An introduction to thematic learning

Holistic methodological thinking / exploring a topic

Thematic learning is holistic. With this methodology, you can approach any problem, topic, idea, but always with an overall perspective. There is a main idea (in our case the problem of landmines) that creates synergies between the teachers and students who are members of a project.

Aristotle already said in his Metaphysics “The whole is more than the sum of its parts” and it is this synergy that is created by working, teachers and students together that makes students grow intellectually and professionally.

In our DEMETER project we have tried to address the development in our students of at least the following skills (we will show the skills and examples of activities that enhances them):

  • Analytical thinking. A workshop was created to study and discuss how an anti-personnel mine detection system works. We have created workshops to learn about 3D printing, stepper motors, Arduino, etc.
  • Communication. In many project dissemination activities, it was the students themselves and not the teachers who explained their experience and what they were doing.
  • Cooperation. The construction of the rover was a cooperative activity between teams from different countries. There was mutual help between teams with different technical skills.
  • Design. Propulsion system, gearbox, mechanical arm prototypes were designed and tested, evaluating materials, morphology, 3D printing techniques, etc.
  • Implement theoretical knowledge in practice. In each activity, the students had to put into practice what they were learning theoretically.
  • Motor skills. Rover driving practices were carried out in which the students, for example, steered the rover, testing the propulsion system and evaluating the different improvements to be made.
  • Digital skills. Both the website, the logo, the infographics and part of the infrastructure of the DEMETER website were made by the students.
  • Organization and planning. Assembling a rover is not an easy task, requiring planning and organization skills.
  • Troubleshooting. In practically all phases of construction, problems have arisen that had to be solved collaboratively among the students and with the help of the teacher.


Therefore, in the event that you try to approach a project using the thematic learning methodology, you should try to cover a large and sufficient group of skills to consider the project viable. The more open, more current and with a sufficient degree of sophistication the better.

The Demeter Project