The project seeks feedback during this session for the development of interdisciplinary high school curriculum materials, including assignment to grade levels, specific course usage, and teacher needs.
There is great interest in interdisciplinary curriculum materials that span different grade levels, courses, and disciplines. The DIMACS Center at Rutgers University has been developing materials in the form of one-week modules for high school students at the interface of mathematics and biology for over five years now and is continuing to do so. The reception to these materials has been enormously positive by both mathematics teachers and biology teachers across the country from small rural schools to large urban schools and everything in between. These materials have been particularly effective at broadening participation of diverse audiences. A second interdisciplinary materials development project for high school students is finishing its second year. This project, The Value of Computational Thinking Across Grade Levels, focuses on computational thinking in a number of different disciplines, such as social studies, mathematics, environmental science, and computer science, among many others. These one-week materials are being field tested nationwide in diverse high schools. Challenges abound when it comes to development of interdisciplinary materials, not the least of which is getting authors with background in each of the disciplines, and authors who understand the pedagogy needed to teach these materials, who can write teachable materials. The difficult development of high school interdisciplinary curriculum materials is compounded by the need to indicate grade level, possible courses—for example AP or other various levels, as well as various disciplines, and usability by teachers not trained in all of the disciplines that make up the content of the materials.
Participants in the session are provided with modules and pieces of modules from both the BioMath project and the Computational Thinking project, as well as snippets from the evaluations of usage in schools. Questions surrounding the instructional materials are provided to help evoke discussion and provide feedback to the developers and other developers who might be participants to help understand possible solutions to the issues named above as well as others.