Using an IB Inspired Approach for Lesson Plans
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Using an IB Inspired Approach for Lesson Plans

Planning a unit using an IB approach for lesson planning makes for engaging lesson plans.

Even if your school does not prescribe to the IB approach to learning, incorporating a few of the techniques into your lesson planning can be highly effective for planning a unit that is both engaging for learners and encourages a natural curiosity about the world in which we live. Using an IB inspired approach for lesson plans does not mean changing your entire curriculum. It simply means adjusting the way you approach a particular topic, and planning a unit with enquiry in mind.

Planning a Unit With a Question in Mind

Real progress in the world always stems from a problem and a question about how to solve it. This is exactly the approach we should be taking in the classroom. Planning a unit should always start with a single question for students to ponder throughout. This question should engage curiosity, and should be revisited with each lesson plan.

Questions should be broad in scope, but as the unit plan progresses, students will find they are able to interact with the question with ease. The question will bring continuity to the unit and will make it easier for lesson plans to incorporate a variety of disciplines. The end result will be a unit plan with the promise of authentic learning.

Using Different Lenses for Lesson Plans

Just as 4 different people standing at 4 different corners of an intersection will interpret the scene of an accident in different ways, so too can a single topic be approached with a variety of lesson plans. IB guides planning a unit with 5 areas of interaction.

  • Approaches to Learning
  • Health and Social Education
  • Community and Service
  • Human Ingenuity
  • Environment

It is not necessary to use each area of interaction in every unit plan, but employing a few will make for lesson plans that challenge a greater variety of students to engage in their learning in a more meaningful and authentic way.

IB Holistic Planning to Develop Individual Lesson Plans in Action

Let's use the topic of bridges and look at how we might incorporate a few IB principles in planning a unit.

You could start with the broad question of: In what ways do our societal economic needs impact our lives?

A lesson plan focused on the area of Health and Social Education might include an activity that requires students to work together to build a model bridge. Incorporate social education by reflecting on the different expertise each student brought to the project, and valuing a variety of skill sets.

In considering Human Ingenuity, a study of historical bridge disasters might be interesting. Students could research a specific disaster, and question why the bridges failed, and how that particular failure informs engineering today.

Environment could be studied by planning a lesson that considers the environmental impact of bridges on marine life.

A Community and Service focused lesson might bring the class out into the community to clean up around a local bridge, or to take a photo tour of bridges in the area.

Approaches to Learning simply requires a teacher to reflect on the lessons planned and ensure that all skills needed for a student to be successful have been explicitly taught. In each of the lessons exemplified, a different approach to learning is modelled, providing for a rich experience for students.

All of these ideas for lesson plans can easily be linked back to the unit question. They don't require changing curriculum; in fact, they would fit with a variety of curricular areas. The difference in incorporating a few of the principles of IB in planning a unit is simply in employing an approach that engages learners by asking questions.


Source: International Baccalaureate: Middle Years Programme Curriculum Areas of Interaction

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Comments (1)

I am always looking for well written educational material and advice to use with my students. Well done. I am following you and voted this up.