picture of three girls having fun in physical education class


Middle Years Programme

The IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) curriculum is designed specifically for international students aged 11 to 16. It provides a framework of academic challenge that encourages students to embrace and understand the connections between traditional subjects and the real world, become critical and reflective thinkers and develop the qualities and attributes of internationally-minded global citizens. The MYP curriculum was introduced at IST in 1998.


Middle Years Programme Curriculum

The MYP curriculum aims to help students develop their personal understanding, their emerging sense of self and responsibility in their community. Teaching and learning in the MYP is underpinned by the concepts below.

picture of the MYP IB wheel

Teaching and Learning Using Global Contexts

These provide students the opportunity to learn through investigating authentic settings, circumstances and events, giving meaning to their learning and helping them to see purpose and relevance in it. There are six global contexts in the MYP curriculum:

  1. Identities and relationships
  2. Personal and cultural identity
  3. Orientations in space and time
  4. Scientific and technical innovation
  5. Fairness and development
  6. Globalization and sustainability


Conceptual Understanding

Concepts are big ideas that have relevance within specific disciplines and across subject areas. In the MYP curriculum, students use concepts as a vehicle to inquire into issues and ideas of personal, local and global significance and examine knowledge holistically. The MYP curriculum prescribes 16 key interdisciplinary concepts along with related concepts for each discipline.

picture of the IST boys soccer team
picture of two girls giving each other a hug
picture of a boy playing the xylophone

Approach to Learning

Carrying on from the transdisciplinary skills of the Primary Years Programme (PYP) curriculum, a unifying thread throughout all MYP curriculum subject groups, our ESP Weeks, Extended Homeroom and Take Action Tuesdays, approaches to learning (ATL) provide the foundation for independent learning and encourage the application of the student’s knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts. Developing and applying these social, thinking, research, communication and self-management skills helps students learn how to learn.

ATL involves helping students acquire the skills necessary for them to become independent, lifelong learners who can also collaborate with others. They provide a common language that students and teachers can use to reflect on and articulate on the process of learning.

ATLs are organized into five major categories:

  1. Communication
  2. Social skills
  3. Self-management
  4. Research
  5. Thinking


Personal Project

In the final year (Grade 10) of the MYP, IST students are required to present the Personal Project – a significant body of work produced by the student over an extended period. It represents the successes and strengths of a student’s learning throughout their MYP experiences. Personal Projects revolve around a challenge that motivates and interests individual students (e.g. making a unique musical instrument, organizing an event or investigating the impact of tourism on Tanzania).

MYP Curriculum Subjects

The MYP curriculum comprises eight discrete subject groups: sciences, arts, design, mathematics, individuals and societies, language and literature, language acquisition and physical and health education.


In Grades 6 to 8, this is one integrated course combining biology, chemistry and physics. In Grades 9 and 10, students begin to study these three branches of science in more detail and as discrete units within their science course.

With inquiry at the core, the MYP sciences framework aims to guide students to independently and collaboratively investigate issues through research, observation and experimentation. The MYP sciences curriculum explores the connections between science and everyday life. As they investigate real examples of science applications, students discover the tensions and dependencies between science and morality, ethics, culture, economics, politics and the environment.

Scientific inquiry fosters critical and creative thinking about research and design, as well as the identification of assumptions and alternative explanations. Students learn to appreciate and respect the ideas of others, gain good ethical-reasoning skills and further develop their sense of responsibility as members of local and global communities.

The aim of MYP sciences:

  1. Understand and appreciate science and its implications.
  2. Consider science as a human endeavour with benefits and limitations.
  3. Cultivate analytical, inquiring and flexible minds that pose questions, solve problems, construct explanations and judge arguments.
  4. Develop skills to design and perform investigations, evaluate evidence and reach conclusions.
  5. Build an awareness of the need to effectively collaborate and communicate.
  6. Apply language skills and knowledge in a variety of real-life contexts.
  7. Develop sensitivity towards the living and non-living environments.
  8. Reflect on learning experiences and make informed choices.


