a closer look at transdisciplinary themes

The an effort to promote international mindedness, the PYP curriculum framework, is designed to represent multiple perspectives. The six transdisciplinary themes allow for an in depth exploration of  both local and global perspectives. Within the six years students spend here at Spicewood Elementary, they are exposed to various aspects of each theme. Today we will take a closer look at one of the Units of Inquiry to see how the same theme can be explored, yet provide students with a unique perspective and learning experiences in the classroom.

Transdisciplinary Theme: How We Organize Ourselves- An inquiry into the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities

Kindergarten: Our Kindergartners are introduced to systems, explore different systems in our local community that help out communities function, and inquire about the different systems in our world that help us meet our wants and needs. Some ways that they do this are:

Building background knowledge and tuning into students thinking as they began their inquiry into their How We Organize Ourselves unit.  

Students worked together to describe classroom systems and illustrated some examples of those systems with individual flow charts.

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system: getting ready for school 

To extend students knowledge of systems beyond the classroom walls, they collectively created a classroom city, ensuring their the different structures provided the community members services for their wants (ex: bakery) and needs (ex: fire station, hospital, etc.).


Third Grade: Our third graders will also explore systems in their How We Organize Ourselves unit, however, building on students background knowledge and experiences in the Kindergarten classrooms, by adding a more complex element: economy. In this unit, our third graders revisit the idea of wants and needs, but extend their learning towards spending, saving, and how the economic decisions of individuals affect communities.

To summarize their learning students were given three prompts to answer, leaving the method in which students demonstrated their understanding open to their own choice. Some students created a newspaper or flip book, while other chose to use poetry as their form of expression. Students creativity and understanding of the concepts explored in the unit truly shined with this freedom!



Interested in inquiring more about the benefits of transdisciplinary learning and how the IB curriculum framework teaches our children to be reflective problem solvers and self-directed thinkers.

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