IB Primary Years Programme Update

October 2018 - What's Happening in the PYP at Wade King?

Transdisciplinary Theme: Sharing the Planet

An important element of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme is the set of transdisciplinary themes that all students inquire into each year. The idea of transdisciplinary themes, their purpose, and their meanings can be very complex and challenging to fully understand. Even staff who have been working at a PYP school for many years find they are continually developing their understanding of these themes. In order to help families better understand the six transdisciplinary themes, I will be creating a newsletter each month that focuses on one of the themes. This month we will be taking a deeper look into the transdisciplinary theme of Sharing the Planet.

Hana Anderson

Wade King PYP Coordinator and Tech Coach

Sharing the Planet

An inquiry into rights and responsibilities in the struggle to share finite resources with other people and with other living things; communities and relationships within and between them; access to equal opportunities; peace and conflict resolution

This is the IB's definition of the transdisciplinary theme, Sharing the Planet. As you can see, it is quite broad, and leaves room for schools and grade levels to approach this theme from many possible perspectives. At Wade King, both 1st grade and 5th grade began the year by inquiring into this theme in two very different ways.


5th grade inquired into the central idea that biotic and abiotic environmental factors affect each other. As a part of this inquiry, 5th graders explored lines of inquiry related to biodiversity, changes in the environment, as well as biotic and abiotic interactions. One activity students participated in was growing seeds with varying amounts of water in the soil, then recording and reflecting on the results. 5th grade students also attended Mountain School as a part of this inquiry. Through this experience, students had the opportunity to explore biodiversity and observe biotic and abiotic interactions in person.


In contrast, 1st grade students inquired into the central idea that people solve problems in a variety of ways. This included an inquiry into the awareness and articulation of feelings, tools people use to solve emotional problems, and how the decisions we make affect how others feel. As a part of this inquiry, 1st graders learned about methods for problem solving by using "Kelso's Choices." This program gives students a menu of strategies for solving small problems, such as apologizing and walking away. 1st graders also explored the Zones of Regulation, which is a framework for students to foster self-regulation and emotional control.


These two units of inquiry, although very different, both address the definition of Sharing the Planet in age-appropriate ways. Throughout the course of the year, all the grade levels will be inquiring into this theme as well. Through our exploration of all the transdisciplinary themes, students will have the opportunity to inquire into concepts and issues in a way that transcends the traditional disciplines.