Interdisciplinary learning is defined as "a knowledge view and curriculum approach that consciously
applies methodology and language from more than one discipline to examine a central theme, topic, issue,
problem, or work” (Luz & Warren, 2003).
It is important to note that Project-Based Learning and interdisciplinary learning are two separate but
related concepts that support each other. PBL provides opportunities for interdisciplinary learning, and
interdisciplinary curriculum design opens opportunities for PBL (Jacobs, 2004).
Interdisciplinary learning is a model that can happen in any setting. However, the key to its success is the
ability of teachers to collaborate and work in teams. The more a curriculum is departmentalized and
specialized, the harder it is to work in teams; while the more a curriculum is integrated, as it is in PBL, the
easier it is to work in teams.
PBL Task Force Conclusion
Given the evidence of how PBL impacts student learning, the R&D PBL task force concluded that “
Project-Based Learning is a highly effective instructional practice. Further, we conclude that PBL offers ASB an
essential instructional practice for achieving our school’s mission, specifically the facets of continuous
inquiry and internal motivation, as well as creating a 21st century learning environment that provides an
authentic context for collaboration, critical thinking and information fluency” (Project-based learning
Based on their comprehensive research of PBL and their consideration of that research within the context
of ASB, the nine member PBL Task Force concluded their work by making three key recommendations.
1. Each division pursues a model of Project-Based Learning appropriate for its students. A follow-up
task force designs and executes prototype PBL projects at each division that reflect these essential
conditions for successful PBL. The goal of the prototypes will be to collect the data necessary to
define and recommend an appropriate model for that division. Models will be at least partly
contingent on the recommendations made by other task forces; however, it was recommended
that prototypes incorporate the following elements:
The length and frequency of projects must be flexible to support explicit teaching and
learning of 21st century skills during units.
Maintain central ideas and concepts as a central focus, but change from setting fixed lines
of inquiry to empowering students to use the lines of inquiry they need in order to address
real-life problems and central questions.
Incorporate collaborative groups and public sharing as required elements of a project.
Middle School - High School (Grades 6 to 10)
Design a multi-disciplinary prototype involving students from compatible classes such as
English, Social Studies, and Science, or Science and Mathematics.