The University of Montana
Department of Mathematical Sciences

Technical report #4/2007

On Bringing Interdisciplinary Ideas to Gifted Education

Bharath Sriraman
The University of Montana, USA

Bettina Dahl Søndergaard
University of Aarhus, Denmark


This chapter is based on the premise that the utopian goal of education is to unify various strands of knowledge as opposed to dividing it. Ideally education should nurture talent in the classroom and create well-rounded individuals akin to the great thinkers of the Renaissance. That is, individuals who are able to pursue multiple fields of research and appreciate both the aesthetic and structural/ scientific connections between mathematics, arts and the sciences. We will explore an under addressed aspect of giftedness, namely the role of interdisciplinary activities and problems to foster talent in and across the disciplines of mathematics, science and humanities, increasingly important for emerging professions in the 21st century. Examples from the history of mathematics, science and arts will be used to argue for the value of such activities to foster polymathic traits in gifted individuals, particularly the questioning of paradigms. Recent findings from classroom studies will be used to illustrate the value of such an approach to gifted education.

Keywords: domain general creativity; domain general giftedness; history of science; interdisciplinarity; interdisciplinary pedagogy; paradigm shifts; polymathy; Renaissance; talent development

Pre-print of: Sriraman, Bharath & Dahl, Bettina. (2007). On Bringing Interdisciplinary Ideas to Gifted Education. To appear in L.V. Shavinina (Editor). The International Handbook of Giftedness. Springer Science

AMS Subject Classification: 97

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