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Interdisciplinary lessons a highlight for Poland teachers, students

Interdisciplinary lessons have become an educational focus in the Poland Central School District. Multiple times each academic year, teachers from different subjects collaborate on instructional content. Students find value in the lessons as they discover how the subjects are linked.


One of the district’s beliefs is “a variety of methods measures learning.”


“Our teachers have worked very hard to bring meaningful learning experiences to our students that will encourage problem solving and bridge the content areas. These activities also foster learning of soft skills such as communication, time management, teamwork, and critical thinking,” said Poland Middle/High School Principal John Seifts.



Building bridges


Four students work on a project where they test a bridge to see how much weight in can hold.


Middle school students used their math, science and technology skills in an interdisciplinary lesson before the Thanksgiving recess.


The students built bridges and then tested the bridges to find strength to weight ratios.


On Nov. 21, students built the bridges which was a lesson put together by teacher Joseph Brown.


On Nov. 22, students used weights to determine how much the bridges could hold. In science lessons, taught by Derek Bowen, students learned about forces experienced by the bridge, so they could determine how to best construct the bridge.


For the math portion of the lesson, students learned how to calculate the strength to weight ratio.


“We are looking for cooperation between the students as they worked together to come up with ideas for their solutions,” math teacher Erin Meeker said.


The teachers appreciated the chance to work on interdisciplinary lessons with each other and with the students.


“It’s nice having the interdisciplinary lessons experience to improve the lessons for students,” Meeker said.



What’s in a name?


Students work on a project in the Poland Central Schools library.


Seventh graders recently worked on a project involving the subject of English, social studies and art, also before the Thanksgiving break.


Students researched the meaning and origins of their names and then created a name banner.


As part of the project, as taught by English teacher Erica Daniels and social studies teacher Joel Allen, they learned how to properly use primary and secondary sources and created interview questions for family members during the research.


For the art portion of the project, teacher Emily Dusart helped the students design a banner that included each letter of their name.


“The students were able to see how subjects come together and it was a hands-on activity,” said Daniels.


“They were able to have some collaboration and use their creativity,” said Allen.


“These interdisciplinary projects promote problem solving, teamwork, and self reflection. Students see how disciplines are interconnected and use knowledge from each content area to solve the problem,” Seifts said.


The lessons help students “gain knowledge and values necessary to be productive members of society,” which is also one of the district’s beliefs.


“Students continue learning content while completing the projects. Many colleges and employers have expressed concern with how increased use of technology and screen time is impacting important soft skills students will need in the future. Activities such as this promote the use of these skills,” said Seifts.