MYP Science

The Middle Years Programme (MYP) sciences framework encourages students to investigate issues through research, observation and experimentation, working independently and collaboratively.

As they investigate real examples of science application, students will discover the tensions and dependencies between science and morality, ethics, culture, economics, politics, and the environment.

What is the significance of sciences in the MYP?

Scientific inquiry fosters critical and creative thinking about research and design, as well as the identification of assumptions and alternative explanations.

Through MYP sciences, students will 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.

Key Concepts in Science

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 sciences 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 sciences are changerelationships and systems.



Global interactions



Time, place and space


Related Concepts in Science

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 the craft of a subject its features and processes.


The dynamic equilibrium that exists among members of a stable natural community; the regulation of the internal environment of an organism.


The observable or quantifiable effects, results, or outcomes correlated with an earlier event or events.


The capacity of an object to do work or transfer heat.


All of the biotic and abiotic factors that act on an organism, population or community and influence its survival, evolution and development.


Support for a proposition derived from observation and interpretation of data.


The features of an object that can be observed, identified, described, classified and categorized.


A purpose, a role or a way of behaving that can be investigated; a mathematical relationship between variables.


The effect or effects two or more systems, bodies, substances or organisms have on one another, so that the overall result is not simply the sum of the separate effects.


Representations used for testing scientific theories or proposals that can be accurately repeated and validated; simulations used for explaining or predicting processes which may not be observable or to understand the dynamics of multiple underlying phenomena of a complex system.


The act, process, or result of displacing from one location or position to another within a defined frame of reference.


The distribution of variables in time or space; sequences of events or features.


Differentiation of a cell; change of energy form, including at a molecular level; alteration of molecules and metabolism and/or genetic make-up of an organism or species and consequently a community, relative to external factors.

Objectives for Science

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 are used to assess 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 analyse and examine the information and allows them to outline arguments about its validity and/or quality using their knowledge and understanding of science.

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

  1. explain scientific knowledge
  2. apply scientific knowledge and understanding to solve problems set in familiar and unfamiliar situations
  3. analyse and evaluate information to make scientifically supported judgments.

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. An open-ended problem is one that has several independent variables appropriate for the investigation and has sufficient scope to identify both independent and controlled variables. In order to achieve the highest level for the strand in which students are asked to design a logical, complete and safe method, the student would include only the relevant information, correctly sequenced.

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

  1. explain the ways in which science is applied and used to address a specific problem or issue
  2. discuss and evaluate 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.

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