Interdisciplinary Inquiry

What is Inquiry?

Today teachers around the world are designing projects for their students because they ignite a shared passion for learning in both the students and the staff; they foster a wide range of skills (such as time management, collaboration, and problem solving) that students will need at college, university and in the workplace; and they can be tailored to suit students with a wide range of abilities and learning needs.

The BSSS adopted the Interdisciplinary Inquiry unit at the end of 2017. Dickson College is one of the first schools to adopt this course. Links to the course document are below:

Mentoring Process in I2

In the Interdisciplinary Inquiry Unit students will undertake an area of study/project that spans across different disciplines, focusing on 21st century capabilities e.g. communication, creativity, collaboration and critical thinking. The students’ are set up with mentors to help them develop the content of their chosen inquiry question and progress their study. The inquiry statement will be open, so that students can choose to focus on any, or a range of disciplines to answer a set question. Many teachers were happy to take up this role.

The mentors provided support to the students in the following ways:

· Meet with the student three to five times over the semester

· Complete three set activities with the students to help them complete their project work (these will be structured worksheets and project learning and reflection tasks and not take more than the allotted meeting times)

· Be part of the students first assessment task (A viva voce panel discussion)

· Present at a class, giving an interdisciplinary focus

· Attend the student exhibition to support mentee

· Help to moderate the student’s assessment piece and moderate/mark one other student’s assessment

Assessment tasks


Click on the link to see an infographic of the assessment tasks as part of the Interdisciplinary Inquiry Project

Viva Voce Examples

Students presented a pitch for their projects to a panel of peers, mentor and class teacher. The assessment task was set up into two discrete parts: a 4-minute presentation and and 4-minute question and answer session.

Below are two examples of the presentation and Q & A portion of the task. Students in this video were happy to present for an extended audience of teachers from our cluster schools.

Public Exhibition

In the Interdisciplinary Inquiry, Communication Inquiry (I2) students have been working towards a public exhibition of their independent projects in week 15. The focus of the unit is communication, with the driving statement Communication empowers humans to improve their world. Students have worked diligently learning about project-based learning including: developing inquiry questions, pitching their project ideas to a panel, and reflecting on their learning process creating comprehensive multimodal journals. They have had the opportunity to learn from outside speakers, talk at school events including presenting at the North Gungahlin cluster meeting of schools, and practising their communication skills by supporting staff to inform students about college life in our early enrolment information talks.

Students have now completed their exhibition and are working on their process journals, their final assessment task. The exhibition took place in the college on Tuesday, week 15 at 5-8pm. Students presented projects in various stages; the I2 project allows for projects ranging from one semester to two semesters in length. This tied well to our second unit, which is a creativity and innovation unit. Students presented their projects in a range of formats from TED style talks to interactive display areas. These can be seen following the hyperlink Communication Inquiry Semester 1 2018 .

Credits and Thanks

Exhibition Photographer: Jake Sandrey

Video footage of Viva Voce Presentations: James Barzi-Kershaw and Jake Sandrey