10 Activities to Explicitly Teach the Learner Profile Attributes through MYP Maths

Updated: Jul 31

The IB learner profile is at the centre of the middle years programme and should be evident throughout all teaching and learning. While we as teachers should model the traits, we also have many opportunities to teach them explicitly. Below are some activities which can take place in the maths classroom based around each attribute. First, some classroom displays and a learner profile self-assessment quiz can be found by clicking the images below.

Balanced - Students brainstorm their free time, weekly activities and categorise them under physical, intellectual, emotional/mental, social/relational, personal, spiritual, occupational (chores or job). They then create a pie chart to represent the time spent on each area. A discussion surrounding what a ‘balanced’ pie chart might look like (not necessarily having every slice an equal size) resulting in pupils setting one goal for how they will spend their time the next week e.g. spend 5 minutes a day organising my room (occupational).

Caring - Compare fair trade and unfair trade between countries. By identifying comparable products (for example two chocolate bars or two pairs of jeans), map the origin and calculate what percentage of the profit goes to farmers, workers, manufacturers etc. Reflect on the everyday choices we make and how we can live more ethically.

Communicators - Taboo is a great game to play when working with subject specific vocabulary. It involves trying to get a class member to guess the keyword without saying the obvious related words. For example, the keyword may be ‘square’ but you can’t say ‘four’, ‘equal’ or ‘right angle’.

Inquirers - Bowland Maths classroom tasks nurture the curiosity of students which inspires them to inquire using the research given. The open endedness of this problem (cats and kittens) means that students will have different answers depending on what assumptions they make. Easily link to MYP maths criteria C by encouraging students to articulate (verbally or visually) their thinking, criteria D by ensuring they reflect on their answer, and criteria B by initially looking at a smaller scale problem and spotting patterns.

Knowledgeable - Students choose a subject other than maths and plan their own interdisciplinary unit. This encourages students to look for links between mathematics and other disciplines.

Open-minded - Lead a circle of viewpoints in response to the current unit’s debatable question(s).

Principled - Start by reading about misleading graphs surrounding COVID-19 ( Then move on to analysing misleading graphs used for advertising. Recreate them in a transparent way and reflecting on the impact they have in the two forms - how might they change the mind of the consumer?

Reflective - Adopt maths journaling alongside a unit. Students can reflect on their prior knowledge, learning journey and strategies. This portfolio style of documentation can be a rich resource for you as a teacher to identify misconceptions, preferences in learning style and potential learning blocks.

Risk-takers - Present students with competition style problems. Facing the uncertainty of unfamiliar problems gives them an opportunity to be innovative and find a solution. Past competition papers can be found here:

Thinkers - Logic puzzles prompt creative and critical thinking and can be introduced as a lesson starter. The level of maths varies but there are a good variety on maths is fun:

Hopefully these were good prompts for you to start planning activities around the learner profile. Reference them often, model them always and let the students know when they are showcasing them effectively.