In Grades 6 to 8, students take drama, music and visual art each year. In Grades 9 and 10 students study one of the three arts subjects for both years. Course choice is selected by students at the end of Grade 8.

In MYP arts, students function as artists as well as learners of the arts. Artists have to be curious. By developing curiosity about themselves, others and the world, students become effective learners, inquirers and creative problem-solvers. Students create, perform and present arts in ways that engage and convey feelings, experiences and ideas. Through this practice, students acquire new skills and master those developed in prior learning.

Development in the arts is a dynamic process, and not necessarily linear. Students move freely through a creative process towards a deeper understanding of the arts. The process of creating artwork, as well as the product, demonstrates what students have experienced, learned and attempted to convey.

Arts in the MYP stimulate young imaginations, challenge perceptions and develop creative and analytical skills. The course encourages students to understand the context and cultural histories of artworks, supporting the development of an inquiring and empathetic world view. Arts challenge and enrich personal identity and build awareness of the aesthetic in a real-world context.

Although the objectives can be addressed separately to scaffold learning, collectively they enrich teaching and learning of the arts.

MYP arts has four objectives of equal importance and value:

The aim of MYP arts:

  • Knowing and understanding
  • Developing skills
  • Thinking creatively
  • Responding
    1. Create and present art.
    2. Develop skills specific to the discipline.
    3. Engage in a process of creative exploration and (self-) discovery.
    4. Make purposeful connections between investigation and practice.
    5. Understand the relationship between art and its contexts.
    6. Respond to and reflect on art.
    7. Deepen their understanding of the world.


In Grades 6 to 8, students take digital design. In Grade 9, they take digital and product design. In Grade 10, students choose either digital or product design for the year.

Design, and the resultant development of new technologies, has given rise to profound changes in society, transforming how we access and process information, adapt our environment, communicate with others, solve problems, work and live. MYP design challenges students to apply practical and creative-thinking skills to solve design problems, encourages students to explore the role of design in historical and contemporary contexts and raises students’ awareness of their responsibilities when making design decisions and taking action.

Inquiry and problem-solving are at the heart of design. MYP design requires the use of the design cycle as a tool which provides the methodology to structure the inquiry and analyze problems, the development of feasible solutions, the creation of solutions and the testing and evaluation of the solution. In MYP design, a solution can be a model, prototype, product or system independently created and developed by students.

MYP design helps students develop not only practical skills but also strategies for creative and critical thinking.

The aim of MYP design:

  1. Enjoy the design process, and develop an appreciation of its elegance and power.
  2. Develop knowledge, understanding and skills from different disciplines to design and create solutions to problems using the design cycle.
  3. Use and apply technology effectively as a means to access, process and communicate information, model and create solutions and to solve problems.
  4. Develop an appreciation of the impact of design innovations for life, global society and environments.
  5. Appreciate past, present and emerging design within cultural, political, social, historical and environmental contexts.
  6. Develop respect for other viewpoints and appreciate alternative solutions to problems.
  7. Act with integrity and honesty, and take responsibility for their own actions developing effective working practices.


In Grades 6 to 8, mathematics is one course. Beginning in Grade 9, two courses are offered: Math Standard and Math Extended. Placement in Math Standard or Math Extended is determined towards the end of Grade 8.

The framework for MYP mathematics outlines four branches of study.

  • Numbers
  • Algebra
  • Geometry and trigonometry
  • Statistics and probability

The study of mathematics is a fundamental part of a balanced education. It promotes a powerful universal language, analytical reasoning and problem-solving skills that contribute to the development of logical, abstract and critical thinking. The MYP mathematics and extended mathematics courses promote both inquiry and application, helping students to develop problem-solving techniques that transcend the discipline and are useful in the world outside school.

