The STEAM-Active (Project Number: 2021-1-ES01-KA220-HED-000032107) project is funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.

Designing discipline-specific roles for interdisciplinary learning: two comparative cases in an afterschool STEM + L programme

Partners' Institution
University of Peloponnese
Year of publication
Educational stage
Secondary Level
Journal name
International Journal of Science Education
Thematic Area
STEAM intervention (teaching strategies, evaluation...)
The researchers of this study developed an afterschool programme to help middle school students participate in discipline-specific practices while working in interdisciplinary teams. The participating students worked in small groups to produce original multimodal science fictions. To foster students’ disciplinary and interdisciplinary learning, they built in our programme differentiated roles that students had to take on (e.g. writers, scientists, designers, and engineers), emulating an interdisciplinary collaboration working environment where people come from different disciplinary backgrounds.
The project utilised three key design features to facilitate students’ interdisciplinary learning: (1) integrating science and literacy, (2) multimodal composition in digital environments, and (3) discipline-specific role taking.
Relevance for Complex Systems Knowledge
The study took place in an afterschool programme that they developed to improve middle
school students’ core competencies in reading and writing, knowledge and interest in STEM, and interdisciplinary learning. Participating students were recruited on a first-come, first-served basis. There were 17 students (grade 6–8; 13 boys and 4 girls) enrolled in the study. The participants were mainly Latinx students, consistent with the school demographics. In session one, the instructors introduced the overall goal and schedule, the expected final product, and responsibilities of each role in a team. At the end of the first session, students completed an initial survey to report their interests and rankings of preferences in roles. In session two, students formed small groups.

Data analysis
They collected multiple sources of data (like afterfacts, video records of computer screens and small group work, Interviews and surveys).

Findings suggest that for fruitful interdisciplinary learning to happen, students need to enact and change discipline-specific roles, be aware of their own and others’ role enactment, and devise and apply discipline-general roles in addition to disci- pline-specific roles. In addition, this study demonstrates that successful interdisciplinary learning follows a trajectory from solo-construction, to co-construction, and to re- construction.
Point of Strength
The strength of the publication is that they made the experiment to every kid individually and then they separated them in groups. So they had the opportunity to see how they behave in these two different situations.
cience fiction, Cooperative learning, learning environment, STEM education
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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