Programme of Inquiry

Programme of Inquiry, 2016-17

It is important to note that the curriculum in a Primary Years Programme (PYP) school includes all student activities, academic and non academic, for which the school takes responsibility.  The PYP is not a subject.

What is a POI?

Throughout each year students are engaged in an in-depth inquiry into six transdisciplinary themes from Prep to Grade 6 and four themes in the Early Years. Referred to as the Programme of Inquiry (POI) it is commonly displayed in the form of a matrix.

It is a requirement of the IB that PYP schools have a coherent, articulated POI across the Lower School that allows for a balanced inclusion of the subject areas; Languages, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science and Technology, Arts and PSPE (Personal, Social and Physical Education).

What does the POI contain?

  • A Unit of Inquiry under each of the six transdisciplinary themes at each grade level: Who we are, Where we are in place and time, How we express ourselves, How the world works, How we organize ourselves and Sharing the Planet.  In the Early Years students investigate a unit under each of the themes, Who we are and How We express ourselves, plus two other themes of choice. The transdisciplinary themes are revisited every academic year.
  • Central Ideas that express in one concise sentence an enduring understanding.  Central Ideas are linked to the transdisciplinary theme, should be engaging, relevant, challenging and significant, and written as a concise statement. Throughout each unit students work towards developing a thorough understanding of the Central Idea which they can support with solid evidence.
  • Key and Related Concepts for each Unit of Inquiry.  The 8 key concepts; form, function, causation, change, connection, perspective, responsibility and reflection help focus the direction of the units.  Usually 2-3 key concepts are selected per Unit of Inquiry.  Related concepts are derived from the key concepts and help deepen an understanding of the subject areas while providing further opportunities to make connections throughout the learning.
  • Lines of Inquiry that clarify the Central Ideas and define the scope of the inquiry.  Usually there are 3-4 Lines of Inquiry.  The Lines of Inquiry extend the inquiry, focus student research, and deepen students’ understanding.

It should be recognized that this transdisciplinary Programme of Inquiry is not merely a novel way of repackaging subject-specific content.  Rather, it is a way of students using a range of subject-specific knowledge, concepts and skills in order to develop a deeper understanding of the transdisciplinary themes.

Adapted from ‘Developing a transdisciplinary programme of inquiry’ (IB, 2012)

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