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Interdisciplinary Project Ideas

Amazing Alaskan Animals—This project immerses elementary students in a study of Alaska’s animals in their environment. Students will contribute to a “big book” highlighting the animal they choose.
http://teachersnetwork.org/impactii/profiles02_03/alaska.htm

Buying a Car—

  • Math: Interest rates, incentives, price.
  • Science: Technology involved in airbags, gas mileage, brakes.
  • Social studies: History of company, Kelly Blue Book.
  • Communication arts: Advertising, information, warranty, etc.
  • Reading: Search Internet for information. Ask sales staff questions.
  • Activity: Go to car dealer and go through process of picking out car/paperwork.

Chef for a Week—Groups will plan a week of lunches for the school cafeteria (or to bring to school as brown bag). Daily menus must include all food groups and a designated healthy choice. Submit menu, cost for 100 students and prices to be charged. (Cost adapted if bringing own lunches.) Menu can show calories. Poll can be conducted to identify popular choices before planning. Be prepared to present the plan to cafeteria head or cooks. Healthy choice must be explained nutritionally.

Exemplary Projects—Includes projects of varying content including a mock trial around the Amistad.
www.wested.org/pblnet/exemplary_projects.html

Faces to the Window: The Construction Project—What’s happening in YOUR neighborhood? Construction taking place next to the school or in the neighborhood is a good foundation for learning about the complexity of building.
http://ecrp.uiuc.edu/v4n1/berry.html  

Foot to Height—Students combine mathematics with forensic science to study how bones of the feet can reveal interesting facts about a person. www.cyberbee.com/whodunnit/foot.html

Forensics 101—Middle school students learn about forensic anthropology and solve mysteries using hands-on activities from math, science, language arts, art and technology. A series of four forensics projects are also available to download at http://teachersnetwork.org/readysettech/sedewitch/forensics.htm.

Let’s Go Shopping—In this project, elementary school students set up a classroom store. Students learn about the different roles and responsibilities connected to running and stocking a store and of being a customer and paying for merchandise. http://teachersnetwork.org/impactii/profiles01_02/Greenberg.htm  

Ohio Resource Center—High school-level instructional units from exploring the effect of different treads on tires to planning a wedding reception.
http://pathways.ohiorc.org/

Personal Finance—Understanding the use of money in the world has many possible lenses which can be combined in a project or investigated separately.

  • Math: Set up a budget given a salary. What must come out of it? Rent, gas, food, utilities, medical expenses, recreation, clothing
  • Social studies: How citizenship affects your living, taxes, employment, choices on where you want to live.
  • Communication arts: Make phone calls to check on setting up living arrangements, etc.
  • Reading and writing: Applications, filling out forms, use newspapers/ads.
  • Science: Tools to tend to house and yard, energy conservation.

Recipe—

  • Math: Ingredients, fractions.
  • Science: Baking, physical/chemical.
  • Language arts: Write paragraph.
  • Social studies: Where ingredients came from, demographics.
  • Activity: Make (cook/bake) the recipe item. Scale up or down for more or fewer people.

Soccer Field Development—Designing a soccer (or other playing) field could involve:

  • Math: Construction and design of the field, how much grass seed; survey and leveling of land, drainage, irrigation and seating arrangements.
  • Science: Soil testing, pick test for drainage, fertility of land and amount; use of chemicals, turf growing season and research on correct types.
  • Social studies: Civic organization – cooperative fund-raising and economics of the use of the field.
  • Communication arts: Press releases and justification to school board, community, etc. Explanations of the what, why and how of the project.
  • Grant development: Communication with other agencies that have completed this project, research on size, etc. for the field.

Story Quilting—This literacy-based project integrates social studies, math, art and technology. Late elementary students start the project though a piece of literature and extend their learning to research the author, the time period and more. http://teachersnetwork.org/impactii/profiles00_01/Espinoza.htm

Tour de France—Integrated learning using the Tour de France (Or, the Alaskan sled dog race or a triathlon, etc.)

  • Social studies: Geography (trace the path), topography, cities, historical significance and cultural impacts.
  • Math: Routing and distance, km – mi conversion; endurance ratio (pacing).
  • Science: Bike mechanics (gears, correct tires, pedals, handle bars vs seat heights, etc.).
  • English/reading: Foreign language (linguistics) newspapers/magazines, journaling of what has occurred, diary, etc.

Witness for the Prosecution—High school students take on the role of investigative journalist and read the play Witness for the Prosecution by Agatha Christie. After each act of the play, students write news stories using facts from the play.
www.teachnet-lab.org/fklane/pmaslow/witness.htm