Bringing K12 interdisciplinary instruction into the classroom encourages students to engage in higher order thinking tasks and pushes students to apply skills from different subject areas. Let’s explore this idea of intertwining disciplines while teaching and the benefits it can have on the learning process.

“Interdisciplinary instruction fosters the acquisition of foundational knowledge, promotes integration of ideas from multiple disciplines and provides insight on how to apply knowledge all of which advance a student’s understanding of how to learn.” (SERC Portal For Educators, 2021). Fink (2003) identifies 6 elements of the educational process that lead to significant learning and each of these elements is a common characteristic of interdisciplinary instruction:

  1. Foundational Knowledge – obtaining information and understanding ideas
  2. Application – understanding how and when to use skills learned
  3. Integration – the ability to link and connect ideas
  4. Human Dimension – recognizing the social and personal effects of issues
  5. Caring – identifying the role of feelings and interests
  6. Learning How-to-Learn- acquiring knowledge of the learning process

Studies also show that students bring multiple intelligences into the learning process and the classroom, thus K12 interdisciplinary education and connecting different frameworks can enhance student engagement. Implementing interdisciplinary instruction in the classroom is a natural way for teachers to motivate students as the framework opens up avenues for student interest. 1

Connecting Disciplines That Promote K12 Interdisciplinary Instruction

EVERFI’s Financial Literacy and STEM education courses encourage students to apply skills from different disciplines and engage students in rich learning experiences. See below for examples of specific EVERFI lessons from the Financial Literacy and STEM verticals that represent K12 interdisciplinary education.

FutureSmart (Grades 6-8): Growing a Business –  Financial Education for Students

Students learn all about business growth as they help a business owner with various tasks, such as calculating monthly profit and loss and strategizing how to save for new capital!

Learning Objectives:

  • Analyze a budget to calculate revenue, expenses, and profit/loss.
  • Compare different interest-bearing accounts, based on their interest rate, liquidity, minimum balance requirements and fee structure.
  • Summarize the effect of inflation and deflation on the price of goods and purchasing power over time.

Standards/Disciplines Addressed:

Jump$tart Coalition’s National Standards for K-12 Personal Finance Education2
Common Core Mathematics Standards3, National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies4, Career Exploration

EVERFI Financial Literacy (High School): Credit and Debt – Financial Education for Students

Students explore all-things credit and debt, which they learn can either positively or negatively impact their spending strategy!

Learning Objectives:

  • Compare and select credit cards based on features and impact to personal financial plan.
  • Explain how the terms of a loan can affect the cost of credit.
  • Develop strategies to manage debt and understand the consequences of not managing debt wisely.

Standards/Disciplines Addressed:

Jump$tart Coalition’s National Standards for K-12 Personal Finance Education,
Common Core Mathematics Standards, National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies

Future Goals Hockey Scholar (Grades 4-7): The Shot – STEM Career Exploration

Students are tasked with hitting the puck across the ice such that it will stop at a specific spot. However, the friction of the ice changes depending on how fresh and how cold the ice is, and therefore, students must adjust their shot force and the friction of the ice to successfully land the puck in the target area!

Learning Objectives:

  • Explain how different forces will influence the motion of the puck.
  • Identify the differences in an object’s motion when forces are balanced or unbalanced.
  • To describe Newton’s 1st Law (an object in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force) and how it applies to real-life scenarios.

Standards/Disciplines Addressed:

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)5, Common Core Mathematics Standards, Career Exploration

EVERFI Data Science Foundations (High School): Reporting and Acting on Data –
Data Analysis Activities for High School Students

Students will understand the different uses of dashboards and reports, then determine which is better to use for a variety of audiences!

Learning Objectives:

  • Define data visualization, including why different displays are needed for different types of data.
  • Describe descriptive analytics and the different approaches and tools.
  • Describe predictive analytics and the different approaches and tools.
  • Explain how to visualize data using various types of displays.

Standards/Disciplines Addressed:

Common Core Standards in Statistics and Probability, International Standards for Technology in Education (ISTE) Standards6, Career Exploration

1: https://serc.carleton.edu/sp/library/interdisciplinary/why.html

2: https://3yxm0a3wfgvh5wbo7lvyyl13-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/2017_NationalStandardsBook.pdf

3: http://www.corestandards.org

4: https://www.socialstudies.org/standards/national-curriculum-standards-social-studies-introduction

5: https://www.nextgenscience.org/search-standards?keys=law+of+reflection

6: https://www.iste.org/standards/iste-standards-for-teachers