The PYP Programme of Inquiry
The six transdisciplinary themes of the PYP are used to develop a programme of inquiry–in-depth investigations into important ideas, identified by the teachers, and requiring a high level of involvement on the part of the students.
These inquiries are substantial, in-depth and usually last for several weeks. For example, in an inquiry about "Sharing the planet" for students aged 8 and 9, we might look at "Finite resources—infinite demands". In order to understand better the central idea that "Our planet has limited resources that are unevenly distributed", and using water as an example, we would inquire into where water comes from, how different people and countries use water, how much water we use, what happens after we have used it, the distribution of usable water around the world, how human activity has affected the availability of water, and our responsibility for water conservation. To support this inquiry, students would develop knowledge and acquire skills derived from science and social studies. In addition, they would develop transdisciplinary skills such as critical-thinking, communication and time management.
In an inquiry about "Who we are" for students aged 4 and 5, we might look at "Families and friends". In order to understand better the central idea that "People need families and friends" we might look at how families are similar and different across cultures, how we make and keep friends, why we need families and friends, and families and friends through literature and the arts. To support this inquiry, students would develop knowledge and acquire skills derived from social studies, arts, and personal, social and physical education. In addition, they would develop transdisciplinary skills such as decision-making, listening, collecting data and working cooperatively. Since these ideas are related to the world beyond the school, students see the relevance of the content and connect with it in ways that are engaging and challenging. Students who learn in this way begin to reflect on their roles and responsibilities as learners and become actively involved with their learning.
All students will know that a unit of inquiry will involve them in in-depth exploration of an important idea, and that the teacher will be collecting evidence of how well they understand that idea. They will expect to be able to work in a variety of ways, including on their own and in groups, to allow them to learn to their best advantage. Students and parents will develop an understanding of the IB learner profile. The ten aspirational qualities of the learner profile inspire and motivate the work of teachers, students and schools, providing a statement of the aims and values of the IB and a definition of what we mean by "international-mindedness". IB learners strive to be inquirers, thinkers, communicators, risk-takers, knowledgeable, principled, open-minded, caring, balanced and reflective.