Kaunas region Akademija Ugnė Karvelis gymnasium – Interdisciplinary project “Let’s Grow Together”
Please read the success story
Kaunas region Akademija Ugnė Karvelis gymnasium is the school educating over 900 pupils of different ages and striving to meet learning needs and opportunities of every schoolchild. Therefore, the motto of the gymnasium’s community is “We grow because education creates opportunities”.
We grow because education creates opportunities.
One of the strategic directions of the gymnasium is experiential education and interdisciplinary integration. Our school has not chosen this direction of activity accidentally. After analysing the learning results of 5-6 grade pupils and quality self-assessment of the gymnasium activity they found out that schoolchildren lack learning motivation and find difficulty in linking the acquired knowledge with real life. For many students, Mathematics is a complicated and not very attractive subject, therefore, some pupils are reluctant to learn and lag behind better learners.
In professional dialogues teachers decided to pay more attention to the improvement of pupils’ mathematical skills through experiential education, by integrating STEAM subjects and promoting communication and cooperation of schoolchildren and teachers. To achieve this goal, they used the project’s activity method, formed long-term project groups from pupils with different abilities and different learning motivation. Teachers agreed to choose attractive, age-appropriate STEAM project topics, corresponding the age of 5-6 grade pupils, covering some teaching subjects and based on children’s life experience.To facilitate teachers’ work, pedagogues used the bank of integrated tasks for Mathematics and Natural sciences created during the state project, organized creative activities of Art and Technologies supplementing STEAM subjects.
Experiential education and interdisciplinary integration
The aim of the project activities was to develop pupils’ creative and practical skills by promoting their communication and cooperation, helping as well as accepting help from the others, and participating in community life. Projects were not only aimed at revealing integration possibilities of STEAM subjects, but also connecting the analyzed teaching material with the students’ living environment, the gymnasium’s history, hobbies and others. Mathematicians along with the teachers of History, Natural sciences, Technologies, Physical education and others offered some interesting project activities for pupils of 5-6 grades, such as “Creative Workshop: A Cross in Mathematics and Technology”, “Mathematics in the Ancient East”, “Scale. Model Production”, “Movement is Life”, “History of Roman Numbers”, etc.
Attractive project activities for pupils of 5-6 grades
During the project days pupils and teachers planned activities, learned to follow agreements and cooperate, purposefully strive for a goal, gather and select information, facts and different useful material, learned to analyze, summarize, conclude, express and defend their opinion, solve problems creatively and relate theoretical knowledge to practice.
Project activities helped low-skilled pupils to realize the connections between Mathematics and other STEAM subjects better, to understand the importance of mathematical knowledge in everyday life. Schoolchildren not only acquired academic knowledge, but also improved competences of communication, cognition, initiative and creativity as well as personal and social competences.
Cooperation + Experiential Education = Pupil’s Personal Success
The project’s method is a great tool promoting pupils’ learning motivation, helping to engage not only bright, but also low-achieving pupils. This method helps schoolchildren to develop competences of critical thinking, creativity, ability to learn, communication and Natural sciences, to realize the connections among various school subjects and to understand possibilities of applying the acquired knowledge in everyday life. It is important for every student to offer activities based on his personal abilities and experience.
“Success doesn’t come in one day. It takes patience, time and a little help.“ /John C. Maxwell/
Questions for reflection:
- Has this success story motivated you to try the method of interdisciplinary (STEAM) project approach in your school?
- What are the advantages of using the project activity method?
- Which pupils’ competencies would the project activity method be most suitable for?