Science in the International Baccalaureate- Middle Years Program

The following is a guide to the implementation of the International Baccalaureate (IB)- Middle Years Program (MYP) in the Sciences at South Side Middle School. For a more detailed explanation of the Sciences in the MYP program refer to this website:

Website for IB-MYP Science Guide:

I. General Information about the International Baccalaureate (IB)- Middle Years Program (MYP):

  1. The MYP is designed for students aged 11 to 16. The program can be designed to be accomplished in either 3 or 5 years. The Rockville Centre School District will be following the three year model; in grades 6, 7, and 8.
  2. The MYP provides a framework of learning that encourages students to become creative, critical and reflective thinkers.
  3. The MYP emphasizes intellectual challenge, encouraging students to make connections between their studies in traditional subjects and the real world.
  4. The MYP fosters the development of skills for communication, intercultural understanding and global engagement.

For more general information about the IB- MYP program at South Side Middle School, refer to the main South Side Middle School Edline page and select “Instructional Info.”

II. All IB programs share common beliefs and values about teaching and learning science:

  1. International dimension: Students develop an appreciation that science requires open-mindedness and freedom of thought transcending gender, political, cultural, linguistic, national and religious boundaries
  2. Aesthetic dimension: Students engage with the complexities, intricacies and beauty of science, which arouses their curiosity and heightens their learning
  3. Ethical dimension: Students reflect on the ethical, social, economic, political, cultural and environmental implications of using science to solve specific problems. Students develop a personal, ethical stance on science-related issues
  4. Learning through investigation: Students construct meaning by designing, conducting and reflecting on scientific investigations. The scientific process, which encourages hands-on experience, inquiry, and critical thinking, enables students to make informed and responsible decisions, not only in science but also in other areas of life
  5. Collaboration: Students are provided opportunities to work individually and with their peers to learn about science within and beyond the classroom. They develop safe and responsible working habits in practical science.

III. The aims of MYP sciences are to encourage and enable students to:

  1. understand and appreciate science and its implications.
  2. consider science as a human endeavor 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.

IV. The objectives of MYP sciences encompass the factual, conceptual, procedural and metacognitive dimensions of knowledge. These four objectives are as follows:

Objective A. Knowing and Understanding

Students develop scientific knowledge (facts, ideas, concepts, processes, laws, principles, models and theories) and apply it to solve problems and express scientifically supported judgments.

Tests or exams must be assessed using this objective. To reach the highest level students must make scientifically supported judgments about the validity and/or quality of the information presented to them.

Assessment tasks could include questions dealing with “scientific claims” presented in media articles, or the results and conclusions from experiments carried out by others, or any question that challenges students to analyze and examine the information and allows them to outline arguments about its validity and/or quality using their knowledge and understanding of science.

By the end of the program tudents should be able to demonstrate the following skills for this objective:

  1. outline and describe scientific knowledge.
  2. apply scientific knowledge and understanding to solve problems set in familiar and unfamiliar situations.
  3. interpret and analyze information to make scientifically supported judgments.

Objective B: Inquiring and designing

Intellectual and practical skills are developed through designing, analyzing and performing scientific investigations. Although the scientific method involves a wide variety of approaches, the MYP emphasizes experimental work and scientific inquiry.

When students design a scientific investigation they should develop a method that will allow them to collect sufficient data so that the problem or question can be answered.

To enable students to design scientific investigations independently, teachers must provide an open-ended problem to investigate.

By the end of the program students should be able to demonstrate the following skills for this objective:

  1. describe a problem or question to be tested by a scientific investigation
  2. outline a testable hypothesis and explain it using scientific reasoning
  3. describe how to manipulate the variables, and describe how data will be collected
  4. design scientific investigations.

Objective C: Processing and Evaluating

Students collect, process and interpret qualitative and/or quantitative data, and explain conclusions that have been appropriately reached.

MYP sciences helps students to develop analytical thinking skills, which they can use to evaluate the method and discuss possible improvements or extensions.

By the end of the program students should be able to demonstrate the following skills for this objective:

  1. present collected and transformed data
  2. interpret data and describe results using scientific reasoning
  3. discuss the validity of a hypothesis based on the outcome of the scientific investigation
  4. discuss the validity of the method
  5. describe improvements or extensions to the method.

Objective D: Reflecting on the impacts of science

Students gain global understanding of science by evaluating the implications of scientific developments and their applications to a specific problem or issue.

Varied scientific language will be applied in order to demonstrate understanding.

Students are expected to become aware of the importance of documenting the work of others when communicating in science.

