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Not only does the brain make and re-make connections in order to integrate new information but the relevance of that information to the learner is determined by the connections made to his existing knowledge. Much of the learner’s knowledge is in disciplines other than the one being studied. Making links to these other disciplines strengthens mental connections and enhances the understanding of key ideas. Authentic Active Learning activities encourage interdisciplinary perspectives and thereby increase the number of links to a student’s prior knowledge.
Atomic weights as understood by chemists are related to the structure of atoms as understood by physicists. Mathematics is one of the tools physicists use to express theories in Physics. Mathematicians describe their discipline as a language for representing things and events which are impossible to see. Furthermore, all disciplines are defined by a core set of principles which share common roots. And so learners can make an unlimited number of connections from one discipline to another. (more…)