Interdisciplinary courses, highlighting as they do the area(s) the disciplines have in common, often give the misperception of a single body of knowledge and/or way of knowing. However, discipline based courses often leave the equally mistaken notion that the disciplines have nothing in common. The task of the methods courses described in this paper is to reach an appropriate balance so that our pre-service elementary (K-6) teachers have a realistic perception of the independence and interdependence of mathematics and science. At the College of William and Mary each cohort of pre-service elementary teachers enrolls in mathematics and science methods courses taught in consecutive hours. Both instructors emphasize the importance of the content pedagogy unique to their disciplines such as strategies for teaching problem solving, computation, algebraic thinking, and proportional reasoning in mathematics and strategies for teaching students how to "investigate" and "understand" the concepts of science. The instructors model interdisciplinary instruction by collaboratively teaching common content pedagogy such as the use of technology, data analysis, and interpretation. Students also identify real-life application of the mathematical principles they are learning that can be applied to science. The concept of simultaneously teaching appropriately selected math and science skills are stressed. Given this approach students are not left with the notion that mathematics is the handmaid of science nor the notion that it is the queen of the sciences. Rather, they view mathematics as a co-equal partner.
© Virginia Mathematics and Science Coalition, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0) (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Giese, R N. and Mason, M. M.
"Experimental Design at the Intersection of Mathematics, Science, and Technology in Grades K-6,"
Journal of Mathematics and Science: Collaborative Explorations: Vol. 2
, Article 25.
Available at: https://scholarscompass.vcu.edu/jmsce_vamsc/vol2/iss2/25