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K16 Collaborations: Bridging the Two Cultures Divide - Session Notes

Minisymposium 2008 on K-16 Collaborations

Science and Humanities Education: Learning From Each Other?

Program Notes

(see red entries for links to material generated during the session and after)

A Broad Context

Life should be fun ... shouldn't be boring
Tola Oronti - 2008
Our educational system fails to teach science in a way that allows students to integrate it into their lives.

when students get to college, they hear a couple of speeches telling them to ask the big questions, and when they graduate, they hear a couple more speeches telling them to ask the big questions. And in between, they spend four years taking courses that train them to ask the little questions—specialized courses, taught by specialized professors, aimed at specialized students.

it’s hard to build your soul when everyone around you is trying to sell theirs

Something isn't right, and everybody KNOWS it isn't right, and it seems like that's just the way it has to be, and we'd better learn to live with it. What's wrong is that there aren't enough people THINKING around here, and there are reasons for that ... we all got it into our heads that thinking isn't a good idea. Some people don't trust it at all, because they think if other people did it, it would make their own jobs harder, and other people sort of like it, but are a little embarrassed about that and think its a luxury, something you should do privately in a corner and then only if you've gotten your real work done first. Almost everybody believes that its dangerous, and risky, and things might go wrong if other people think too much, and maybe even if they think too much.

Not Just My Problem, Friend - 1991

I believe the intellectual life of the whole of western society is increasingly being split into two groups. When I say the intellectual life, I mean to include also a large part of our practical life, because I should be the last person to suggest the two can at the deepest level be distinguished ... Literary intellectuals at one pole - at the other scientists ... Between the two a gulf of mutual incomprehension - sometimes (particularly among the young) hostitility and dislike, but most of all lack of understanding ... This polarisation is sheer loss to us all. To us as people, and to our society. It is at the same time practical and intellectual and creative loss, and I repeat that it is false to imagine that those three considerations are clearly separable.

The Two Cultures - 1959

This is really interesting from my perspective as a teacher of 18th century British literature, but I also wonder how well this model would work in a class devoted to subject matter that is largely un-empirical and representational, like, say historical studies of literature, art, philosophy, etc.

David Mazella - 2008
continuing discussion

Free associate (outcome here)

sciences for me?
sciences in the classroom?

humanities for me?
humanities in the classroom?

take science and humanities together, what else is there for me? in the classroom?

Small group (group reports in on-line forum starting here)

Do the same arguments hold in all of the following cases?

Science is the greatest of all adventure stories, one that’s been unfolding for thousands of years as we have sought to understand ourselves and our surroundings. Science needs to be taught to the young and communicated to the mature in a manner that captures this drama. We must embark on a cultural shift that places science in its rightful place alongside music, art and literature as an indispensable part of what makes life worth living ... Put a Little Science in Your Life Music is the greatest of all adventure stories, one that’s been unfolding for thousands of years as we have sought to understand ourselves and our surroundings. Music needs to be taught to the young and communicated to the mature in a manner that captures this drama. We must embark on a cultural shift that places music in its rightful place alongside science, art and literature as an indispensable part of what makes life worth living.

Literature is the greatest of all adventure stories, one that’s been unfolding for thousands of years as we have sought to understand ourselves and our surroundings. Literature needs to be taught to the young and communicated to the mature in a manner that captures this drama. We must embark on a cultural shift that places literature in its rightful place alongside science, art and music as an indispensable part of what makes life worth living.

Art is the greatest of all adventure stories, one that’s been unfolding for thousands of years as we have sought to understand ourselves and our surroundings. Art needs to be taught to the young and communicated to the mature in a manner that captures this drama. We must embark on a cultural shift that places art in its rightful place alongside science, literature and music as an indispensable part of what makes life worth living.

Social sciences are the greatest of all adventure stories, ones that’s been unfolding for thousands of years as we have sought to understand ourselves and our surroundings. Social sciences needs to be taught to the young and communicated to the mature in a manner that captures this drama. We must embark on a cultural shift that places art in its rightful place alongside science, literature and music as an indispensable part of what makes life worth living.

Sciences from the humanities? Humanities from the science?

