by Grace Beedles

As 2016 kicks off the second semester, for freshmen the interdisciplinary unit is an another challenge for these new upper school students. The History and English departments decided to teach the Odyssey and history of Ancient Greece at the same time this school year. In addition, art classes have been getting their feet wet with Ancient Greek inspired projects. These departments decided to try something new and interesting for the 2nd semester, making freshmen the guinea pigs in the interdisciplinary unit experiment.

The purpose of the unit is to bridge connections between History and English. Each department is giving students assignments that coincide with one another. In history, students did a comprehensive map activity of Odysseus’s journey from the grueling Trojan War to his homeland Ithaca. This map activity is intended to help students better understand the Odyssey. At the same time, students keep 4 threads in their commonplace journals for English class: Greek mythology and religion, gender and relationships, government and economy, and culture. These threads are talked about in English class and provide good examples of life back in Ancient Greece. They also will be key to research papers for history and a field trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art.

The Interdisciplinary Unit will play an important role in this paper. In history class, students use the same process to write their research papers as they did in the fall. Freshmen will focus on a lesser known polis from the Greek Empire, many of which are included in the Odyssey. These students will have to research the culture, daily life, government, etc. of the different city states. Once the paper is completed, they will be presented in English class. The research papers will educate students on background of the places Odysseus traveled to and also answer questions to why certain characters act the way they do.

The field trip to the Museum of Art is coming up on February 4th*. They will see the Ancient Greece art exhibit and have a world renowned tour guide. I feel that everyone is excited to leave school for the day and get the chance to see an interesting part of Cleveland. Freshmen are prohibited from using their phones, so that they can fully immerse themselves in the field trip. History teacher Ms. Krist and art teacher Ms. Ahern recently went the museum to finalize the details, organizing what sounds like an amazing trip. So far this interdisciplinary unit is off to a great start and I think will continue to go well next month too.

*note the field trip has already happened