• MYP Individuals and societies


    Individuals and societies incorporates disciplines traditionally studied in the humanities, as well as disciplines in the social sciences.

    In this subject group, students collect, describe and analyse data used in studies of societies, test hypotheses, and learn how to interpret complex information, including original source material.

    This focus on real-world examples, research and analysis is an essential aspect of the subject group.

    What is the significance of individuals and societies in the MYP?

    The subject encourages learners to respect and understand the world around them and equips them with the necessary skills to inquire into historical, contemporary, geographical, political, social, economic, religious, technological and cultural factors that have an impact on individuals, societies and environments.

    It encourages learners, both students and teachers, to consider local and global contexts.

    How is individuals and societies structured in the MYP?

    At Garner Magnet High School, the two individuals and societies courses required for ninth and tenth grade students are World History and Civics & Economics.

  • Key Concepts in Individuals and societies

    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 individuals and societies subject group (intra-disciplinary learning)
    • other subject groups (interdisciplinary learning).

    Below are the key concepts to be explored across the MYP. The key concepts contributed by the study of individuals and societies are change, global interactions, systems and time, place and space.

    Aesthetics Change Communication Communities
    Connections Creativity Culture Development
    Form Global interactions Identity Logic
    Perspective Relationships Systems Time, place and space
  • Related Concepts in Individuals ans Societies

    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.

    Related Concepts in World History


    Causality (cause and consequence)

    Causality is the relationship between cause and effect and the internal and external factors that influence this relationship.

    In history, a cause is something that gives rise to an action, event, phenomenon, or condition. A consequence is a result or an effect of an action, phenomenon or condition. Causes and consequences are often examined together in relation to a specific event, phenomenon or time period, particularly over the “short term” and “long term”. The problem of “multiple causality” has also been central to historiography.

    Civilization

    Civilization is a concept used to describe forms of social organization that are usually large, complex and have achieved a certain level of urbanization and cultural development. To become a civilization, a society usually undergoes a series of change processes, which lead to social development and organization in the society. Even though the concept of civilization was originally associated with a greater degree of advancement or development of a social organization, this relationship has been questioned by some historians for containing an overt value judgment.

    Conflict

    Conflict can develop from inequalities in distribution of power and may manifest itself in many forms: protracted disagreements or arguments; prolonged armed struggles; clashes of opposing feelings or needs; serious incompatibilities between two or more opinions, principles, or interests. Historians study conflict between individuals and societies over time and across place and space, and they also examine how conflicts can be sources of continuity and catalysts for change.

    Cooperation

    Cooperation is the action or process of individuals or societies working together towards the same end. Historians examine the cooperation between societies, individuals, and environments in order to determine the positive, negative, shortterm, and long-term factors that define/derive a historical event or process.

    Cooperation can be a catalyst for change or continuity. Cooperation between actors implies certain levels of responsibility.

    Culture

    Culture encompasses a range of unique experiences, behaviours, customs and ways of knowing within human communities throughout history. Culture is usually transmitted from generation to generation and it affects the way people perceive their world and the way they behave. Culture can be dynamic or static and is often examined by historians in relation to the time, place and space of historical events, processes or developments. Historians often examine changes in culture in order to make comparisons between the past and the present. Culture is a system.

    Governance

    Governance refers to mechanisms and processes that regulate authority in a given organization. It can apply to state and non-state institutions. Throughout time, people have organized governments in order to meet the needs of communities and individuals. Groups have created institutions and processes that have many forms and functions. Monarchies, republics, tribes, parliaments, presidents, dictators: these and other patterns of rule express a range of human values and reflect varied understandings of history and culture. At the heart of governance are questions about the distribution of resources, the making of laws, and the balance of power between individuals and the communities in which they live. Democratic governments are accountable to the people who choose them.

    Identity

    Identity is the combination of the values, beliefs and experiences that define, shape and inform who we are, our perspectives and how we behave as individuals, communities, societies and cultures. Identity shapes historical processes and interpretations. Identity is shaped by external and internal influences and it is relational (the notion of “we” as opposed to “them”). This concept refers to how both individual and group perceptions of the self, form, evolve and are expressed.