Representing science in words and images

Some thoughts so far

Observations, interpretations, metaphors, stories

Disentangling observations/interpretations - generally useful?

Individual thoughts (in on-line forum starting here)

What are the pros and cons of simile/metaphor/story telling in teaching science?

What are the pros and cons of an explicit observation/interpretation cycle in teaching reading, writing, art, music, etc?

How could you use things/practices from other classes in teaching science?

How could you use things/practices from science in teaching other classes?

Could you teach outside your grade level/discipline?

General Discussion and Reflections (in on-line forum starting here)

Would we/our students be better off with a less fragmented curriculum at all levels?

What would be the organizing principles of a less fragmented curriculum?


Susan Dorfman's picture

Drawings/Written words-Which is more limited?

Interesting article in the Sunday NYTimes Education Life section sent to me by a biology teacher through the NSTA Listserv


The article supports the idea that drawings are more limiting in that people can get misconceptions from an illustration.

Anne Dalke's picture

zeroing in on what words conceal

It's so intriguing to me, Susan, to recognize our divergent interpretations of that little essay you flagged, "At the Drawing Board" (for which many thanks!).

What I learned from reading it was precisely the opposite of what you saw: it seemed to me that it was saying that having students make illustrations can be more instructive than having them write--"If you make them do a picture, you can zero in on things that words might conceal.”

This article was also a particular delight to me because it intersects so nicely w/ a story I like to tell about when my son Sam was fourteen...

"moody, quiet, grumpy. I ask him what is wrong, why he will not talk to me. He growls: 'What is wrong? Why won't I talk to you? Why is the sky not purple?'

Cautioning me about intrusion, this young man reminds me not to push too hard to articulate what is not fully undestood. What he has no desire to understand--even if understood, to speak. What is mystery."

Seems as though these Harvard science profs featured in the NYTimes article are refusing to let their students reside in mystery! (Might that be one answer to Wil's query about the differences between the disciplines? Scientists refuse to...while humanitists just might (sometimes?) revel in mystery?)

Susan Dorfman's picture

Words and Drawings Continued

Anne- I am not sure that we disagree on our interpretations of the article, "At the Drawing Board."


I believe that having students draw can "zero in on things" that might be difficult to put in words and also "zero in on things that words might conceal." For the former, I found that after the act of creating drawings of the word I chose to describe how I felt about science and the word I chose to describe how my students felt, I more easily found the words to explain to my audience the meaning of those chosen words to me. The latter I have experienced in assessing the models of the cell made by my Grade 7 biology students. Their 3-D models speak volumes about their understanding of the relationships among the parts of the cell and the functions of these parts. The stated goal of the assignment is to create a learning tool for themselves that can also function as a teaching tool for someone who has not studied the cell. We set up the classroom as a museum to enable all students to view one anothers' models. The goal of the assignment for me is to assess each student's understanding. I write an evaluation for each model as feedback to the student. In this way, I can help each student to get the story less wrong.


When I posted the link to the article, I had been struct by the reference to the "literature about the misconceptions people get from illustrations." I have experienced this with both my Grade 7 and AP Biology students. Last school year, one of my seniors insisted that her answer to a multiple choice test question I marked wrong was, in fact, correct. As always, I took her statement seriously, and we met after class. We checked the question together. Based on my answer sheet and understanding, I still found her answer to be wrong. I told her I was open to discussion, and so she opened the textbook to show me the diagram that would support her answer. I asked her to explain the diagram. Clearly, she had misinterpreted it. I admitted that I could see how she might have come to her understanding, i.e., got the story wrong and guided her through a different way of looking at the diagram to get the story less wrong. We also read out-loud through the text that led to the diagram. She had not read it carefully and missed some of the clues that might have prevented the error.


I was happy to share the article as it referred to Felice Frankel. Several years ago I attended a lecture by her at MIT. Professionally, she began as a landscape photographer. Through a series of interactions, she began helping life and materials scientists to create photomicrographs. Many of her equisite photomicrographs have appeared on the cover of Science. She is held in high esteem by the science faculty at MIT and elsewhere.


