Adapting MYP units to learn about a crisis — Guidance for educators and schools

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This resource provides guidance and exemplification for how to pivot existing Middle Years Programme (MYP) units in any subject to support students learning about a crisis.

It is encouraged that in times of need, schools and educators pivot their units, or pause them, in order to best respond to events that are unfolding in the world.

Flexibility in MYP requirements

Educators can make this choice without coming into conflict with MYP requirements. To offer flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic, until the end of 2022 schools may determine that it is not in the best interests of their students to assess each criterion twice in every subject group each year. Educators should, if they see fit, use this flexibility to prioritize adapting their units over completing planned unit summative assessments.

Pivoting through MYP global contexts or key concepts  

All MYP units—in any subject group—have chosen key and related concepts and a global context. The global context and key concept are designed to support the transfer of conceptual understandings across subject boundaries and both can serve as an entry point into topics educators of any subject may wish to explore with their students in times of crisis. 

Below are example inquiry questions to frame learning experiences about a crisis which can be explored through a unit’s existing global context and/or key concept. They should be adapted to suit the questions, needs, contexts and ages of learners.

Global context: Identities and relationships

Key concept: Culture / Identity / Relationships / Communities

Learner profile: Principled, Caring

Inquiry questions:

  • Who do we rely on in times of crisis?
  • How are different members of our community impacted by a crisis?
  • How can relationships help us through crisis?
  • How might a crisis affect people's well-being?
  • Is it important to look after ourselves before we look after others?
  • Are we stronger together?
  • (Action) How can we support our family, friends and community in times of crisis?

Global context: Scientific and technical innovation

Key concept: Systems / Development / Change

Learner profile: Thinker, Knowledgeable

Inquiry questions:

  • What role does technology play in a crisis?
  • How are systems affected by a crisis?
  • What impact can a crisis have on innovation?
  • To what extent can technology help us better understand a crisis?
  • How can technology and/or systems influence the trajectory of a crisis?
  • How can we use technology, information and data to help us manage a crisis?
  • (Action) How can we use our knowledge of technology to take action in a crisis?

Global context: Orientation in time and space

Key concept: Connections / Time, place and space, Perspective

Learner profile: Knowledgeable, Thinker

Inquiry questions:

  • How does a crisis impact people in different parts of the world?
  • How does where we are in the world impact what we define as a crisis?
  • How can we use what we have learnt from previous crises to help us with another crisis?
  • Do the most important turning points in history happen because of crises?
  • Does proximity to a crisis impact our connection to it?
  • (Action) How can we take action to help people near and far?

Global context: Globalization and sustainability

Key concept: Global interactions / Connections / Relationships / Communities

Learner profile: Caring, Open-minded

Inquiry questions:

  • What is the impact of a crisis on our local, national and global community?
  • What role do we play in a crisis?
  • Does how we respond ‘here’ affect what happens ‘there’?
  • How do different people or communities experience the same crisis?
  • Is it possible/desirable to return to ‘normal’ after a crisis?
  • (Action) How can people around the world learn from crises and take action to avoid them in the future?

Global context: Fairness and development

Key concept: Communities / Connections / Global interactions

Learner profile: Principled, Caring

Inquiry questions:

  • How can a crisis highlight inequality?
  • How are our rights and responsibilities affected by a crisis?
  • How are different people and communities impacted differently by a crisis and why?
  • Does a crisis discriminate? 
  • What responsibility do we have to respond to a crisis?
  • (Action) How can we use our power and privilege to help others during a crisis?

Global context: Personal and cultural expression

Key concept: Communication / Creativity / Culture / Aesthetics / Perspective

Learner profile: Communicator, Reflective

Inquiry questions:

  • Through what ways or mediums can people share their own experience of a crisis?
  • How can crises inspire creativity?
  • What role do beliefs and values have in a crisis?
  • How does understanding an individual’s perspective help us better understand a crisis?
  • Does artistry, craft, creation and beauty have a place in times of crisis?
  • (Action) How can we use creativity to support people in a crisis?