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Taking an interdisciplinary approach to learning

Some of us attended schools where we learned only math in math class, learned only to draw in art class, and focused solely on literature in English class. But today’s classrooms are much more varied, and many teachers use materials to help students learn multifaceted lessons – often spanning two subjects that aren’t commonly connected! This interdisciplinary approach has a number of benefits. First, it helps students connect with lessons regardless of their interests. For example, an artistic student and a math-focused student might both enjoy a color by number project that includes simple equations. Second, they can engage both sides of a student's brain. Incorporating creative elements into more standard lessons can build important connections that support lifelong learning.

CEF funds a number of grants each year that help teachers impart lessons across disciplines. Here are a few exciting examples from the 2022 grant cycle!

Creating a larger picture

At Tara Oaks Elementary, students are benefiting from Ms. Bibb’s mosaic grant. Her “Stick Together” grant project included mosaic pieces that create a beautiful picture as students work together to match letters and decipher colors. This is an excellent example of a lesson that crosses disciplinary boundaries! Students are working toward a larger artistic goal while strengthening language and color theory skills. As an added bonus, they are building teamwork and collaboration skills. We can’t wait to see Ms. Bibbs’ class finish this work of art!

Curiosity explodes at Crosswind

STEM is inherently interdisciplinary – students that work on STEM projects are engaging with science, technology, engineering and math, often simultaneously! But, Ms. Shaver at Crosswind took her approach to the next level by incorporating problem-solving into her STEM activities! With the “Curiosity, Exploration, BOOM!” grant, she added critical thinking, math, problem-solving and language puzzles to her classroom. She shared that the activities provided by CEF’s investment added excitement to the day. We love providing materials that promote education and are engaging for students!

Building connections

You might be familiar with Tinker Toys – small gears and connecting pieces that can bring a child’s imaginary play world to life! But what you might not realize is how they can be used in the classroom to impart important life lessons. Ms. Plunk at Schilling Farms submitted her “Building the Future Workforce” grant, which included a set of Tinker Toys for her classroom. With these new materials, she is helping her students learn lessons about structural integrity and building, but she’s also imparting lessons about collaboration, cooperation and teamwork. By combining soft skills education with more traditional lessons, she is setting her students up for success later in life!


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