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unit planning

We are setting ourselves up for success with the PYP unit planning by beginning with our standards. In October and November, we cut up our standards and aligned them with one of the six PYP units of inquiry. Through this process, we will ensure that all grade level standards are covered. When connected to the central idea, standards from multiple subjects (math, social studies, ELA, religion, science, etc.) will be included in each unit of inquiry.

Once aligning our standards was complete, we began writing out first PYP unit of inquiry! This 2016-2017 school year, we will write, teach and reflect on one PYP unit. During the 2017-2018 school year, we will teach and reflect on four PYP units. Years following, we will teach and reflect on all six PYP units.

The PYP units of inquiry are created in collaboration with grade level teachers, the PYP coordinator and specialist teachers. The units include the central idea, formative and summative assessment, teacher questions/provocations, resources needed, learning activities, standards covered and teacher reflection. PYP units of inquiry are in-depth planners that document and hold teaching teams accountable for teaching and learning best practice. Since we do not have a unit created yet, please click on the link below to check out completed units from various grade levels around the globe.

Sample PYP Units of Inquiry


Glossary of Terms


Central Idea: A PYP central idea has an enduring understanding, relates and connects concepts and transfers through time and across cultures. The central idea of each unit of inquiry is what students are investigating. Some example central ideas are: knowing about our family histories enables us to discover our cultural origins and develop historical awareness, migration is a response to human circumstances and challenges, and knowing that light comes from different sources and has different properties helps us to understand that it is an essential resource. Find more on the sample planners!


Formative assessment is used to monitor student learning and provide feedback to improve learning and teaching throughout the unit. It helps students identify their strengths and weaknesses and target areas for growth.


Specialist teachers are defined here as teachers who teach the content areas of PE, music, library, language, technology and/or support teachers who work with students in small group settings to reinforce grade level concepts or expand thinking.


Summative assessment is used to evaluate student learning at the end of a unit of study.


A unit of inquiry (unit) can be described as an instructional plan for a predescribed amount of time. The typical length of a PYP unit is six weeks.

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