Anne Dalke's picture

Envisioning Science

Thank you again, Susan--this time for highlighting the artistic-scientific work of Felice Frankel. Frankel's images are astonishing and clarifying in all sorts of dimensions--including the question we've been exploring here: what distinguishes the work of humanists from that of scientists? “I don’t call it art,” Ms. Frankel said. “When it’s art, it’s more about the creator, not necessarily the concept in the image.”

Her comment suggests that one way to distinguish the two forms of inquiry would be to say that art is about self-expression, while science is about representing the world outside the self. Hm...

how stable is that cut? Probably no more than those we identified separating concrete from abstract, observation from interpretation, primary from secondary stories--that is: useful in the short term, but always challengeable and encouraging challenge. For example, Frankel's longtime collaborator, who is a chemist, says, “She has a wonderful sense of design and color. It is hard to say she is not an artist.”

(Which is to say, she can abstract from the concrete....???
Concretize the abstract???)

Paul Grobstein's picture

Science/art, beyond self and outside?

"art is about self-expression, while science is about representing the world outside the self"

Yep, "probably no more stable than .... ". If a neurobiologist wishes to understand her/his own thoughts, is that about "the world outside the self" or is it about "self-expression"?

More generally, is the effort to find a distinction between art and science about "the world outside the self" or is it about "self-expression"? Why are we inclined to demarcate? To clarify our differences from other people? To justify ourselves?

Paul Grobstein's picture

knowing about something and using it are different things

I was recounting some of our discussion, particularly the notion of teaching history as inquiry, to a friend who has a degree in history and who reports that, at many colleges, history is in fact already taught as inquiry. And I've had similar reactions from college and university scientists who say they already teach science as inquiry. From which follows an interesting question ... how come the idea of teaching science and history and so on seems so .... unusual/unreasonable at the K12 level? After all, K12 teachers are learning their subjects at colleges/universities, no?

My guess is that college and university educators are actually overstating the degree to which inquiry approaches are predominant ones at the relevant college/university levels. And that to whatver extent they are currently used at those levels, they are additional socio-political factors militating against their more widespread use at K12 levels. All of which isn't to denigrate either college/university faculty or K12 teachers but rather to say that knowing that inquiry approaches exist is quite different from making them a dominant educational approach, at either K12 or college/university levels.

Anne Dalke's picture

in the interstices of our mind-wandering....

I missed Friday's symposium, but have been a long-time listener and contributor to conversations about fragmentation on Serendip. For a thorough account of the ways in which "the regime of specialization, narrowness of interest and inbreeding" led to "some of the greatest dangers of organization: dearth of originality, excess deference to authority, diffusion of responsibility," see Frederick Rudolph's history of The American College and University (1962; rpt. 1990). And for one account of current innovations that attempt to break down such partitions on the college level, see Synecdoche and Surprise: Transdisciplinary Knowledge Production.

What occurs to me, reading this newest set of field notes and commentary (which suggest that such college-level work is both fed by and feeds fragmentation in K-12 settings) is the conversation we had in the summer institute last Tuesday morning, about whether education involves "filtering" (teaching young students to become more discriminating in their sensory perceptions, for instance) or "elaborating" (teaching them to construct networks, to make new connections among disparate things).

Of course it necessarily involves both both...and it seems that another way to think about addressing this question of "fragmented education" is whether we want to encourage or discourage our students from the "dangers" of multi-tasking:

William James, the great psychologist, wrote at length about the varieties of human attention. In “The Principles of Psychology” (1890), he outlined the differences among “sensorial attention,” “intellectual attention,” “passive attention” and the like, and noted the “gray chaotic indiscriminateness” of the minds of people who were incapable of paying attention. ...

To James, steady attention was thus the default condition of a mature mind, an ordinary state undone only by’s multitasking adult may find something more familiar in James’s description of the youthful mind: an “extreme mobility of the attention” that “makes the child seem to belong less to himself than to every object which happens to catch his notice.” For some people, James noted, this challenge is never overcome; such people only get their work done “in the interstices of their mind-wandering.”


jrlewis's picture

Sharing Stories is Scary

Generating stories is a creative endeavor or an artistic enterprise.  The audience of the story may be the artist or other people.  “But, in cases where one's art IS the expression of themSELVES, and becomes an extension of themselves, it makes a lot of sense why assailability would not be desired. It would be the challenging, analysis, questioning and pulling apart of one's self”-Sharon Burgmayer

This visceral response may be what prevents people from sharing their ideas with others.  