Mathematics in the MYP is tailored to the needs of students, seeking to intrigue and motivate them to want to learn its principles. Students should see authentic examples of how mathematics is useful and relevant to their lives and be encouraged to apply it to new situations.

The aim of MYP mathematics:

  1. Enjoy mathematics, develop curiosity and begin to appreciate its elegance and power.
  2. Develop an understanding of the principles and nature of mathematics.
  3. Communicate clearly and confidently in a variety of contexts.
  4. Develop logical, critical and creative thinking.
  5. Develop confidence, perseverance and independence in mathematical thinking and problem-solving.
  6. Develop powers of generalization and abstraction.
  7. Apply and transfer skills to a wide range of real-life situations, other areas of knowledge and future developments.
  8. Appreciate how developments in technology and mathematics have influenced each other, the moral, social and ethical implications arising from the work of mathematicians and the applications of mathematics, the international dimension in mathematics and the contribution of mathematics to other areas of knowledge.
  9. Develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to pursue further studies in mathematics.
  10. Develop the ability to reflect critically upon their own work and the work of others.

Individuals and Societies

This is an integrated humanities course combining history, geography and to some extent, economics and psychology. The subject is taken throughout the five years of the MYP.

The MYP individuals and societies subject group incorporates disciplines traditionally studied under humanities and social sciences. This subject group encourages learners to respect and understand the world around them and equips them with the necessary skills to inquire into historical, geographical, political, social, economic and cultural factors that affect individuals, societies and environments.

The study of individuals and societies helps students to critically appreciate the diversity of human culture, attitudes and beliefs. Courses in this subject group are important for helping students to recognize that both content and methodology can be debatable and controversial, and for practicing the tolerance of uncertainty.

The IB curriculum’s approach to this subject area includes a strong focus on inquiry and investigation. Students collect, describe and analyze data, test hypotheses and learn how to interpret increasingly complex information, including original source material. This focus on real-world examples, research and analysis is an essential aspect of the subject group.

The aim of MYP individuals and societies:

  1. Appreciate human and environmental commonalities and diversity.
  2. Understand the interactions and interdependence of individuals, societies and the environment.
  3. Understand how both environmental and human systems operate and evolve.
  4. Identify and develop concern for the well-being of human communities and the natural environment.
  5. Act as responsible citizens of local and global communities.
  6. Develop inquiry skills that lead towards conceptual understandings of the relationships between individuals, societies and the environments in which they live.

Language and Literature

At IST, the language of study is English. This subject is usually taken throughout the five years of the MYP if proficiency in English is above phase 4.

Language is fundamental to learning, thinking and communicating, as well as providing an intellectual framework to support conceptual development. It plays a central role in developing critical thinking, cultivating international-mindedness, exploring and sustaining personal development and cultural identity and responsibly participating in local, national and global communities.

MYP language and literature courses equip students with linguistic, analytical and communicative skills that help to develop interdisciplinary understanding. Students develop skills in six domains:

  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Viewing
  • Presenting - both independently and with others

MYP language and literature courses include a balanced study of genres and literary texts, including a world literature component. Students’ interactions with texts generate moral, social, economic, political, cultural and environmental insights. Through their studies, students learn how to form opinions, make decisions and engage in ethical reasoning

The aim of MYP language and literature:

  1. Use language as a vehicle for thought, creativity, reflection, learning, self-expression, analysis and social interaction.
  2. Develop the skills involved in listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing and presenting in a variety of contexts.
  3. Develop critical, creative and personal approaches to studying and analyzing literary and non-literary texts.
  4. Engage with text from different historical periods and a variety of cultures.
  5. Explore and analyze aspects of personal, host and other cultures through literary and non-literary texts.
  6. Explore language through a variety of media and modes.
  7. Develop a lifelong interest in reading.
  8. Apply linguistic and literary concepts and skills in a variety of authentic contexts.

