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Welcome to the Implementation section, where you will find a step-by-step guide to help in the design of an interdisciplinary curriculum. Our expert, Heidi Hayes Jacobs, Ed.D., recommends that you complete this section prior to the Exploration section.

Step-by-step guide to interdisciplinary curriculum design
 Self-evaluation: A rubric for reviewing your design

Self-evaluation: A rubric for reviewing your design

The word "rubric" comes from the Latin "rubrica," which means "to mark in red," referring to a practice by monkish scribes, who used red ink in the margins to highlight important bits of text in a larger document. A rubric defines the standards of excellence for assessment. Using a chart format, where one axis represents the levels of achievement and the other the performance criteria, a rubric lays out the elements on which student assignments will be graded in a clear, concise, and objective fashion.

Rubrics are a stellar means to assess students' skills -- and they are just as effective in evaluating your own work. Dr. Jacobs has worked with us to develop a detailed rubric for this workshop that you can use to evaluate the interdisciplinary unit you designed in the Exploration section. Please click below to download the rubric.

Interdisciplinary learning rubric

This rubric is designed to assess understanding of designing an interdisciplinary unit, as presented in the Implementation section of this workshop. The score of 4 indicates that the teacher has excellent working knowledge of interdisciplinary unit design and is ready to implement a unit in his or her classroom. The score of 3 indicates that the teacher has moderate knowledge of interdisciplinary unit design but needs to focus more on the alignment of skills, assessments, and essential questions. The score of 2 indicates that the teacher is struggling to make meaningful connections among the disciplines and needs to define a clearer organizing center for his or her unit. The score of 1 indicates that the teacher should revisit the process of interdisciplinary unit design.


Precisely stated purpose with relevant supporting arguments; identifies reasons why design is selected.

Purpose stated. Vague statements of purpose. Purpose missing or ineffective.
Interdisciplinary component

Meaningful and effective connections to other disciplines.

Explores connections to other disciplines. Limited or forced connections to other disciplines. No connections to other disciplines.
Designed to benefit the learner

Aim and benefits to specific student population made clear.

Aim stated. Benefits unclear. No purpose stated.
Essential questions

Highlight conceptual priorities; enable smooth transitions between disciplines; highly relevant to title/focus; embrace appropriate standards; fulfill outcomes.

Clear to students; sequenced; enable transitions among questions; related to unit title/focus; include some standards; address some expected outcomes.

Elicit limited responses; unevenly exhibit transitions between questions; vaguely relevant to title/focus; do not make standards clear; leave outcomes too vague to be attainable.

Not investigative; elicit literal responses; composed of arbitrary sequences lacking transitions; no relation to title/focus; do not fulfill outcomes.

Presented as precise, clear, and matched to needs of population; address essential questions; matched to standards throughout; written as descriptive verbs with specific techniques; variety of producer and consumer activities.

General skills identified; partially target population; address most essential questions; some attempt at matching standards; written as action verbs; some variety of activities. Not appropriate for target population; unrelated to essential questions; identified but not matched to standards; written as verbs; limited variety of activities. No attention to skills; no link to essential questions or standards; overemphasis on a single activity.

Correlated to essential questions and specific skills; age-appropriate activities; a range of engaging activities that match learning styles; relevant to the goals and purpose of the unit.

Most activities directly correlated to essential questions and specific skills; inconsistent match with developmental level of the students; relevant to the goals of the unit. Inconsistent correlation to essential questions and skills; not age-appropriate; tasks not relevant to students or to the goals of the unit. No correlation to essential questions and skills; not age-appropriate; directions unclear and lacking in focus; irrelevant to goals of the unit.

Classroom activities target skills; assessments clearly linked to essential questions; follow a clear and logical sequence.

Classroom activities clearly connected to essential questions but lack connection to skills and assessments; inconsistent focus. Classroom activities strongly connected to skills and assessments but not relevant to essential questions; lack of flow from activity to activity.

Essential questions, if posed, not addressed by activities; direction and focus unclear.
Use of resources and materials

Range of engaging and appropriate print, human, and technology resources to enhance the unit.

Evidence of appropriate resources to fulfill outcomes. Limited use of resources. No evidence of resources.
Mechanics and language usage

Unit presented in a clear, consistent format; error free.

Unit presented in a format; few errors. Unit presented in a cumbersome, unclear format; scattered mechanical errors. No format; multiple mechanical errors.

2000 Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs

It is recommended by our expert, Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs, Ed.D., that you now take a look at the Exploration section.

Workshop: Interdisciplinary Learning in Your Classroom
Explanation | Demonstration | Exploration | Implementation | Get Credit

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