When learning about and through the different subject areas, student acquire particular skills related to that subject. In language arts, students become literate as they are exposed to text through a variety of genres, meanwhile in math, students become numerate as they begin to master place value, for example. And in order to conduct meaningful and authentic inquiry (and lifelong learners!) within the classroom, the IB philosophy supports transdisciplinary teaching and learning, or teaching and learning relevant to all of the subject areas.
Interwoven in 2nd grade’s How We Express Ourselves unit, our students inquire about how People work to meet personal, financial, and societal needs (the unit’s central idea). Students learned about the characteristics of persuasive texts in Language Arts , how producers and consumers are interdependent within a society in Social Studies, addition and subtraction of money, and spending and saving (financial literacy TEKS) in Math .
The unit ends with our annual Market Day, a culmination and synthesis of all of the transdisciplinary learning that took place over the past six weeks. The students are required to create a product and advertisement to be on display for sale on Market Day. Students learn the value of spending and saving their Spicewood Dollars as they haggle for a variety of homemade goods including picture frames, flower pots, lightsabers, jewelry, etc.
After Market Day, students returned to their classrooms to debrief about the activity, reflect on their experience, and make further connections back to their subject-related learning. What a meaningful and memorable transdisciplinary unit!