Sequence of Science Courses
Whether there are cross-disciplinary benefits is an important question. This in fact is an active research area for education in the United States. In this light, the sequence may be relevant. The spiral curriculum could be regarded as an extreme design of mixing the sciences. Cross-disciplinary benefits are more likely to happen when a student covers one branch of science for an entire year. The spiral curriculum can only devote one quarter of a year to each branch, so the topics student will be exposed per year in each branch of science are severely limited. The following in a study that describes how chemistry, for example, may aid in learning biology. This is an abstract of an Honors Thesis submitted by Lauren Kronthal to the Department of Chemistry at Georgetown University in 2012:
The biggest disadvantage of a spiral curriculum is the lack opportunity to cover a variety of topics within one discipline in a year. Each discipline requires steps. To get to intermolecular forces and a molecular understanding of solutions, there are prerequisites. The topics build on top of each other and a quarter is simply not enough time to cover enough to aid the student in another field. It is simply the nature of the subject. Thus, designing a curriculum that will achieve what is described above will require a year of chemistry before taking biology.
Whether taking one subject in science helps in another is an important question. A survey of how students perform in college science courses provides preliminary insights:
|Figure downloaded from