Developing a Transdisciplinary POI

Transdisciplinary POI: Summary

The Program of Inquiry (POI) serves as a framework for our curriculum and illustrates the major concepts that students will be exploring. It is made up of six units per grade level that help students gain an understanding of themselves and the world around them.

Transdisciplinary learning is the exploration of a relevant concept, issue or problem that integrates the perspectives of multiple disciplines in order to connect new knowledge and deeper understanding to real life experiences.

  • A transdisciplinary programme of inquiry offers students a broad, balanced, conceptual and connected learning experience.

  • Six transdisciplinary themes form the structure of the programme of inquiry.

      • 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.

  • The themes capture human commonalities that are significant and relevant across cultures, geographic regions and student learning stages.

  • A well-designed programme of inquiry ensures students gain a balance of subject-specific knowledge, conceptual understandings and skills, alongside opportunities to develop the attributes of the IB learner profile and to take action.

  • Units of inquiry are collaboratively planned, developed and continually modified based on reflection with students.

Source: / Magellan International School

PYP Transdisciplinary Themes Posters

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PYP Transdisciplinary Themes Descriptions

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Transdisciplinary POI Elements

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The programme of inquiry consists of transdisciplinary units of inquiry that include:

  • central idea— the primary conceptual lens that frames the transdisciplinary unit of inquiry and support students’ conceptual understandings of the transdisciplinary theme under which it is situated

  • concepts—key and related concepts that support higher-order thinking and provide lenses for considering knowledge related to the central idea in a range of ways

  • lines of inquiry—statements that define the potential scope of an inquiry.


PYP Framework

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PYP Elements

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Podcast: Developing a Programme of Inquiry

Angeline Aow

Podcast - Developing a POI - Angeline Aow.mp3
Created by RACHEL FRENCH FRENCHSource: Professional Learning International - 44:52 - Nov. 12, 2018

In this episode, Sarah Gilmore interviews Angeline Aow about developing a Programme of Inquiry. Angeline has been a PYP educator since 2002 when she worked in Nanjing International School, the first full IB continuum school in China. Since 2005 she has worked at Berlin International School and has been a homeroom teacher, music specialist, and PYP coordinator. For more than a decade, Angeline has been a PYP workshop leader, team leader for visits and in these roles, she has worked in the Asia-Pacific, European, Middle-East and African regions.

Collaborative Planning

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UOI Elements

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Candidate Schools - Creating and Revising Your Program of Inquiry

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What's included in this resource:
  • Strategies and processes you can use to both create and refine your curriculum.
  • Learn what is included in a POI?
  • Learn how to create your first POI?

Candidate Schools - Creating & Reviewing your Curriculum (POI)

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In this video, you will:
  • Get a cheat sheet of what is required in your POI
  • Access a step-by-step guide for developing a year one outline
  • Explore 3 types of curriculum review with tips and things to consider
  • Ask questions and get specific advice on how to get started!

Developing a UOI

Guided Student Journal to Support Inquiry in the PYP

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(Note: this is a large document and Google will ask you to download it. It is virus free.). Source: Toddle

Toddle's Chris Gadbury has created a wonderful guided inquiry journal for PYP students. It is a collection of thinking tools that will encourage students to ask questions, reflect, and apply their understandings and skills.

The guided student journal includes:

  • Visual templates to help unpack your unit of inquiry

  • Beautifully designed thinking routines to guide student inquiry

  • Ready-to-use mini lessons for each stage of an inquiry cycle

  • Tools to help students feel like artists as they document their learning journey

Designing Rigorous Learning Experiences

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Planning - I used to Think - Now I Think

Website Source: Toddle

Unit of Inquiry Idea Banks - Resource

The team at Toddle has created a few units of inquiry that are ubiquitous across school POIs. To help you plan these units better and make deeper connections the following detailed idea banks come complete with resources, best practices and strategies. Use these idea banks to identify transdisciplinary focus, design central ideas, unpack concepts and more!

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Evaluating a Unit of Inquiry

Run Time: 6:19 - Apr 23, 2022
As a PYP site visitor, programme leader for PYP, a workshop leader, and independent business owner, I evaluate curriculum for schools on a global scale. I have put together this video based on current IB PYP criteria to help school evaluate the programme of inquiry on their own. It does take a working knowledge of concept-based curriculum and instruction.
by Robin Long - Let Them Learn website

Better World Project - Unit

Run Time: 6:54 - June 25, 2018
This video features an inspiring Better World Project accomplished by the Interdistrict School for Arts and Communication (ISAAC) in New London, CT, an EL Education school. It was one of 18 winning Better World Projects selected by a committee of EL Education students, teachers, and leaders, from submissions across the country.
EL Schools are not IB schools, but this project is an example of what an IB UOI could look like - truly transdisciplinary, inquiry & concept based with student voice and choice and connect to being internationally minded - what is means to be human.
** View More EL Better World Projects

Developing a Central Idea

Crafting Central Ideas - Podcast

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In this session you will

Developing a Central Idea - Podcast

Click/Tap on Image to View Podcast**Access the checklists in Kirsten’s presentation here.

Crafting Central Ideas Booklet

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Central Idea Guidance

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Central Idea Process Guide

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Central Idea Poster

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Essential Questions Explained

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Megalist of Essential Questions

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