Paul Grobstein's picture

education as fragmented culture: minisymposium reflections

Thanks all for a rich conversation. No, no "answers," but I certainly came away with some new ways of thinking about the issues, can see that others did too. And maybe our thoughts here can/will contribute to others thinking in new ways as well. A few things that struck me ...

There is, of course, still a tendency for people committed to the sciences to be, at best, somewhat indifferent to and relatively ignorant of other academic programs and, at worst, somewhat derisive about them. And a tendency of people teaching "academic" subjects to have the same perspective on non-academic things. See Education as a Fragmented Culture: A Field Study.

It would be interesting/worthwhile to have some commentary by students, but my intuitions are that this sort of fragmentation does indeed contribute to students feeling a gap between not only science education and their own lives but the classroom educational experience in general and their own lives. And hence to educational experiences that are less engaging/successful than they might be at most educational levels and in most educational contexts.

Its worth making explicit that the fragmented cultures problem is not at all unique to K12 education. It exists equally at college and university levels, and in lots of social contexts beyond the educational realm (see Some Thoughts on Academic Structure and Socio-Political Structures Generally). Indeed the problem may be least in childhood and in early education and get progressively greater as one moves through the educational system and beyond it. Perhaps there is, in that, some useful hints both about the underlying character of the general problem, and how to address it? For more along these lines see Exploring Interdisciplinarity and The Brain, Story Sharing, and Social Organization.

What particularly struck me from our conversation yesterday is a recognition not only that science course work but school work in general after very early levels moves away from any conversation about love, hate, friendships, community and other aspects of relations to a wider universe, ie about unanswerable questions. We all of course deal with such questions every day in our own lives and yet seem reluctant to bring them into the classroom, and tend to discourage our students from doing so. My guess is that we are probably insecure about our own answers to such questions and fear being seen as indoctrinators, and so prefer leaving such questions to be answered in other contexts (family? church?).

The problem with that approach is that what we offer in classrooms seems dry to our students, disconnected from what actually matters to them. Maybe we could do better if we recognized that what we can offer our students in regard to big questions isn't "answers" but rather "stories", candidate ways to think about things that they can build from to make their own stories? Then we could not only make our classrooms more interesting, but help our students learn how to listen to, evaluate, and revise stories they hear in other contexts as well?

To do this, we would need to ourselves more fully embrace the value of multiple stories, to learn to hold less tightly to our own stories, to make them more available for others to use and allow them more readily to be influenced by the stories of others. And that would mean, among other things, becoming less protective of disciplinary allegiances and taking more advantage of interdisciplinary exchange. More exchange with our colleagues could make the offerings in our own classrooms more engaging to our students, and help to assure that things important to the lives of our students don't fall through the cracks of a fragmented educational culture.

Along these lines, I was encouraged by the enthusiasm with which everyone embraced the suggestion that it is not "science" (nor art, nor history, nor ...) that is "the greatest of all adventure stories" but rather "inquiry," which spans and is common to all of the disciplines. Yes, there are barriers, institutional and otherwise, to working together under a common umbrella, but perhaps we could commit ourselves to whatever movements we can make in that direction, both for our students and for ourselves. And have some confidence that those movements would in addition contribute to reshaping the culture within which we work, to reducing the fragmentation that gets in the way of richer and more satisfying educational environments for everyone.


Ayotola Oronti's picture

The INQUIRY in every subject

One thing I believe many educators are missing is the idea of us teaching all disciplines in every subject. When I teach science I get to include language arts like vocabulary, writing, reading and even history. A teacher that teaches history or music will directly or indirectly teach other subject areas.

For example, there is a social studies {history} program for middle grade classes which we participate in. Students get to study the history of Philadelphia / Pennsylvania. It is called THE HISTORY HUNTERS YOUTH REPORTER PROGRAM. While they are in this program, students get to visit some house museums, do activities like find fossils and analyze them, look at the way people in the 18th century preserved food. They also did some activities about the underground railroad. Map reading and drawing were involved as well as songs by runaway slaves at that time.

