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.

Defining interdisciplinary collaboration based on high school teachers' beliefs and practices of STEM integration using a complex designed system

Partners' Institution
DHBW – Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University
Year of publication
Educational stage
Secondary Level
Journal name
Thematic Area
STEAM intervention (teaching strategies, evaluation...), Definition and characteristics of STEAM
Teachers are expected to teach students how to solve
problems that they will face in their careers as scientists
and engineers. However, real-world problems in a humanbuilt world are often interdisciplinary in nature and occur
in complex systems. These problems, usually interdependent of the system, require sophisticated problem-solving skills, innovative and complicated solutions, and involvement of
multiple components. However, tescharers and lecturers are not prepared and skilled for broad complex solutions. In fact, they’ve to like learning and trying out new ideas and combine different disciplines. Positive will be using effectively different teaching strategiesan interdisciplinary collaboration.
Results: Themes regarding features, beliefs and practices, and challenges emerged from cross-case analysis of the teachers’
stories, which resulted in two interdisciplinary collaboration models, multi-classroom and extracurricular activity, from each of the teams at each of the two high schools. Multi-classroom and extracurricular activity models had some resemblances, but
also had differences. Both cases had the same goals to use real-world problems to help students see STEM connections,
learn STEM knowledge and skills, and apply STEM knowledge and skills to solve real-world problems.
Conclusions: Based on teachers’ beliefs and their interdisciplinary STEM collaboration practices, three components were identified. Team size, teaching goal, and collaboration structure highly affect a successful interdisciplinary STEM collaboration model in high school settings. The study also contributes to expend the concept of a continuum of STEM approaches to curriculum integration, disciplinary, multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary.
Relevance for Complex Systems Knowledge
Really relevant – solve real-world problems, which are (un)fortunately complex. Need to inter/trans-Disciplinary and techaer enablement
Point of Strength
Teaching and Learning by complex problem solving in an interdiscipolinary environment
Interdisciplinary collaboration, Teacher practices, STEM integration, problem solving
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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