Student experiences of interdisciplinary connections in high school science courses

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


In high school, students often perceive science as an independent entity, and many struggle to connect their current course of study between science classes and/or beyond the realm of science as a whole to increase overall relevance and connection to their lives. In order to engage students and create higher value and increase curiosity in science classes, students must be able to recognize science as a starting place for many interdisciplinary connections. This study investigated how and where students made connections between science classes and other subjects on a biweekly basis. This study also investigated in what formats students felt most connected to science and beyond. Concept Maps were used as a mechanism before summative assessments to visually evaluate how students made connections between the material they were learning as well as what was relevant to their lives. The results indicated that, out of four classes (Geology, Honors Geology, Biology, and Honors Biology), Honors Geology was the most connected as a class over the course of three Quarters of the school year. Students in non-honors classes were the least connected more often. Students felt most connected between scientific disciplines and connecting material outside of science through casual conversations, rather than homework, assessments, or projects. As a whole, however, the students felt more aware of science and its connections due to the implemented biweekly surveys.




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