Clubs & Programme Support: PYP, MYP, DP » Academic Programmes - PYP (Grades K-5) » Transdisciplinary Themes / Conceptual Learning / Inquiry Based Instruction

Transdisciplinary Themes / Conceptual Learning / Inquiry Based Instruction

As an IB World School, Westlake Academy demonstrates a commitment to the Primary Years Programme by delivering a curriculum framework that is grounded in constructivism, inquiry, and concept-based learning.  These approaches promote learning and teaching that develops critical-thinking skills.


At the heart of transdisciplinary learning is the education of the whole child.  The PYP framework not only outlines the knowledge and concepts to be taught over time, but it also addresses the skills and attitudes to be developed across all subject disciplines.  As this is achieved, learning and teaching transcend departmentalized areas as conceptual development is emphasized through the lens of language, math, science, social studies, and personal, social, physical education (PSPE).  

Six Themes

The PYP framework consists of six transdisciplinary themes, each of which are addressed at each grade level once a year.

1. Who We Are: An inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; human relationships including families, friends, communities, and cultures; rights and responsibilities; what it means to be human.

2. Where We Are in Place and Time: An inquiry into orientation in place and time; personal histories; homes and journeys; the discoveries, explorations and migrations of humankind; the relationships between and the interconnectedness of individuals and civilizations, from local and global perspectives.

3. How We Express Ourselves: An inquiry into the ways in which we discover and express ideas, feelings, nature, culture, beliefs and values; the ways in which we reflect on, extend and enjoy our creativity; our appreciation of the aesthetic

4. How the World Works: An inquiry into the natural world and its laws; the interaction between the natural world (physical and biological) and human societies; how humans use their understanding of scientific principles; the impact of scientific and technological advances on society and on the environment.

5. How We Organize Ourselves: An inquiry into the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities; the structure and function of organizations; societal decision-making; economic activities and their impact on humankind and the environment.

6. 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 the relationships within and between them; access to equal opportunities; peace and conflict resolution


Conceptual Learning:

In the PYP, there are seven key concepts identified by the IB that are explored across all subject areas.  These key concepts are aligned throughout school year into 36 units of inquiry.

The seven PYP key concepts are:

Form - Function - Causation - Change - Connection - Perspective - Responsibility

The alignment of the key concepts is illustrated in the Programme of Inquiry, which is the matrix of each transdisciplinary theme taught at each grade level.  Each IB PYP school has a Programme of Inquiry that is unique to their campus.  At Westlake Academy, the Programme of Inquiry is designed to deliver the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).  To view our Programme of Inquiry, click here.


International Baccalaureate Standards and Practices (2014).