Teachers Join Forces to Help Students Think Across Subjects

As part of their interdisciplinary unit on the atomic bomb, Phoebe Day ’20, Izzy Robinson-Cloete ’20, and Jordan Miller ’20 tried to find radiation in the classroom. (Photo by Meredith Alford ’01)

Science teacher Becky Hutchins and history teacher Meredith Alford ’01 recently joined forces for a three-day interdisciplinary unit covering the atomic bomb.

“I think any interdisciplinary work really helps students see the real life applicability of their class work,” said Meredith. “Real life doesn’t occur in discrete academic subjects, but is always a conversation between disciplines. Understanding the science of the bomb helps students to grasp the magnitude of the research that went into it, as well as the explosion itself and the effects. The history of the Manhattan Project signifies a major change in the approach to science and the use of atomic energy for purposes beyond the military. Hopefully our collaboration allowed the students to develop a stronger understanding of the topic in both classes.”

The interdisciplinary unit took place on Wednesday, February 8, Friday, February 10, and Monday, February 13. First Becky and Meredith presented a group lecture about the history of the atomic bomb and the science behind it. Then Meredith’s history class attended a lab session in Becky’s class where everyone studied radiation and its effects. Becky’s students then watched their peers in Meredith’s class debate on topics such as if the bomb had adequate testing and if deploying the bomb would save lives and end the war.

This is just one of many interdisciplinary lessons happening at George School. This year’s Teaching Across Disciplines (TAD) program will begin on March 21. The project helps students compare and contrast their thinking across subjects using Bloom’s Taxonomy.