Language Acquisition

The MYP language acquisition is the study of a student’s second, or additional, language where phases are used to distinguish proficiency. At IST, the courses offered are French, Spanish and Swahili. Students in Grades 6 to 8 identified with proficiency of phase 4 or below are required to take English language acquisition.

The ability to communicate in more than one language is essential to the concept of an international education that promotes intercultural understanding and is central to the IB curriculum’s mission. The study of additional languages in the MYP curriculum provides students with the opportunity to develop insights into the features, processes and craft of language and the concept of culture, and to realize that there are diverse ways of living, behaving and viewing the world.

Acquiring an additional language and exploring and reflecting on the cultural perspectives of our own and other communities:

  • is central to developing critical thinking and international-mindedness.
  • provides an intellectual framework to support personal development, cultural identity and conceptual understanding.
  • greatly contributes to the holistic development of students and to the strengthening of lifelong learning skills.
  • equips students with the necessary multiliteracy skills and attitudes to communicate successfully in various global contexts.

The aim of MYP language acquisition:

  1. Gain proficiency in an additional language while supporting the maintenance of their mother tongue and cultural heritage.
  2. Develop respect for, and understanding of, diverse linguistic and cultural heritage.
  3. Develop the communication skills necessary for further language learning, and for study, work and leisure in a range of contexts.
  4. Develop multiliteracy skills through the use of a range of learning tools.
  5. Develop an appreciation of a variety of literary and non-literary texts and to develop critical and creative techniques for comprehension and construction of meaning.
  6. Recognize and use language as a vehicle of thought, reflection, self-expression and learning in other subjects.
  7. Understand the nature of language and the process of language learning.
  8. Gain insight into the cultural characteristics of the communities where the language is spoken.
  9. Gain an awareness and understanding of the perspectives of people from own and other cultures.
  10. Develop curiosity, inquiry and a lifelong interest in, and enjoyment of, language learning.

Physical and Health Education

Physical and health education (PHE) is an important part of our holistic education at IST. PHE provides opportunities for students to develop physical and health-related knowledge, skills and attitudes. The subject is taken throughout the five years of the MYP.

MYP PHE aims to empower students to understand and appreciate the value of being physically active while developing the motivation for making healthy and informed life choices. To this end, PHE courses foster the development of knowledge, skills and attitudes contributing to a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

Students engaged in PHE will explore a variety of concepts that help foster an awareness of physical development and health perspectives, as well as positive social interaction. Physical activity and health are of central importance to human identity and global communities, creating meaningful connections among people, nations, cultures and the natural world.

Through physical and health education, students learn to appreciate and respect the ideas of others and develop effective collaboration and communication skills. This subject area also offers many opportunities to build positive interpersonal relationships that can help students to develop a sense of social responsibility and intercultural understanding.

The aim of MYP PHE:

  1. Use inquiry to explore physical and health education concepts.
  2. Participate effectively in a variety of contexts.
  3. Understand the value of physical activity.
  4. Achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  5. Collaborate and communicate effectively.
  6. Build positive relationships and demonstrate social responsibility.
  7. Reflect on their learning experiences.


Service as Action

IB Learners strive to be caring members of the community who demonstrate a personal commitment to service and act to make a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment. Service as action in the MYP is an essential component of the IB continuum including both within and outside subject opportunities, leading toward a set of developmentally appropriate learning outcomes. All our students participate in service experiences through the Take Action Tuesday programme, the ESP Week and possibly within subjects.

Through the IB Learner Profile, subject study, key concepts, global contexts, approaches to learning, the personal project and service learning, the MYP curriculum presents knowledge as an integrated whole, emphasizing acquiring skills and self-awareness, the development of personal values and authentic action. As a result, our MYP here at IST aims to prepare students to be successful in school and to be active, lifelong learners.

Students completing the final year of MYP in 2019 at IST will receive an IST MYP Record of Achievement.

More information about the MYP curriculum can be found in the IST MYP Programme Guide or in the official IB subject brief (note, IST does not participate in the eAssessment programme).


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