At BWYA we are trying to develop well-rounded students, who don’t just know facts, but can use their knowledge to inform all that they do. To that end, we’re very excited about interdisciplinary learning and how it is incorporated into both the IB programmes. To find out more we asked Jane Xia, our MYP programme coordinator, to help us understand how Interdisciplinary Units (IDUs) in the MYP programme work.

BWYA students have exposure to interdisciplinary learning units every year level. Some grade 8 students recently asked me a very good question: “Ms. Jane, why do we learn interdisciplinary units?” To answer it in simple words – interdisciplinary learning units are fostering holistic learning and higher-order thinking.

A quick example…

We might comment on a bowl of noodles as “delicious”, or “very well cooked”. However, after going through interdisciplinary thoughts, we would be able to touch the essential characteristics of the bowl and food by relating them to knowledge domains such as the sciences, or the arts. We might then be able to cook a new bowl of noodles changing the scientific factors behind the process, or serve it with an artistic, personal or cultural expression. Thereby critical thinking and new creations may then come from the realisation of things around us, especially complex issues and ideas.

A recent IDU project at BWYA was our Grade 9 adventure-story collaboration between the English and maths departments. Working in small teams, students used software to design choose-your-own-adventure stories based on the books they had been reading in English class, and then analysed their stories by applying the knowledge of logic that they had learned in maths class.

The goal of the unit was for students to see how narrative can be used as a framework to better understand mathematical logic, and how logic can be a useful tool for analysing plot and structure in fiction. Students demonstrated great imagination and creativity in designing their stories, and enjoyed playing through their classmates’ creations once the unit was over!

Another recent IDU project with our Grade 6 students was called ‘Water Project’, with the science and individuals & societies classes. In science class, student groups learned about water purification, whilst the individuals & societies class covered human interactions with water sources. Each group gave a presentation on their research, action and reflection. They also provided different solutions they could identify that would benefit real life situations. This also opened lots of avenues for their future service actions in order to help others.

We hope with this quick introduction, you now understand a bit more about interdisciplinary learning at BWYA. Not only does it teach students how to pass an exam, but also how to work in the real world, where the answers often aren’t so simple!

Why not find out more about the Middle Years Programme at BWYA here.

Above: Grade 6 Water Project presentations