Social studies within a transdisciplinary programme
In OurPlanet’s Primary Years Programme (PYP), social studies learning guides students towards a deeper understanding of themselves and others, and of their place in an increasingly global society. It provides opportunities for students to look at and think about human behaviour and activity realistically, objectively, and with sensitivity. Exposure to and experience with social studies therefore opens doors to key questions about life and learning.
It is recognized that teaching and learning social studies as a subject, while necessary, is not sufficient. Of equal importance is the need to learn social studies in context, exploring content relevant to students, and transcending the boundaries of the traditional subject area. The transdisciplinary themes provide the framework for a highly defined, focused, in-depth programme of inquiry, and as social studies is relevant to all the transdisciplinary themes, all planned social studies learning should take place within this framework. In return, the social studies knowledge and the application of that knowledge will enhance inquiries into the central ideas defined by the transdisciplinary themes.
The social studies component of the PYP is characterized by concepts and skills rather than by content. Therefore, OurPlanet ensures that a breadth and balance of social studies content is covered through the units of inquiry. The knowledge component of social studies in the PYP is arranged into five strands:
- Human Systems and Economic Activities
- Social Organization and Culture
- Continuity and Change through Time
- Human and Natural Environments
- Resources and the Environment.
These strands are concept-driven and are inextricably linked to each other. They also provide links to other subject areas of the PYP curriculum model.
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