The PYP is concept-driven and transdisciplinary
A transdisciplinary approach to learning is authentic and relevant to the real world. Teaching is not restricted to traditional subjects but is supported and enriched by them.
Throughout the year, students across grades 1-5 explore six units of inquiry, which fall under six transdisciplinary themes and incorporate all six of the PYP subject areas:
- social studies
- personal, social and physical education
The six units of inquiry are:
- Who we are.
- Where we are in place and time.
- How we express ourselves.
- How the world works.
- How we organize ourselves.
- Sharing the planet.
This inquiry-based learning method enables students to construct understanding within the context of their own lives.
Some examples of the units of inquiry in action at ABIS include:
During this unit, our students were all very open-minded in their approach to accepting different types of families and friendships. The Family Box project culminated in their second big presentation this semester and it was great to see how their confidence and language skills have improved. Students were especially reflective during this process and became highly aware of the concept of “belonging”. The Family Picnic was a particular highlight of this unit where families and friends were welcomed for delicious snacks and games.
What gets you out of bed in the morning? What makes cars move, factories produce things, light bulbs glow, planes fly and your computer work? What would a day without energy look like? All these questions and more led us into our fourth unit using our critical thinking skills to predict and analyse experiments. We inquired into the properties of light, sound and heat, seeing how we as humans use our understanding of scientific principles to harness energy for daily use. We also investigated electricity as energy. Experimenting with equipment to make circuits, we observed first-hand the effects of connecting wires and how it influenced the outcome.
The unit Health and Wellbeing we started out by getting some background information about the body from books and the internet. Then we found out about healthy eating. We had an expert visitor from a food scientist. Through practical examples and hands-on activities, she helped develop our knowledge of a balanced diet. We learned about types of food and nutrition and checked out nutrition labels on food packaging. With our food journals, we could make informed decisions about how to take action and eat more healthily.
The 4th graders inquired into a unit on the states of matter and what was already known about water. They created leaflets in groups about the uses of water, the 3 states of matter, the water cycle. Much of the unit was focused on the different stages of the scientific process. By doing group experiments, the 4th grade scientists designed, executed and presented their own ideas about water to their peers as well as guests from the upper grades.
Grade 5 explored the transdisciplinary theme of “Who we Are”. We were fortunate enough to have a number of experts from the school and local community come to share their knowledge of human body systems with the class. We visited a hospital where we got to see how ultrasounds, CT scans and MRIs are done. It was great to be able to experience things in our community first-hand. For the summative assessment, the students became experts on one body system. They created beautiful and informative brochures for their system on the computers and presented their findings to their peers.