The IB Middle Years Programme has a major emphasis on the fluidity of the curricular framework of interconnections of the subject areas. The overall philosophy of the program is to encourage intercultural awareness, holistic learning, and communication. Teaching is concerned with how students learn and with helping students discover themselves as learners so that they can develop their learning skills. Through effective planning and teaching, students learn about their place within communities and are motivated to act in a new context.
MYP English Grade 9
This one-year course focuses on developing powerful reading skills with special emphasis on the role of the reader in the accumulation and dissemination of meaning. Texts for the course cover a broad range of topics and include a large assortment of shorter texts–essays, articles, short stories–as well as the novel. Professional, scholarly reading skills and strategies including textual annotation, note-taking, response writing, abstracting, summarizing, paraphrasing, and reflective writing are important components of this course.
The course also introduces students to the idea that all texts are lenses through which authors examine and make assertions about concepts and ideas that are important to them. The foundational philosophy of this course, a thread that runs through all the MYP and DP English courses, is the idea that “truths,” while relevant and powerful in and of themselves, are exponentially powerful when they are cloaked in “stories,” and that it is these stories that must be analyzed, interpreted, and deconstructed as students progress toward becoming more powerful readers.
MYP English Grade 10
This one-year course immerses students in the idea that at some point vigorous, active, and accomplished readers become active and engaged writers. Based on the natural progression of reader to writer, an examination of the roles of twenty-first century writers as well as the specific professional writing skills, techniques, and strategies they employ, become essential. While the professional reading skills of annotation, note-taking, and response writing are continued from the previous course, the addition of professional writing skills and strategies are the focus of this course.
Texts for the course cover a broad range of topics in both the fiction and non-fiction genres and are quite varied in length including essays, articles, blog posts, short stories, scripts, and novels. These texts, while still read for enjoyment and personal meaning, become the textual models that students deconstruct and imitate in their journey to become talented and effective writers.
Language B Spanish
Students continue their command of the language at this stage, practicing their skills through conversations and exercises in writing and grammar.
The humanities subject consists of a broad range of traditionally separate subjects, such as geography, history, economics, politics, civics, sociology, anthropology, and psychology. Students address the concepts of time, place and space, change, systems and global awareness from the technical, analytical, problem-solving, and investigative skills points of view.
The primary aim of the humanities course is to develop an understanding and application of concepts and skills rather than prescribe and assess content. This subject includes some focus on the history of Texas and the United States, and the principles of government.
Students will be introduced to the formal theory of physics, biology, ecology, and chemistry, in addition to the theory of science in general and other areas of science. Skills and methods of experimentation are developed through hands-on experience in the lab. The study of science aims to provide students with both a body of knowledge and an understanding of the scientific approach to problem-solving. The ability to formulate hypotheses, design and carry out experiments to test them, and evaluate results constitutes the framework within which specific content is presented.
Among other skills, students are expected to use basic laboratory equipment safely and efficiently, make sensible estimates and take accurate measurements, and make scientifically supported arguments. Students are also encouraged to relate the content of the classroom and laboratory to the realities of life as they develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
An awareness of the increasingly international context of scientific activity, its impact and limitations as well as the constant evolution of scientific knowledge and understanding is also promoted. Students are encouraged to consider science as a constantly evolving cooperative venture between individuals and among members of the international community, influenced by social, economic, technological, political, ethical, and cultural surroundings.
At this level, students continue algebra by exploring problems using geometric and analytical approaches with an increasing use of formal notation. Major areas in grade 9 include statistics, probability, introduction to trigonometry, functions, and vectors.
In grade 10 these areas are expanded to include transformation geometry, data analysis, advanced trigonometry, sequences, matrices, linear transformations, counting theory, and logic.
The arts course group of the curriculum encompasses visual arts and performing arts. Students are encouraged to identify particular creative abilities and to master techniques appropriate to that form of expression.
In addition, the course organizes learning around the creative cycle–a dynamic, ongoing process of sensing, planning, creating, and evaluating art; one which involves all the senses, and encourages creative energy, communication, interaction and reflection; one which aims to help the student become a developing artist; one which is able to assess the level of skill and target the areas that need development and seeks to acquaint young people with the creations of men and women whose works have proven to be of enduring worth.
Physical Education (PE)
A key component of PE is the exploration of human issues that help students identify and develop skills that will enable them to function as effective members of societies, to learn how they are changing, and how to make informed decisions that might relate to their own welfare.
Students develop skills that help them become personally responsible for their own laptops including operating system, office, and security software. They begin to use multiple tools to research, collect, organize, and present information and media from text documents to graphics animation. In particular, students are encouraged to display ingenuity and creativity in devising practical solutions to given tasks. Students use the design cycle to investigate, design, plan, create, and evaluate. This subject area is valuable for reinforcing and integrating skills learned in other disciplines, especially in the presentation and handling of data and the process involved in the design and manufacture of a product. At the same time, it fosters an awareness of the social and ethical implications of technological development.
In the final year of the MYP, each student completes a personal project, a significant piece of work that is the product of the student’s own initiative and creativity. Each project must reflect a personal understanding of the areas of interaction. Students apply the skills acquired through one of these areas as well as approaches to learning. Students are expected to choose their project, which can take many forms, and take the process through to completion under the supervision of a teacher in the school. This involves planning, research, and a high degree of personal reflection. The personal project is assessed by teachers against a set of IB assessment criteria. This personal project should reflect the efficacy of the integration of the areas of interaction in the school.