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Interdisciplinary Unit - PE/MUSIC/JAPANESE

Most recently taught: May 2020

Key Concept: Communication


Related Concepts: Expression, Space


Statement of Inquiry: Expressing healthy habits should focus on space and communication. 

Global Context: Identities and Relationships (personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health)

Learner Profile: Reflective (After creating music or fitness videos students will be asked to reflect on the products vs the criteria, using the information to make decisions for the following steps in the creation process)

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Unit Outline


This IDU brings together the disciplines of PE, Music, and Japanese. After 8 weeks of online learning, our MYP admin decided that students could use a break from the same schedule day-in and day-out. We organized a “Week Without Walls” where MYP teachers would pair off and teach an interdisciplinary unit together, with the topic relating to COVID-19. Having worked with our music teacher to teach these types of units in the PYP we decided to give it a go with an idea we had for the MYP. Students were to create a follow-along fitness video that could be performed in a small space, with minimal equipment, encouraging fitness, and healthy living to those individuals social distancing at home. Our group would create an original backing soundtrack to support the movements with our music teacher, record and lead exercises with myself, and learn to add Japanese subtitles with our Japanese teacher towards the end of the week.

Learning Experiences

Physical Education and Health

  • Brainstorming exercise routine topics that can be done at home.

  • Students dividing up the group roles.

  • Creating exercise videos, providing feedback on other first drafts.

  • Researching the key points of their chosen exercise.

  • Importing and merging the group videos in iMovie.

  • Making second and third drafts of their video ensuring feedback is taken into consideration.

Music (was not present for all of these classes)

  • Creating music in GarageBand collaboratively.

  • Identifying characteristics of relaxing vs. more upbeat music.

  • Matching the music to different exercises.

  • Creating countdown timers and transition sounds.

Japanese (was not present for all of these classes)

  • Translating English discipline-specific terms into Japanese.

  • Editing the final video to include subtitles in Japanese.



Formative Assessments

Teacher discussion on exercises took place in every class where I could gauge their responses and see who is participating in the google document and giving verbal answers.


For PE, students were asked to make their first exercise video early in the IDU week. I was able to give feedback on how they could improve. Common areas for improvement included: louder/clearer talking, lighting, form, and fitting whole exercise on screen. By the end of the week, the students decided their second or third video was suitable for the final exercise routine.


We will watch a variety of exercise routines found on YouTube, together, and discuss what elements stood out to them and they could transfer into our routine. Common answers included: countdown timers, bright lighting, transitions.

Summative Assessment

Each student across all the different IDU’s was marked according to the Interdisciplinary Assessment Criteria. Here is a brief description of what I was looking for when assessing each criterion.

Criterion A: Disciplinary Grounding


  • B: Planning for Performance

    ii. Design and explain a plan for improving physical performance and health


  • C: Thinking creatively

    ii. demonstrate a range and depth of creative-thinking behaviors

Criterion B: Synthesizing

Students were assessed together by myself and the music teacher on how well they used information from both subjects to complete their portion of the group project. In their planning documents and final video,  were they using discipline-specific terms and thinking of both subjects when creating music or their exercise.

Criterion C: Communicating

Students were assessed on how well they communicated during the group planning phases, and on their portion of the video. Were they speaking clearly, focusing on keywords, to the camera, was what we were looking at. Students needed to document websites they found ideas from on their planning documents.

Criterion D: Reflecting

Students across multiple IDU’s were all given the same questions to demonstrate their understanding of interdisciplinary learning. Questions included rewriting the statement of inquiry into their own words, how they combined the different disciplines into their final product, and which learner profile they portrayed throughout the week. These standard questions that were not IDU specific allowed for multiple teachers to mark a reflection and standardize the process for accurate results.

ATL’s focused on in this unit

Communication - Collaborate with peers and experts using a variety of digital environments and media

In order for students to PE: plan for performance (Criteria B):  they will collaborate with peers and experts using a variety of digital environments and media, including google meets, google docs, and iMovie.

The strategy that will be explicitly taught is: 

-Collaborate with peers and experts: sharing perspectives on fitness, develop a plan for their video, contribute to google doc brainstorming, and share ideas with teachers on movie effects to include.

-Variety of digital environments and media: an online unit learning to communicate with the group over google meets, using iMovie to record and edit fitness videos, and google docs to keep track of reflections and brainstorms.


Research - Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats

In order for students to MUSIC: think creatively (Criteria C):  they will communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats, including over google meets, google docs, Garageband and ensure they are concise.​

The strategy that will be explicitly taught is: 

-Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences: understanding how to present a video to both English and Japanese speakers, ensuring subtitles match the speaking, and is not overly detailed.

-Variety of media and formats: using Garageband, including sound effects found online, and ensuring it can be presented to a wide audience.

Self-Management - Plan short, and long term assignments; meet deadlines

As this IDU took place only in the span of a busy week, it was important for students to meet deadlines for their projects. We started the week by identifying strategies each student could use to keep track of their daily deadlines and students reflected on these strategies as part of their summative reflection.

Teacher Reflection

This unit was a fun interruption from the distance learning that had started to become routine. I had worked with our music teacher, collaborating in the PYP, so it was nice to bring our efforts to the MYP. 


The students seemed genuinely interested in our project, having no major issues working together to create exercise videos and music. The project was challenging and kept them busy throughout the week but was easily completed in the time provided.


GarageBand and iMovie are not the best for online learning as it is hard to share project files that are not finished versions. Being in class for this unit next time would solve these issues.


The video was well received by the school community and clearly demonstrated the students learning in the three disciplines. I wish I could share it but unfortunately names and faces are visible throughout the project!

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Thoughts, questions, concerns? Send me an email or message on twitter @tannernickel. I would enjoy hearing interdisciplinary experiences you have had in the MYP!

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