals, students are then asked to chart their life spans on a timeline, from shortest life span to longest, and discuss the many factors that could contribute to their different life spans (Reading/ELA/Math connection).
- Students are provided with a list of four mammals, and are then grouped according to the type of mammal they selected (Group 1: Humans, Group 2, Polar Bears, etc…). Each group is responsible for researching background information and characteristics about their group’s mammal, along with how the animal survives, and activities they enjoy in their natural habitat, and ways that their habitat(s) are threatened on a regular basis, and what can be done to prevent future threats to their habitat(s) in a culminating presentation (ELA/History/Social Studies/Health/STEM Connection).
Teachers can collaborate with other specialists to develop a curriculum unit of study that integrates many different subject areas, and also helps them to identify, on an individual level, a student’s strengths and weaknesses due to the different questions and multidisciplinary topic areas. Teachers can also use this approach to refine teaching areas, and help students who are struggling with certain areas.
When teachers work together and collaborate to identify key learning goals, and refine those goals based upon their students’ work and observations, they are better able to take a team approach to not only identify key learning areas, but reinforce each other’s learning by taking an interdisciplinary, whole team approach to learning that builds upon each other’s concepts and helps students master learning objectives more effectively.