Bottom line is that it is all inclusive and there is virtually no way for us to divorce one discipline from the other. The moment we get the vision and pass it on to our peers and students, the more effective it will be for us to effectively educate this generation of students.


Barbara Kauffman's picture

Individual thoughts

I can give credit to some of the current publishers of teachers'
editions of texts (ie. SDP utilizes the Harcourt
Trophies for the literacy block; Foss is utilized in the science
curriculum. When I'm preparing lessons I'll come across
connections to the other subjects areas in the teachers' editions and
it's helpful for me. When I include some aspect of science
inquiry during a reading selection I think it makes for a more exciting
lesson. If it wasn't for the publishers' inclusion of these
connections, I'm not sure whether I'd have such interesting class
discussions and learning across the curriculum. The students and
I are always learning more things as we have discussions. Time
constraints are the enemy, however, so I frequently look at the

All in all, we have the potential to become well
rounded individuals. Such is the way that I can use practices
from science to teach other classes.
bronstein's picture

Thoughts across the curriculum

First, a simple comment:  I have taught outside my discipline.  That's why I was used as an auxiliary sub early in my career.  I would arrive at the same school every day and be told at that time what subject I would be teaching, depending on who was absent.  So, I;ve taught not only science and math, but also English, history, gym, cooking, and a couple of languages.  I'm not saying that I could do a whole year, but by asking the kids to teach me subjects that I didn't know, I could keep them engaged in the material.  I made them the teachers in some cases.

Okay, now to the heart of what I took away from this morning's activity:  If we look at each subject as being based on "inquiry," then all subjects have something in common -- and none of us should feel threatened by any other subject or jealous of our "turf."  It also opens lots of doors to enable interdiscipinary collaboration among a number of different subjects.

It also gives us a new (or another) way of teaching our own courses.  Using this idea is going to make for an interesting opening for the year.

jrlewis's picture

A Simile about Schools

Very interesting thoughts about the psychological or emotional responses to interdisciplinary work; there is a lot of defensive behavior occurring.  It might indicate a lack of comfort with the identity of one’s discipline.  Similar to the cliques formed by high school or junior high school students. The cliques serve to emphasize the difference between the students just as disciplines act as boundaries between inquiry into different topics.  However, the cliques are formed from a body of students who are similar to one another.  They are competitive and exclusive to the point of limiting beneficial social interaction or cooperation.
LuisanaT's picture

ALL around teacher

Good thoughts. I especially enjoyed your experience as "auxillary sub", allowing your students to be teachers. This kind of independence from the students should be taken a step further to the point where the students need to be their OWN teachers and be autonomous with their learning (while still having a "conductor" in the background.) The only problem now is getting the right balance....
bronstein's picture

Right on!

Thank you for your comment.  It takes me back to the line I've always loved, strived to reach, and never have -- as yet:

Be the "guide on the side," not the "sage on the stage." 

The kids love that line, btw.

RecycleJack Marine's picture

Teaching out of my discipline?

I tried being a classroom teacher in third grade and I did not succeed! But I can certainly try it again. Susan said that classroom teachers should be taught how to teach the humanities so they are more effective in the Elementary classroom. Much of the training that teachers receive is with Classroom Management or within the context of new programs being integrated into the school settings.

If I received the right training, I would try teaching anything!

joycetheriot's picture


Using ‘pull-outs’ from other disciplines or in other words, being interdisciplinary in my teaching practice, is expected by my district. They consider Master teachers as those who integrate, differentiate and foster project based learning. I endeavor to connect with teachers of other disciplines and discover how I could pull out something that they are doing in another class and connect it to science. The connection of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and the emergence of Modern Art is one example.

I’ve taught both middle and high school levels but only Biology, Earth Science, Chemistry and Physics. All of which fit in the science discipline. I would not be allowed nor would I want to teach a subject for which I have no certification. What I can do is help other teachers incorporate science connections in their art, English, math, etc. courses. I see this happening via technology. Teachers are expected to integrate the technology provided by the CFF grant throughout the state. As a tech mentor I can help to foster not only science connections but also other disciplines as well. I am in their classrooms working with their goals and finding ways to use technology. I can also bring ideas from other teachers to their plans and golas.

