Adapting PYP units of inquiry to learn about crises — Examples for educators and schools

Flexibility with units of inquiry

Primary Years Programme (PYP) classrooms are well equipped to provide students, aged 3-12, a safe space for learners to work through challenging issues. It is encouraged that in times of need, schools and educators are flexible and pivot their next unit of inquiry to best respond to what learners are asking or needing in relation to events unfolding in the world.

The following unit of inquiry ideas are intended as examples for such times. If used, it is recommended that they be adapted to best suit the questions, needs, contexts and ages of the learners.

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  • Who we are

    Learner profile: inquirers, balanced

     

    Central idea: In times of crisis, people look to support the basic needs and well-being of themselves and others.

    Key concepts: form, causation, responsibility

    Related concepts: crises, well-being, needs, adaptation

    Lines of inquiry:

    • Immediate and long-term impacts of a crisis on daily life
    • Self-care and well-being in times of crisis
    • Making a difference in times of need

    Subject focus: PSPE, Social studies, Arts

  • Where we are in time and place

    Learner profile: open-minded, knowledgeable

     

    Central idea: Communities change through crisis and human displacement.

    Key concepts: function, connection, change

    Related concepts: belonging, home, compassion, complexity

    Lines of inquiry:

    • Displacement due to crisis and its immediate effects individually, locally and globally
    • How communities change, adapt or transform in response to crises
    • Supporting displaced people and communities

    Subject focus: Social studies, Language, Mathematics

How we express ourselves

Learner profile: reflective, communicators

Central idea:  Storytelling allows people to connect through the sharing of ideas, feelings and experiences.

Key concepts:  perspective, connection, change

Related concepts: meaning making, well-being, expression

Lines of inquiry:

  • The structure and process of storytelling as a form of expression
  • How storytelling can connect people
  • How storytelling can support well-being

Subject focus: Language, Arts, PSPE

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  • How the world works

    Learner profile: thinkers, balanced

     

    Central idea: Crises unsettle the environment of living things.

    Key concepts: form, causation, responsibility

    Related concepts: ecosystem, interdependence, stability

    Lines of inquiry:

    • The connections between living things in immediate environment
    • How crises impact the immediate environment of living things
    • How communities work together to rebuild immediate environment

    Subject focus: Science, Mathematics, PSPE

  • How the world works

    Learner profile: thinkers, balanced

     

    Central idea: Crises disrupt human and natural systems

    Key concepts: connection, change, responsibility

    Related concepts: social and ecological systems, transformation, adaptation, resilience

    Lines of inquiry:

    • The interconnection and interdependence of human and natural systems
    • The impact of crisis on human and natural systems
    • Rebuilding healthy and resilient systems

    Subject focus: Science, Mathematics, PSPE

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  • How we organize ourselves

    Learner profile: caring, thinkers

     

    Central idea: In times of crisis people respond in extraordinary ways to help others.

    Key concepts: function, connection, responsibility

    Related concepts: aid, needs, well-being, survival

    Lines of inquiry:

    • Emergency responses and actions locally
    • Emergency responses and actions globally
    • Planning, carrying out and taking responsive action

    Subject focus: PSPE, Social studies, Arts

  • How we organize ourselves

    Learner profile: caring, thinkers

     

    Central idea: Individual and collective action can have far reaching impacts in times of crisis.

    Key concepts: causation, perspective, responsibility,

    Related concepts: equity, justice, systems, interconnection

    Lines of inquiry:

    • Intended and unintended consequences of actions
    • Individual and collective influence and impact on systems of response
    • Planning, carrying out and taking reflective action

    Subject focus: PSPE, Social studies, Language

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  • Sharing the planet

    Learner profile: thinkers, principled

     

    Central idea: Children worldwide experience challenges in realising their rights to survive and thrive.

    Key concepts: form, connection, responsibility

    Related concepts: rights, equity, protection

    Lines of inquiry:

    • Rights of children
    • What it means to survive or thrive
    • Supporting and protecting children’s rights

     Subject focus: Science, Social studies, Arts

  • Sharing the planet

    Learner profile: thinkers, principled

     

    Central idea:  Responses to conflict (or crises) can support or obstruct pathways to peace and justice.

    Key concepts: function, perspective, responsibility

    Related concepts: peace, justice, equity, complexity

    Lines of inquiry:

    • Root causes of conflict (or crises)
    • Pathways towards peace and justice at multiple levels locally and globally
    • Intended and unintended consequences of possible responses and pathways

    Subject focus: Social studies, Language, PSPE