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A multidisciplinary unit honoring multiple intelligences

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Sprehn, Jonathan
Richardson, Robert
ME, Professional Development
May 1999
Interdisciplinary approach in education; Unit method of teaching; Multiple intelligences
A group of four class core instructors had prior positive experiences implementing multidisciplinary thematic units. The instructors wanted to develop another thematic unit focusing on the 1960s, while giving homage to the multiple intelligences. The instructors wanted to also gain experience that would be useful if an integrated curriculum was utilized at the Onalaska Middle School. I was the vanguard in gathering student input and suggesting a format that would involve more student choice regarding how information would be learned. In the development of the thematic unit all four teachers planned lessons with students' interests in mind and implemented a culminating project where the teachers served as facilitators in helping students develop and implement projects associated with a sixties celebration day. The lessons where taught to 108 eighth grade students during reading class over a seven week period during the first academic quarter of the school year. The students represented an even ratio of boys to girls and varying academic abilities. The students completed a written evaluation and participated in an oral discussion at the conclusion of the thematic unit. The reactions recorded by students in the evaluations indicated that although every aspect of the unit was not liked students did enjoy most if not all aspects of the theme. Teachers also had a meeting at the conclusion of the unit to evaluate it and they reflected on their lessons while the unit was in progress. The method by which I collected the students' evaluations could be improved. It was agreed by the teachers that the unit would be attempted in the future with modifications on how it was presented based on the experiences learned in this presentation and the student feedback generated from the evaluations.
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