MYP Key and related concepts

Planning IB MYP Units


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May 2, 2022

Working towards IB MYP authorisation – a reflection on our professional development day

How to plan IB MYP units

On 25 April 2022, our students stayed at home to allow the teachers to participate in a professional development day.

One of the key aims was to learn how to plan IB MYP units based on statements of inquiry. Learning on the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IB MYP) should be based on concepts and global contexts. “Key concepts” are the “big ideas” (IB, 2021 a, p.22) that allow the students to make connections between the subjects. There are also “related concepts” that promote deeper understanding within a discipline. These concepts are studied within “global contexts” such as “orientation in space and time” or “scientific and technical innovation” (IBO, 2021 b, p.9) to give the students a compelling reason for studying the unit.

Working together to design an IB MYP unit

Teachers from each subject group worked together to design a unit for a Grade 6 MYP class. The first task was to create a statement of inquiry that drives the learning within the unit. The statement includes a key concept, 1-2 related concepts and a clear global context. Here is an example from our Language and Literature department: “The structure and style of narrative poetry is an interesting way to communicate dramatic historical events.” We gave feedback on each other’s statements to improve the wording. We then devised questions based on this statement and a summative assessment that would involve creating a “product” rather than writing a traditional test. The IB requires teachers to plan these units collaboratively and for the school to provide time for this.

IB MYP implementation: a challenging and creative task

This was a challenging and creative task for the teachers. We need to organise these units of inquiry into a coherent sequence of units in Grades 6-10 that transition from the Primary Years Programme in Grade 6 and develop the knowledge and approaches to learning so that the students are ready to participate in the IB Diploma Programme in Grade 11. We have just over a year to develop the units in Grades 6-8 so that we can start implementing the IB MYP in August 2023. These are interesting times!

Edward Parker, International Secondary School

Also published on LinkedIn



IB. (2021a). Arts guide. Cardiff: International Baccalaureate.

IB. (2021b). MYP: From principles into practice. Cardiff: International Baccalaureate.