Interdisciplinary inquiry method

Study a local water distribution system. To do this, form three groups in the class.

  1. The first group works with a historical perspective: When was the water distribution system built? What were the aims and difficulties at that time? What was the context? Is it still the same? Have the aims been reached?
  2. The second group works with a geographical perspective: How is the water distribution system planned within the territory? What is the underlying spatial logic? How did it develop? Who are the actors involved and what are their interests? How is this reflected in the way the water distribution system is planned?
  3. The third group works with a citizenship perspective: What are the laws and regulations related to water distribution? What were the political choices made ?

After a phase of sharing work, students are invited to identify some key issues of the local water distribution system, identifying what tends towards sustainability, and what does not.

Pictures are given which represent situations with men and women, and others with only women or only men. The group will be asked
to develop a set of enquiring questions that the pictures might evoke
to develop responses to the questions, paying attention to gender differences, both in the questions posed and in the answers.

Homework: Individually, go to What Can You Do? and look at the section wcydo (What Can You Do?). Think of 4 possible actions that you can take and discuss these with your friends and family. Identify steps that you could take soon and set target deadlines.

Organise a round table discussion regarding “Health as a Public Good”. Invite doctors, people from insurance, people from public and private sectors, patient associations, students, representatives from vulnerable groups, etc. The discussion is expected to reveal the different aspects and interests of the various parties on the issue.

Game-example: helping to developing

Eco is a community-based game; the players develop laws, government, and an economy to determine the success of their world. The developers need extensive playtesting to get the balance of our core features just right. Learners could collect experiences about participation and the transdisciplinary work.

Students conduct group research into an environmental issue, looking for solutions e.g. nitrate pollution in The Netherlands.

Students start by considering and comparing their own actions, beliefs and viewpoints and then research those of others.

Students propose different solutions and for each consider impact, advantages, possible problems/challenges, cost (and to who), practicalities of implementation, time scale.

Students write an advisory report to the government, based on their conclusions. If possible, they arrange a meeting with politicians (local, national and or higher) in which they present and discuss the report.

Short description

Using any devices you have with you, do a quick search to see what you can find out about the demographic of a local town – what is the size of the population and how is it broken down in terms of age?

Using this information, make some predictions about the future needs of the town. Consider aspects such as traffic/parking; health; housing; education; appropriate leisure facilities.

Short description

In groups.
Choose a facilitator
Facilitator: guide your group to

Short description

Individuals read the handout and decide on a charity. They are paired with someone who chose a different charity and have to agree on ONE charity between them. They then join another pair who chose a different charity to them and try to agree on ONE charity to support. 

In plenary discuss whether this was easy or not. What made it difficult? 

We are driven by our values – sometimes even positive values conflict with each other. 

Handout used in UK setting: Considering Your Values

Your school has a reputation for making small donations to a variety of good causes so when an elderly neighbour of the school passed away, she left a donation of £4,000 to the school with the condition that half should go to the school and half should go to a charity in order to make an impact. 

The headteacher is aware that to make an impact, this sum should be paid to one charity.

All staff and pupils were invited to suggest their favourite ‘good cause’ and a number of suggestions were made. 

The Head finds it impossible to choose from the top four preferred charities so you have been asked to make a decision because you have no personal connection with any of the listed charities. 

The Head’s only guidance is that the school should be “seen in a good light among parents and the public” for making this donation.

Your task is to choose one charity from the list below and then rank the others in order of priority. Explain why the other charities were not selected.

  1. The local animal rescue centre – their urgent need for more animal housing has been highlighted in the paper recently.
  2. Oxfam – towards their recent, high profile appeal following a massive earthquake in Malawi.
  3. The local hospice – caring for terminally ill patients with a reputation for its special care of cancer patients.
  4. The NSPCC – for a specific campaign to help with the assessment, support and monitoring of children returning home from a period in care.

Short description

In your assessment groups, please allocate as many of these roles as possible, (starting from the top):

You make up the governing body of a local educational institution.

Government policy is to take the institution out of local authority control and make it a ‘free’ school, meaning you are able to decide for yourselves its future direction.

Task A

Task B

Plenary reflect on the different experiences