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Inside the IB: Grade 3

An inside look at the International Baccalaureate curriculum in an International School of Indiana classroom

Students at the International School of Indiana (ISI) participate in a universal International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, meaning every student, from our youngest learners to our seniors, engages in the holistic course of study that most U.S. schools reserve for only their top five percent or fewer of students. Students aged 3 through Grade 5 participate in the first of three IB programmes taught at ISI: the Primary Years Programme (PYP).

The PYP Framework

The PYP offers an inquiry-based, transdisciplinary curriculum framework that builds conceptual understanding. The PYP has evolved to become a world leader in future-focused education. It is an example of the best educational practices globally, responding to the challenges and opportunities facing young students in our rapidly changing world. 

A pillar of the PYP, and all IB programmes, is to have students take responsible action with their learning. It is not only central to the learning process but helps shape the path towards the IB’s overarching goal of international mindedness. Action can look a variety of ways, but should be meaningful, mindful, and authentic, and we encourage that it is student-initiated. Grade 3 shows an excellent example of how IB students learn to take meaningful action with their learning.  

Inside a Grade 3 Classroom

ISI grade 3 students just finished their unit, How We Organize Ourselves: responsible use of money may determine how people live. The unit works as an inquiry into the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities, the structure and function of organizations, societal decision-making, economic activities, and their impact on humankind and the environment. 

Throughout their time at ISI, students revisit the How We Organize Ourselves unit with many topics. In grade 3, students gain a practical and insightful understanding of financial literacy. 

During this unit, ISI grade 3 students delved into three exciting lines of inquiry:

  • Types of Money and Currency: Students explored the historical context of different forms of money and gained an understanding of currency throughout time and across the globe.
  • The Role Money Plays in People’s Lives: Students discussed how money affects various aspects of daily living. As a part of our compassion framework, the unit aims to teach students about empathy, community service, and the practical aspects of managing money for a cause.
  • Managing Money Responsibly: Students discussed ways that they can budget, save, and spend wisely.


ISI grade 3 students’ learning through the unit continuously ties back to the same central idea across different subjects. Our teachers incorporate hands-on and interactive activities into their daily instruction to provide young learners with a variety of opportunities to explore and understand these fundamental concepts in fun and engaging ways. Some of the activities in this unit include:

  • Compassion and understanding - By thinking through the effects money has on people’s lives, students widen their worldview to understand that people live in different ways not only across the world but also in our own Indianapolis community. 
  • Fundraising for a cause - Students planned a Jeans Day Fundraiser, allowing students to donate money for the ability to wear jeans to school instead of their uniform. The fundraiser collected over $1,000, and students used the money to purchase groceries for donation to Boulevard Place Food Pantry. 
  • Public speaking experience - Grade 3 classes visited all other grades in their language track, explaining the Jeans Day fundraiser, how to participate, and who would benefit from the money raised. 
  • Budgeting on a shopping trip - Students had real-life experience budgeting for a shopping trip using the funds they raised for Boulevard Place Food Pantry. After raising the money, students planned out what they were going to purchase for their donation.
  • Connecting learning to art class - Students studied bills from all over the world and designed their own currency using styrofoam prints. 
  • Building math skills, counting, and grouping money - Student honed their skills in grouping numbers and quickly counting money. 
  • Connecting learning to history - As a personal project, students each chose a currency from anywhere in the world. They learn about the historical significance of any people or the symbolism of the currency and compare it to the United States currency. 
Want to learn more about the IB curriculum and what sets ISI apart from other schools? Schedule a personal tour or sign up for an Info Session today!

 
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