MYP Maths – An overview from a new IB Teacher (Part 1)


The Intro

I recently accepted a post an an international school in Tanzania which runs the IB Curriculum. For a while now I have considered the IB framework the most well positioned to adapt to the needs of students in the 21st century. So due to my interest in getting a deeper understanding of the IB framework and a desire for a fresh perspective on education, I decided to uproot my life and move to Tanzania.

As preparation for my new role, I started the process of familiarising myself with the structure of the MYP (Middle Years Program)- Mathematics program, as it seems as if a lot of my time will initially require being involved with that. Below is a useful graphic for understanding how the MYP – Mathematics program, fits into the overall IB offering for schooling. The MYP is generally applicable to 11 -16 year olds.



The most natural progression to the MYP program does seem to lead in from the IB PYP (Primary Years Program) However from what I can tell it’s not an absolute pre-requisite, as students do seem to be able to join an MYP program, coming from other frameworks / curricula such as Cambridge/ Common Core  or  individual country based programs.

Structural Elements of MYP Mathematics

The most helpful document I found initially to orientate myself was the MYP Mathematics Guide from Sep 2014 / Jan 2015, in terms of getting a good overview of the structure. I have taken relevant screenshots from this document to further highlight the key aspects.

The IB Learner Profile is a useful thing to consider as you thing about the activities you want to engage with your class if you are to build and develop these attributes.



The Guide also talks about reading MYP: From Principles into Practice


Overall MYP Program Graphic


Taken from the Guide, I found the following helpful

” The MYP is designed for students aged 11 to 16. It provides a framework of learning that encourages students to become creative, critical and reflective thinkers. The MYP emphasizes intellectual challenge, encouraging students to make connections between their studies in traditional subjects and the real world. It fosters the development of skills for communication, intercultural understanding and global engagement—essential qualities for young people who are becoming global leaders.”


An interesting paragraph taken from the section: Nature of Mathematics:



An interesting paragraph taken from the section: Mathematics across the IB Curriculum

Aims of MYP Mathematics



Objectives of MYP Mathematics




Official Sites recommended for Resources




Overview of GR12 Maths For SA Curriculum



My Take:

Recently I had to put together a summary of important details related to the GR12 Maths curriculum in South Africa in relation to a workshop I was preparing. I thought it would useful to preserve a record of the documents I retrieved for this purpose. I also did a MindMap which divided P1 and P2 into two theoretical 3 hour revision sessions, weighted by the mark allocation applied in the final exam.








Link to full GR12 Exam Guidelines Document

Link to CAPS Document for FET Mathematics 2



Review & MindMap of Deep Work by Cal Newport

My Take:

Recently I finished reading the book Deep Work by Cal Newport after hearing it referenced in one of my favourite Ted Talks. It deals a lot with the issue of using our time in productive ways and especially limiting our use of technology to things that actually add value to our lives and education. It definitely helped shape an awareness in me, that not every tech tool that seems useful is worthy of my time. Time is our ultimate scare resource and so we would should allocate our time, including our technology usage in a way that is most conducive to us reaching our goals.  It’s well worth a read in the context of how our modern lives are being saturated with technology and how we as individuals need to set appropriate boundaries to deal with this.

Link to full MindMap


Fundamental Skills of Effective Teaching


I have been thinking a lot lately about the fundamentals of education. There is so much written about new innovations or new ideas on the web these days and it’s easy to get overwhelmed as a teacher. It’s also hard to know how to capture the good stuff you see out there, and actually use it to make your the learning environment a more effective and exciting place to be.

A strategy that I am being drawn to more and more is mindmapping excellent pedagogical content I see on the web to retain and process the information. I can then come back to it a later stage and customise it for my context and hopefully add even more useful information to this new resource that informs my ever growing skills as a teacher.

I have a small example below taken from one of my favourite Youtube Talks done by Robert Duke. In it he mentions what he thinks are the fundamental skills of effective teaching. This is something all teachers would benefit from bearing in mind whenever they plan for learning engagements. However it’s easy for this view point to get lost, amongst the business that is the normal school day. However by creating a mindmap you create an efficient visual template, you can use as a base, the next time you do planning for an original learning engagement. Below is the simple example I created from the talk I mentioned above.

The tool that I use most of the time is called MindMup.



Link to Full Mindmap




How to give Presentations that connect with your Audience

My Take:

A while ago, I saw a fantastic Ted Talk on how to give engaging presentations and I decided to make this mindmap to preserve the information in an easy to access format. It’s a great mindmap to glance over before giving a presentation, as it reminds you of a lot of the fundamental stuff you should be bearing in mind, if you want to reach your audience.



Full Page MindMap Link

Ted Talk Link


Term 4 – The culmination of 20% Time



The beginning of Term 4 

The 4th term was reserved for getting ready for final presentations and the presentations themselves. They happened  on Monday the 23rd of October and we used about two and a half hours to get all the presentations done. It turned out to be a fun event, with an atmosphere of inquisitiveness and celebration. All in all, for the entire 20% time project, we used around 25  lessons of class time (+-20 hours). Some students used only this class time, however some of the best projects used considerable amounts of the students own free time.


Highlights Video of the whole process – 2nd half dealing with the presentations



Reflections by Students and the Teacher who organised it 



Final Debrief after Presentations



Feedback after we had completed


Google’s Professional Development options for Schools

Download Link

Why it’s useful

All schools need to be thinking constantly about professional development for their entire staff. The Google offerings are extensive, free and have an active community of  teachers / educators/ administrators behind them. This is an ideal resource for anyone who wants to get their school moving in the direction of effective professional development. From personal experience I can highly recommend the materials that have been put together. They are all based on current educational research and have been put together with the spirit of fun and inquiry that Google seems to approach all its work with.


A fantastic collection of active learning strategies for teaching Mathematics


Download Link

My Take:

I stumbled across this book a while back and was struck by what a nicely collated collection of activities, games and methods it was, especially for a teacher who is trying to make their classroom active as opposed to passive. It’s real value is in it’s simplicity and grouping of activities by topic , it’s a great thing to glance at , to give you a creative spark for your lesson. I managed to create the Mindmap below, listing some of the strategies mentioned in the book.