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Written Curriculum Step 2: Grouping Content into Units

Updated: Aug 1, 2022

For this post, we will look at how we can start separating our content (from the framework) into units and specifying what will be covered in each unit. Following on from the previous post, you should now have a general idea about what content will be covered each year, by branch (numerical and abstract reasoning, thinking with models, spatial reasoning and reasoning with data). The next step is to group that content into 4 or 5 (preferably no more than 8) units per year.

Attached is an example of how the content could be grouped into units across the five years.

Step - 3. Organising into units
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Here is a template subject overview for you to copy and use for your own work-in-progress written curriculum!

Further guidance

  • Units can cover content from multiple branches (in the example, ratio has been grouped with metric conversions and time with the thought that the unit can develop into rates such as speed or cost per unit).

  • You may want to add additional units, such as the transition from PYP or to DP, at the beginning and end of the program.

  • A unit can comprise just one topic from the content list (such as unit 2.3 - number sequences or 5.2 - algorithms). This is particularly beneficial for topics that can be explored in different ways and fit multiple contexts. Prior knowledge can often be brought into these units and revisited.

  • A unit can comprise many topics from the content list (such as unit 2.5 - transformations). This tends to happen when there are multiple topics similar to one another or if as a teacher you are used to teaching certain topics together.

  • If you plan on having standard and extended classes in MYP4/5, it may be worth keeping the first unit(s) of MYP4 quite similar across the two levels to accommodate any students that are identified as needing to move groups soon after starting,

  • Standard and extended classes can have very different units (content mixed in different ways, units taught at different times with different contexts/concepts) and it is likely the assessments will be different. However, this does not have to be the case. Units can have the same big idea, just with additional content taught for extended classes.

  • The number and duration of units will depend on the amount of time your school has allocated to mathematics. They should be long enough to allow for in depth inquiry, however the duration of each unit will vary and therefore there may be a greater number for some year groups.

  • The “to know, to understand, to be able to” learning outcomes in the subject group overview stem from Bloom’s taxonomy. They are useful for breaking down the somewhat vague topics in the guide. Start with listing any keywords, definitions and formulae under “to know”, key concepts “to understand” and key skills/application “to be able to”. Keep revisiting and adding to this - it is especially beneficial if multiple teachers teach the same year group to avoid inconsistencies within learning.

Now we have the basic framework, on the next post we will start developing the inquiry part of our units.


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