MYP Mathematics

In the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP), mathematics promotes both inquiry and application, helping students to develop problem solving techniques that transcend the discipline and that are useful in the world beyond school.

The MYP mathematics framework encompasses number, algebra, geometry and trigonometry, statistics and probability.

Students in the MYP learn how to represent information, to explore and model situations, and to find solutions to familiar and unfamiliar problems. These are skills that are useful in a wide range of arenas, including social sciences and the arts.

What is the significance of mathematics in the MYP?

MYP mathematics aims to equip all students with the knowledge, understanding and intellectual capabilities to address further courses in mathematics, as well as to prepare those students who will use mathematics in their studies, workplaces and everyday life.

Mathematics provides an important foundation for the study of sciences, engineering and technology, as well as a variety of application in other fields.

Key Concepts in Mathematics

Key concepts promote the development of a broad curriculum. They represent big ideas that are both relevant within and across disciplines and subjects. Inquiry into key concepts can facilitate connections between and among:

  • courses within the mathematics subject group (intra-disciplinary learning)
  • other subject groups (interdisciplinary learning).

Below are listed the key concepts to be explored across the MYP. The key concepts contributed by the study of mathematics are formlogic and relationships.



Global interactions



Time, place and space


Related Concepts in Mathematics

Related concepts promote deep learning. They are grounded in specific disciplines and are useful for exploring key concepts in greater detail. Inquiry into related concepts helps students develop more complex and sophisticated conceptual understanding. Related concepts may arise from the subject matter of a unit or from the craft of a subject—that is, its features and processes.


A variation in size, amount or behaviour.


The state of being identically equal or interchangeable, applied to statements, quantities or expressions.


A general statement made on the basis of specific examples.


Valid reasons or evidence used to support a statement.


A method of determining quantity, capacity or dimension using a defined unit.


Depictions of real-life events using expressions, equations or graphs.


Sets of numbers or objects that follow a specific order or rule.


An amount or number.


The manner in which something is presented.


The process of reducing to a less complicated form.


The frame of geometrical dimensions describing an entity.


Groups of interrelated elements.

Objectives for Mathematics

A. Knowing and understanding

Knowledge and understanding are fundamental to studying mathematics and form the base from which to explore concepts and develop skills. This objective assesses the extent to which students can select and apply mathematics to solve problems in both familiar and unfamiliar situations in a variety of contexts.

This objective requires students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the concepts and skills of the four branches in the prescribed framework (number, algebra, geometry and trigonometry, statistics and probability).

In order to reach the aims of mathematics, students should be able to:

  1. select appropriate mathematics when solving problems in both familiar and unfamiliar situations
  2. apply the selected mathematics successfully when solving problems
  3. solve problems correctly in a variety of contexts.

B. Investigating patterns

Investigating patterns allows students to experience the excitement and satisfaction of mathematical discovery. Working through investigations encourages students to become risk-takers, inquirers and critical thinkers. The ability to inquire is invaluable in the MYP and contributes to lifelong learning.

A task that does not allow students to select a problem-solving technique is too guided and should result in students earning a maximum achievement level of 6 (for years 1 and 2) and a maximum achievement level of 4 (for year 3 and up). However, teachers should give enough direction to ensure that all students can begin the investigation.

For year 3 and up, a student who describes a general rule consistent with incorrect findings will be able to achieve a maximum achievement level of 6, provided that the rule is of an equivalent level of complexity.

In order to reach the aims of mathematics, students should be able to:

  1. select and apply mathematical problem-solving techniques to discover complex patterns
  2. describe patterns as general rules consistent with findings
  3. prove, or verify and justify, general rules.

C. Communicating

Mathematics provides a powerful and universal language. Students are expected to use appropriate mathematical language and different forms of representation when communicating mathematical ideas, reasoning and findings, both orally and in writing.

In order to reach the aims of mathematics, students should be able to:

  1. use appropriate mathematical language (notation, symbols and terminology) in both oral and written explanations
  2. use appropriate forms of mathematical representation to present information
  3. move between different forms of mathematical representation
  4. communicate complete, coherent and concise mathematical lines of reasoning
  5. organize information using a logical structure.

D. Applying mathematics in real-life contexts

MYP mathematics encourages students to see mathematics as a tool for solving problems in an authentic real-life context. Students are expected to transfer theoretical mathematical knowledge into real-world situations and apply appropriate problem-solving strategies, draw valid conclusions and reflect upon their results.

In order to reach the aims of mathematics, students should be able to:

  1. identify relevant elements of authentic real-life situations
  2. select appropriate mathematical strategies when solving authentic real-life situations
  3. apply the selected mathematical strategies successfully to reach a solution
  4. justify the degree of accuracy of a solution
  5. justify whether a solution makes sense in the context of the authentic real-life situation.

Information on these pages is from the MYP Subject Guides and the MYP Project Guide. International Baccalaureate Organization. 2014. Print.