Students must reflect on the implications of using science, interacting with one of the following factors: moral, ethical, social, economic, political, cultural or environmental, as appropriate to the task. The student’s chosen factor may be interrelated with other factors.

By the end of the program students should be able to demonstrate the following skills for this objective:

  1. describe the ways in which science is applied and used to address a specific problem or issue
  2. discuss and analyze the various implications of the use of science and its application in solving a specific problem or issue
  3. apply scientific language effectively
  4. document the work of others and sources of information used.

V. Mathematical requirements

Throughout the MYP sciences students should have regular exposure to the mathematical skills developed in MYP mathematics and used by scientists. By the end of the MYP sciences course, students should be able to:

  1. perform the basic arithmetic functions: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division
  2. use calculations involving means, decimals, fractions, percentages, ratios, approximations and reciprocals
  3. use standard notation (for example, 3.6 × 106)
  4. use direct and inverse proportion
  5. solve simple algebraic equations
  6. solve linear simultaneous equations
  7. plot graphs (with suitable scales and axes), including two variables that show linear and non-linear relationships
  8. interpret graphs, including the significance of gradients, changes in gradients, intercepts and areas
  9. draw lines (either curves or linear) of best fit on a scatter plot graph
  10. interpret data presented in various forms (for example, bar charts, histograms and pie charts)
  11. represent arithmetic mean using x-bar notation (for example, )

VI. Command Terms used in MYP Science Assessment

Assessment in the MYP program utilizes specific command terms, the understanding of which is essential to the success of students.

The following are the definitions of the command terms used for assessment in the MYP program:

Analyse: Break down in order to bring out the essential elements or structure. (To identify parts and relationships, and to interpret information to reach conclusions.)

Annotate: Add brief notes to a diagram or graph.

Apply: Use knowledge and understanding in response to a given situation or real circumstances. Use an idea, equation, principle, theory or law in relation to a given problem or issue.

Calculate: Obtain a numerical answer showing the relevant stages in the working.

Classify: Arrange or order by class or category.

Comment: Give a judgment based on a given statement or result of a calculation.

Construct: Display information in a diagrammatic or logical form.

Define: Give the precise meaning of a word, phrase, concept or physical quantity.

Demonstrate: Make clear by reasoning or evidence, illustrating with examples or practical application.

Describe: Give a detailed account or picture of a situation, event, pattern or process.

Design: Produce a plan, simulation or model.

Determine: Obtain the only possible answer.

Discuss: Offer a considered and balanced review that includes a range of arguments, factors or hypotheses. Opinions or conclusions should be presented clearly and supported by appropriate evidence.

Document: Credit sources of information used by referencing (or citing), following one recognized referencing system. References should be included in the text and also at the end of the piece of work in a reference list or bibliography.

Draw: Represent by means of a labelled, accurate diagram or graph, using a pencil. A ruler (straight edge) should be used for straight lines. Diagrams should be drawn to scale. Graphs should have points correctly plotted (if appropriate) and joined in a straight line or smooth curve.

Estimate: Obtain an approximate value for an unknown quantity.

Evaluate: Make an appraisal by weighing up the strengths and limitations.

Explain: Give a detailed account including reasons and causes. (See also “Justify”.)

Find: Obtain an answer showing relevant stages in the working.

Formulate: Express precisely and systematically the relevant concept(s) or argument(s).

Identify: Provide an answer from a number of possibilities. Recognize and state briefly a distinguishing fact or feature.

Interpret: Use knowledge and understanding to recognize trends and draw conclusions from given information.

Justify: Give valid reasons or evidence to support an answer or conclusion. (See also “Explain”).

Label: Add title, labels or brief explanation(s) to a diagram or graph.

List: Give a sequence of brief answers with no explanation.

Measure: Obtain a value for a quantity.

Organize: Put ideas and information into a proper or systematic order.

Outline : Give a brief account or summary.

Plot: Mark the position of points on a diagram.

Present : Offer for display, observation, examination or consideration.

Recall: Remember or recognize from prior learning experiences.

Select: Choose from a list or group.

Show: Give the steps in a calculation or derivation.

Sketch: Represent by means of a diagram or graph (labelled as appropriate). The sketch should give a general idea of the required shape or relationship, and should include relevant features.

Solve: Obtain the answer(s) using appropriate methods.

State: Give a specific name, value or other brief answer without explanation or calculation.

Suggest: Propose a solution, hypothesis or other possible answer.

Summarize: Abstract a general theme or major point(s).

Verify: Provide evidence that validates the result.

Write down: Obtain the answer(s), usually by extracting information. Little or no calculation is required. Working does not need to be shown.