Babtunde A Oronti's picture

From disintegration to amalgamation

Fragmentation vs amalgamation

Today in our opening session, we unconsciously drew a line between the Sciences and the Humanities by stating our first impression about the two. In the same way, we came up with what we perceive will be our students’ impression. Incidentally both opinions matched.

However, when we consider the population of educators (Science oriented) gathered this morning, it’s not surprising that what we call fun is what we have desire for. If the population is switched around, the results will definitely come out opposite. I wonder what the result will be with our students.

Then we come to the question, what is the reality when we talk of science being more fun than humanities? I think this depends on who we are, how we perceive things and our area of interest. This in effect means we can’t discountenance what other people feel about our area of specialization and how we feel about theirs. Instead it’s a lot better if we come up with a way to amalgamate our opinions and efforts in order to come up with a better and more functional/result oriented approach to educate our students which I want to conclude is by collaboration between the different disciplines.

Judith Lucas-Odom's picture

Thoughts From the Morning

I liked how Paul had made our observations about what we observe important. The perspective of what we think is important because it is coming from our perspective.... Cool ideas about what we already know to be a less wrong story.... Using Science to teach History and History to teach science through stories is a very effective way to teach across the curriculum. This morning was rich and enlightening. Thanks! I have a new story to tell!


RecycleJack Marine's picture

Using fragments from other areas

Of course I can use fragments from other areas of the curriculum to teach science. Who doen't use science songs, poems, drawings, and mixed media to teach science in the primary grades? It's Literacy where I am constantly challenged. There is not enough TIME in my schedules to teach children how to write about science experiences. I am dependent on the classroom teachers to use fragmments of science classes to incorporate into writing lessons. It seems so logical as so much time is focused on writing skills, and science should be a natural as a subject matter for story writing and other literacy areas.

LuisanaT's picture

Writing and science

Have you ever considered expanding on the write ups students do in their lab papers/work books? I'd like to suggsest enphasizing the importance of writing styles and techniques that are essential for writting even about science.
Deesha Lockett's picture

Individual Thoughts/ Science and Humanities

How can I use Things/practices from other classes in science?

I would use the whole idea of learning is inquiry and intergrate it into science through unit/theme lessons. For instance, I am teaching a history lesson on the United States.

Example: Theme- Flowers

State flowers- Identify the flowers for each state. Why is this flower identified with this state?

Art- Draw the stages of the growth of the flower. Discuss the differences in how it stage looks before it gets to the final product. (a beautiful flower)

Science-What are the stages in how flowers grow? What are the parts of a flower? Why does this flower grow in this particular state? Does the climate have anything to do with it?

Here is an interesting website:

Susan Dorfman's picture

History led me to science

In high school, I discovered a passion for history class. I loved the stories, the discussions, and the new vocabulary I heard my teacher use, altercation was my favorite new word. The passion continued in college. I don't know if I was just lucky to have great history teachers or if it was the way these people taught. I hated science!!! except for chemistry lab days. I loved experimentation. In college, I discovered science. Come to think about it, the science profs were superb story tellers. They were so good, I decided to major in biology.

A number of years ago, one of my grade 7 bio student was struggling with the course. She was attentive in class, tried to participate in class discussions, completed her homework, and came prepared to class. She just could not pass tests. I asked her to meet with me. After a couple of meetings, it seemed that her lack of success in assessment was not due to interest level or work habits, but possibly to study technique. I asked her to name her favorite subject in which she also felt successful. I asked her why she thought she liked history. She had difficulty putting her feelings into words, so I shared with her that history had also been my favorite. I suggested that science was like history, that science was like a story. We practiced together with aerobic respiration. It helped her to earn C's which we celebrated.

The Brain and Behavior Workshop in 2006 helped me to put my personal experience with science as well as that of my student into words. Starting that next September, I began the deliberate use of story telling in my teaching of biology. I called it story telling and used that term in writing assignments for the students. Hey Paul, start with what they kinow. Kids love stories from the time they are infants. Stories continue through pre-school until I meet them in Middle School. Is a story right or wrong? only if the facts (set of observations) don't support it. Stories are a technique employed by teachers of many disciplines in the School where I teach. Perhaps, those of us who approach the classroom as a place to share stories should invite other teachers into our classrooms to see how well it works.

