Primary Years Programme

The Primary Years Program for Parents : What will my child learn during a Unit of Inquiry (UOI)

A UOI is designed around 5 essential elements.  Students in kindergarten explore 4 UOIs yearly and primary students explore all 6 UOIs. Refer to your child’s grade level written curriculum document for more details on learning outcomes. 

What are these 5 elements? Knowledge, Concepts, Skills, Attitudes, Action

(1 of 5) KNOWLEDGE—The PYP recognizes that it is inappropriate to dictate what every child should know in an international community.  The PYP has identified themes, or areas of knowledge, which are used to organize the 6 Units of Inquiry, taught from early childhood through grade 6. The UOIs  provide the framework (as opposed to a textbook curriculum) for a wide variety of resources to be explored in order to accomplish the objectives within each UOI.  Where appropriate, aspects of literacy, numeracy, science, social studies, fine arts, and PSPE are interwoven within a UOI to present the student with a transdisciplinary learning opportunity perspective.

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 in Place and Time: 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 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. 

How We Organize Ourselves: An inquiry into the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities; the structure and function of organizations; societal decision-making and their impact on humankind and the environment. 

Sharing the Planet: An inquiry into 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. 

(2 of 5) CONCEPTS – There are 8 key concepts that structure the UOIs.  These concepts promote learning and understanding and support inquiry. 

The 8 key concepts are transdisciplinary in nature, so students have multiple opportunities to understand the concepts in different contexts and connect their learning through improved critical thinking and knowledge transfer. 

1. Form: What is it like? The understanding that everything has a form with recognizable features that can be observed, identified, described and categorized.

2. Function: How does it work? The understanding that everything has a purpose, a role or a way of behaving that can be investigated.

3. CausationWhy is it like it is? The understanding that things do not just happen, that there are causal relationships at work, and that actions have consequences. 

4. Change: How is it changing? The understanding that change is the process of movement from one state to another. It is universal and inevitable. 

5. Connection: How is it connected to other things? The understanding that we live in a world of interacting systems in which the actions of any individual element affects others. 

6. Perspective: What are the points of view? The understanding that knowledge is moderated by perspectives; different perspectives lead to different interpretations, understandings and findings; perspectives may be individual, group, cultural or disciplinary. 

7. ResponsibilityWhat is our responsibility? The understanding that people make choices based on their understandings, and the actions they take as a result do make a difference. 

8. Reflection: How do we know? The understanding that there are different ways of knowing, and that it is important to reflect on our conclusions, to consider our methods of reasoning, and the quality and the reliability of the evidence we have considered.

(3 of 5) SKILLS —There are 5 sets of transdisciplinary skills that students develop through authentic learning experiences of structured inquiry. These skills found the basis for a student’s approach to learning (ATL) as each set of skills can be applied across various disciplines over the course of a lifetime. 



Thinking skills

Acquisition of knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, Evaluation, Dialectical thought, Metacognition

Thinking

Social skills

 

Accepting responsibility, Respecting others, Cooperating, Resolving conflict, Group decision-making, Adopting a variety of group roles

Social skills

Communication skills

Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing, Viewing, Presenting, Non-verbal communication

Communication skills

Self-management skills

Gross motor skills, Fine motor skills, Spatial awareness, Organization, Time management, Safety healthy lifestyle,    Codes of behavior, Informed choices

Self management skills

Research skills

 
Formulating questions, Observing, Planning, Collecting data, Recording data, Organizing data, Interpreting data, Presenting research finding
Research skills

(4 of 5) ATTITUDES – PYP includes 12 attitudes that are essential values which contribute to the well-being of the individual and the group.  The focus on individual attitudes, in addition to knowledge, skills, and concepts, help to form an internationally minded person. 

Appreciation            Commitment          Confidence          Cooperation

Creativity                   Curiosity                Empathy             Enthusiasm

Independence            Integrity                Respect                Tolerance

 

(5 of 5) ACTION How do we want students to act?

Action is an extension of learning beyond the intellectual into thoughtful and appropriate action based on previous learning. Action can extend the student learning or it may have wider social impacts.  Action looks different in different age groups. For example, 3 year old students may confidently tell parents that they can feed themselves; students in upper primary may try to initiate a more comprehensive waste reduction program in the home or wider community based on their understanding of local ordinances and materials. 

What does action look like?

  • It is a voluntary demonstration of a student’s empowerment within the context of the learning program. 
  • It is also inaction in some instances.  Complex issues do not always have simple answers, inaction is also a choice based on the student’s evaluation of the situation.
  • It is the student’s right to have the opportunity to take action as an individual or in a group.
  • It is a powerful part of student learning. 

Resources