Integrated Learning: One Project, Several Disciplines (Transcript)
Allyson: The level of student engagement here is incredible, and it's just the feeling you get when you walk in the building.
We're a career and technical high school. The students come here because they have an interest in something and they're able to make connections with their technical path, and then they learn how to apply it through the math, the sciences and the English, so that you have this really well rounded, interested, high level student who's doing something that they love.
Gregory: I teach my architecture classes in a way where students get to apply the relationships to academics. They also get to understand a bit about art, a bit about design, a little bit about everything really.
One thing I'd like to do first is to sort of recap so that we can knock these site-specific aspects of the project.
For the past six years, we've been going to the Pocono Environmental Education Center. I team up with a history teacher and a science teacher for that large scale project.
Jamie: It is a national park in Poconos, Pennsylvania.
Gregory: I decided to have students demonstrate their understanding of architecture by designing a pavilion that would be site-specific to the Pocono Environment Education Center.
Cathy: My class is involved in the project, just by looking at national parks and conservation of different habitats, different species.
Jamie: I'm touching on the history of national parks and how they were founded, and how without Teddy Roosevelt, there would be no national parks.
What I want you to do, start researching different national parks and see if there are historical monuments within them. And I want you to talk about the different features and how does that change the features of the park?
Gregory: Prior to going on the trip, we'll hold a seminar with students to give them some connections to that trip, so that we can bring that experience back to the classroom.
Cathy: Having input from the different subjects areas provides something that maybe wasn't thought of originally.
Gregory: Today, Miss Velasquez and Miss Yuhas are also here to give their perspective on things.
Jamie: This and this remind me of Epcot Center, that big dome. This design and that shape.
Some students want to focus on structures and monuments that they've seen in the past. Some students just want feedback, so they have three different teachers that they can speak to.
Cathy: Some of the students were working on a lot of designs and incorporated a lot of biology concepts.
Enzo: So first I was working with a dandelion, so then I was like, can you kind of see it? It's like a sphere, but then I was like, oh, this looks better flipped over. So I wanted to make the water filter down with these pipes.
Gregory: Collaborative projects are really used to bring everything together to show relevancy and to break down the silos between the different courses of study.
Allyson: If I have a cohort of teachers working together, I give them common planning time, so that they can specifically plan based around the vocation. So the technical instructor will say, "This is what I'm doing. How can you contribute to this project?" We don't force it, we find ways to support it.
Jamie: Someone will say what they're doing in their class and it will spark a conversation and then someone will say, "Oh, I'm doing this in my class." And if something can tie in, let's do it.
Cathy: It's good for them to get a different perspective on topics from the different areas.
Jamie: Students come to the class with more knowledge. They're getting different mindsets, different viewpoints and different material.
Allyson: We're trying to show them how they need to be able to think critically, think creatively and independently, while working in the team.