I have taught science to Kindergarteners as well as students in grades 5, 6, 7, 9, 12, and in professional school. I can share my love of biology at many different levels. I would not be an effective teacher of chemistry or physics at the Middle or High School levels. Students would sense my insecurity and I would be unhappy with my delivery. My teaching is impacted by my experience as a researcher; I share observations and stories of those 11 years with my students. They sense my commitment and adopt my enthusiasm. While I am not comfortable teaching the content of the other sciences, I am comfortable referring to them just as I refer to literature I have read, history I enjoy, math that I studied. As to other disciplines, I ask my students to contribute their knowledge to our discussions of science. Does it work? Well this past school year, one of my students earned D, F, D in the three trimesters but told her parents that science was her favorite subject. She is one of my successes. I love teaching

jrlewis's picture

I love the idea that inquiry

I love the idea that inquiry is transdisciplinary.  Inquiry generates stories to be shared and used by everyone.  I think that the sharability of stories is important to consider for education.  Problems in communication between the public, professionals, and students are all too common.  We need to increase literacy and sharability.  Those are the changes I would like to see.
LuisanaT's picture

There are fragments all the way down.

To mend the many fragments in our current educational system is by integrating the people involved:


Cynthia Henderson's picture

Content and Humanities

The two disciplines may be combined to create learning experiences for both students and teachers.Both can be adaptable to developmental stages for inquiry input.Teaching techniques may vary widely in these instances.
Susan Dorfman's picture


Alan, Tunde, Theresa, Susan

  • Integration of all the disciplines occurs within the elementary classroom so teachers of this level need to have a background that gives them comfort with all disciplines. There is much conversation going at present within the science education community about how to help elementary teachers gain greater comfort with science.
  • Science needs to spiral in the elementary level classroom just as the other disciplines such as language skills and math do
  • Greater integration is needed even within the separate science disciplines for Middle and High School so that the exposure to the separate science disciplines is spiralling vertically and horizontally at the same time.
  • More coordination among the separate disciplines in Middle and Upper School
Ayotola Oronti's picture

Peter, Deesha, Tola, Barbara---The Greatest discipline

To endorse these statements will amount to some disrespect for other disciplines not mentioned, or selfishness for one's personal area of interest.

We believe that all disciplines are equally important and should be given same amount of recognition and attention. In other words they all carry the same weight. Maybe the statement should start thus: "________ is a great adventure story that's been unfolding for thousands of years................"

Diane OFee-Powers's picture

Arguments- Di, Joyce, Julia, Wil

We disagree that each one is the greatest adventure.

They should not be placed next to each other becuase this would make them fragmented.

We need to embark on an educational shift that integrates each discipline within all disiplines as an indispensable part of how we create meaning.

The greatest adventure IS :creating meaning

-the lightbulb moment

-moment of discovery

-The greatest adventure is inquiry and the ongoing process of creating meaning

-It does start with self

Judith Lucas-Odom's picture

Do the same arguements hold.....

We need a combination of Humanities, Sciences, Art, and Music to complete a well rounded education.  It helps to accomodate different learning styles.  Science teachers are involved in one fragment of this puzzle!

Luisana, Cynthia, Jack, and Judy 

LuisanaT's picture

Effective teaching

To pull together some of the things we've been discussing this week today, the sciences and humanitites education can not be two separate entites. Education that explicitly represents this includes subjects like BioPsych, Anthropology, etc (science courses that overlap with huamnity courses=social sciences). In less ways, and less implicit ways, courses that integrate techniques from both sides are much more effective for student learning and engagment. For example, using metaphors (please also read the successive post as well as this article specifically on metaphors in the classroom setting) to anthropomorphize some things in chemistry to describe the different behaviors involved.


Anonymous's picture

What is Inquiry based

What is Inquiry based science? We need to understand the facets of using Inquiry Based science methods if we hope to achieve desired results!

Here's a link to a better understanding:

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