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How We Study

Transdisciplinary Curriculum

In the PYP students develop knowledge through transdisciplinary units of study.  The curriculum is transdisciplinary, meaning that it focuses on issues that go across subject areas.Teachers in the PYP design Units of Inquiry (UoI) collaboratively under six transdisciplinary themes. Students in in PYP 1 to 5 inquire into the six themes during the school year but with a different focus every year and different levels of complexity. PYP K inquire into four units.

  • Who we are - An inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; human relationships including families, friends, communities, and cultures, rights and responsibilities; what it means to be human.
  • Where we are and time and place - An inquiry into orientation in place and time; personal histories; homes and journeys; the discoveries, explorations, and migrations of humankind; the relationships between and the interconnectedness of individuals and civilizations, from local and global perspectives.
  • How we organize ourselves - An inquiry into the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities; the structure and function of organizations; societal decision-making; economic activities and their impact on humankind and the environment.
  • How we express ourselves - An inquiry into the ways in which we discover and express ideas, feelings, nature, culture, beliefs, and values; the ways in which we reflect on, extend and enjoy our creativity; our appreciation of the aesthetic.
  • How the world works - An inquiry into the natural world and its laws; the interaction between the natural world (physical and biological) and human societies; how humans use their understanding of scientific principles; the impact of scientific and technological advances on society and on the environment.
  • Sharing the planet - An inquiry into the rights and responsibilities in the struggle to share finite resources with other people and with other living things; communities and the relationships within and between them; access to equal opportunities; peace and conflict resolution.


Concept-based Teaching and Learning

Conceptual understanding is at the core of the teaching and learning in the PYP. The PYP framework is designed around a key set of important ideas or concepts that provide the foundation for exploration across all disciplines.The conceptual understanding allows students to build lasting connections that transfer from different contexts. The key concepts guiding the teaching in the PYP are:

  • Form - What is it like?
  • Function - How does it work?
  • Causation - Why is it like it is?
  • Change - How is it changing?
  • Connection - How is it connected to other things?
  • Perspective - What are the points of view?
  • Responsibility - What is our responsibility?
  • Reflection - How do we know?


Inquiry is an approach to teaching that the IB is committed to. In the inquiry-based classroom, there is an emphasis on real-life situations, decision-making, problem-solving, research and action. Students are active collaborators and participants in this process. Students are actively taking part in constructing meaning and knowledge. In this process it is essential to draw on prior knowledge, provide provocations and allow time for reflection and consolidation of learning.