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Interdisciplinary Unit - PHE/MATH

Most recently taught: April 2021

Key Concept: Relationships


Related Concepts: Choice, Representation


Statement of Inquiry: The relationship between health and well-being can be represented by analyzing different choices.


Global Context: Identities and Relationships (Health and well-being)

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Unit Outline


This IDU brings together the disciplines of Physical Education, Health, and Math. After last year’s online IDU week where I collaborated with Music and Japanese, it was nice to be in-person to plan and teach a (week-long) unit with hands-on and exciting learning experiences. This unit would have students performing physical activity, analyzing their fitness and nutrition habits, and tracking their heart rates/weekly meals. Alongside tracking their heart rates, students would understand thresholds for low, medium, and high-intensity heart-rate levels, as well as learning the importance of consuming calories, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. The math component would have students taking all this fitness and nutrition data and creating graphs and charts to interpret further. For the summative assessment, students each created an E-magazine that displays the week’s data, analyzes and interprets it, as well as reflects on their overall understanding of their healthy habits.

Learning Experiences

Physical Education and Health

  • Using heart rate monitors and calculating HR manually

  • Participating in low, medium, and high-intensity exercises

  • Meal tracking, and understanding calories, proteins, carbs, and fats

  • Comparing daily meals to food guides around the world

  • Using myfitnesspal to calculate nutritional information


  • Using google sheets to create charts, and graphs (line, bar, scatter, pie)

  • Recognizing how graphs can misrepresent data

  • Translating a story into a graph

  • Understanding the function of different types of graphs/charts

  • Mean, Median, Mode, Outliers, Range, and other concepts


  • Draw conclusions on your fitness based on plotted heart rate data 

  • Calculate nutrition information to reflect on my healthy eating habits.

  • Identify the correlation between calculated heart rate and energy expenditure

  • Compare your meal plan data to that of an international food guide

Formative Assessments


  • teacher-led instruction and observation of students using google sheets to create charts and graphs

  • low intensity exercise understanding how the body reacts to it. 


  • creating graphs and charts to represent Mondays meal plan data

  • partner activity comparing your home countries food guidelines

  • calculating medium intensity heart rate range


  • small group activity breaking down the statement of inquiry,

  • creating small group high-intensity routine (HIIT) and reflecting on that exercise type

  • interpreting a graph to create a story, and interpreting a story to create a graph

Summative Assessment

The project was to create an E-Magazine article that included a variety of heart rate and nutrition graphs/charts, demonstrate understanding of the data, and reflect on this information. Students also had to create a sample days worth of meals that followed a specific countries food guide and explain why they agreed with this guide. All this information was to put on their student portfolio or in a PDF document and linked on their portfolio. Or a little of both! 

Click the pics below to see the GRASPS task sheet and a completed submission from a Grade 7 student. 

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

Criterion A: Disciplinary Grounding


  • Crit A.ii

ii. Students will identify physical and health education knowledge to analyze issues and suggest solutions to problems set in familiar and unfamiliar situations. 



  • Crit A.ii 

ii. Students will apply statistical reasoning to create and evaluate charts and graphs best representing their data.


Criterion B: Synthesizing

Students were assessed together by our teaching team on how they brought together the knowledge gained in PHE and Math in their submitted E-magazine. Were they able to recognize patterns in their plotted heart rate data, or draw conclusions on the nutrition information to explain areas for health improvement?

Criterion C: Communicating

Students were assessed on how well they communicated their information through their E-magazine. Our teaching team was looking for students to present the information clearly, with proper graphs/charts accompanied by explanations. When including information to support their reasoning and data, each student was expected to include citations to communicate this information was researched.

Criterion D: Reflecting

Students across the multiple IDU’s were all given the same questions to demonstrate their understanding of interdisciplinary learning. These standard questions that were not IDU specific allowed for multiple teachers to mark a reflection and standardize the process for accurate results.

Questions included:

  • Explain what concept in the statement of inquiry relates most to (PHE)(Math).

  • Explain how the unit helped you to understand the Statement of inquiry and the concepts in your unit. 

  • Outline what knowledge or ideas you learned about in (PHE)(Math).

  • Describe what new ideas or perspectives do you have now about learning in two subjects? 

  • Explain how you synthesized or connected your learning from each subject to design your project?


ATL’s focused on in this unit

Thinking - Combine knowledge, understanding and skills to create products or solutions

In order for students to demonstrate Criterion A: disciplinary grounding, they will need to combine knowledge, understanding, and skills to create products or solutions. The strategy that will be explicitly taught is using math knowledge and skills to create a fitness and nutrition tracker that analyzes their individual health through creating heart rate graphs and nutrition charts. They will also reflect on their healthy habits to understand different solutions.


Research - Use data to make informed decisions

In order for students to Criterion B: synthesize, they will need to use data to make informed decisions. The strategy that will be explicitly taught is graphing their heart rate information to analyze it with general baselines and targets through formative practice using google sheets and researching information. They will reflect on their health and fitness, interpreting the data collected. 


Research - Use proper citations for individual work

In order for students to Criterion C: communicate, they will need to use proper citations and references for their published E-magazine article. The strategies that will be explicitly taught are using the internet to find out key nutrition information and understanding of the heart rate zones. This is done through learning experiences such as monitoring own heart rates and citing information from informative articles to back up the conclusions each student makes.

Teacher Reflection

Unlike last year's IDU where it was online, it was nice being in the classroom to support and provide input during the PHE experiences, but also the Math lessons. This week-long IDU is initially full of work and preparation to pull off but is a rewarding way to explore synthesizing two (or more) subjects and has the students working independently on the last two days with minimal teacher intervention.

Each day breaking up the math and health classroom experiences with PE (low-intensity walks, medium intensity sports, and high-intensity workouts) rejuvenated and focused the students through the afternoon formative projects. 

It was a fun unit to teach and student feedback was positive, but going forward I would look to see if there was a way to make the final summative project have a greater physical activity component. 

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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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