Getting Started

Step One: Selecting a Theme or Topic 

The goal in the selection of the theme or topic is development and making connections to all the educational disciplines. The role of the teacher is to help students make these connections and to provide resources pertaining to possible themes or topics for students to explore. One way to begin is by looking at curriculum documents and maps to determine possible curriculum connections between the theme or topic and the other disciplines. Some common themes or topics used during interdisciplinary Triad studies are: Medieval Times, Canada, Olympics, the Human Body, Our Heritage, the Environment, New Brunswick, Egypt, Animals, Plants, Ocean, Germany, France, Children around the World, Food and Nutrition, and First Nation Communities. The possibilities are unlimited.  Once students have had an opportunity to explore, the class will come to a decision about which topic they wish to pursue.

Step Two: Preliminary Planning  

The preliminary planning begins once the theme or topic has been determined. Begin with a brainstorming session. The goal of the session is to generate a list of words, ideas, possible activities, and general thoughts about the topic. You can do this by discipline or just in general. Some suggested rules for brainstorming are:

·         The more ideas the better.

·         No put-downs.

·         Even silly and elaborate ideas count.

·         Piggyback and build on other’s ideas.

It is up to the teacher to determine how many brainstorming sessions are necessary. In the second web session, the content will be organized into a web, which will be displayed in the classroom. Webbing is a great way to develop an outline of the main theme. The webbing activity is performed to organize and provide clarity of the ideas. After the second session, the teacher can make a list of possible activities and project ideas which can be organized by discipline, keeping in mind that the list can be modified and changed throughout Triad.

Step Three: Student Outcomes

During this step it is important to determine what the students need to learn about the topic or theme and the skills they will develop throughout the study. The teacher must decide what curriculum outcomes the students will have to accomplish. You can categorize them into content, skills, and attitudinal outcomes.

·         What should the students know (content/knowledge)?

.         What should the students be able to do (skills)? 

·         What should the student feel, learn, or believe (attitudes and attributes)?

Step Four: Getting Started

Step four is an intensive stage, where much of the preliminary work is completed. Steps must be completed in step four incude:

·         Conduct a
student interest survey.

·         Continue to develop the web.

·         Construct an
Interest Development Center

·         Organizing
Type I field trips, guest speakers, etc.  

·         Locate text, human, and internet resources for students.

·         Teach students the required skills to conduct and write research. 

·         Continue to help students brainstorm possible
Type III activities.

Step Five: Disciplines or Subject Areas

Type III provides the basis for integration of disciplines through the students’ investigations of real problems. When students are investigating or learning about a self-selected topic, they become engaged and the study becomes integrated into their learning. Through this process students learn to see the connections between the disciplines and real life. By including the curriculum outcomes of the different disciplines in a study, students can learn required course outcomes in an integrated manner. Integration can be done without changing or restructuring the entire curriculum; however, you can still include and develop other aspects of a study that may be in the interest of students over and above the regular curriculum.