    From a historical perspective, identity can be examined as a cause or consequence of an event, idea or process. Additionally, the notion of citizenship appears as a politically and historically relevant form of identification on the part of peoples.

    Ideology

    An ideology is a system of ideas and ideals, which can form the basis of political or economic theories, policies and actions. Ideologies usually encompass systematic arrangements of premises and assertions that are used to interpret the world and make normative assertions about how it should be organized. Ideologies can evolve and change over time in order to meet the needs of a group of people or a society. Ideologies can be derived from the place and space in which a group of people or a society is located. Ideologies can evolve into political, economic or social systems and these systems can impact humans in a variety of ways. For example, through the definition of certain rights and responsibilities.

    Innovation and revolution

    Innovation incorporates the understanding of processes that drive change and invention.

    In history, this concept looks at the process of generating new ideas, events, movements, products or solutions through the alteration, transformation, reorganization, restructuring, rearrangement, or renovation of existing ideas, events, movements, products or solutions. Innovation involves individuals and societies because they use their capacity to create, contrive and initiate a capacity that can lead to both positive and negative consequences in the short term and the long term.

    Interdependence

    Interdependence is the state of two or more individuals, groups or societies being reliant on each other. This mutual dependence is often derived from a need for individuals, groups or societies to grow, develop, change and/or advance.

    Interdependence can lead to a variety of results, both positive and negative. These results can be the same or different for the parties involved in the interdependent relationship. As well, these results can change depending on the time period and location in which the individuals, groups and/or societies exist. Relations of interdependence are not necessarily horizontal. Historiography can also study processes of dependency, domination and power between peoples or nations.

    Perspective

    Perspective is a concept of a different nature as it is more clearly related to the craft of the discipline. Perspective is the way someone looks at something taking into consideration all of the things that have happened with that thing in the past and the relationship between the viewer and the thing in the past being viewed.

    For historians, perspective implies a need for understanding different sides of an event.

    Significance

    Significance is a concept of a different nature as it is more clearly related to the craft of the discipline. It refers to the quality of having great value taking into account the historical context. Historical context is the political, social, cultural, and economic setting for a particular idea or event. In order to better understand something from history, we must look at its context—those things that surround it in time and place and that give it its meaning or value. In this way, we can gain, among other things, a sense of how unique or ordinary an event or idea seems to be in comparison to other events and ideas.

     

    Related Concepts in Civics & Economics


    Authority

     

    Choice

    Choice involves making a decision between at least two alternatives, knowing that in selecting one item, we will have to go without the other (for example if we buy a camera, we cannot also buy a phone with the same money). Because of scarcity (unlimited needs and wants being met by limited resources) we must make choices about which needs and wants to meet with the resources we have.

    We break economic choice down into three more specific questions:

    • What products should we make and how much of each product should we produce?
    • How should we make our products (that is how should we combine our resources to produce goods)?
    • Who should get the products we make (that is based on which criteria, for example wealth or fairness, should products be distributed)?

    Citizenship

     

    Conflict

    Conflict can develop from inequalities in distribution of power and may manifest itself in many forms: protracted disagreements or arguments; prolonged armed struggles; clashes of opposing feelings or needs; serious incompatibilities between two or more opinions, principles, or interests. Historians study conflict between individuals and societies over time and across place and space, and they also examine how conflicts can be sources of continuity and catalysts for change.

    Consumption

    Consumption is the use of products to satisfy immediate needs and wants.

    Products that we use to directly meet our needs and wants are called consumer goods (for example, a television meets the desire for entertainment). Alternatives to consumption include investment and conservation. In investment, products are produced and can then be used to make other goods and services, rather than being immediately consumed. In conservation, production is avoided in order to preserve resources. Both investment and conservation allow for the possibility of higher consumption in the future. The proper combination of consumption, investment and conservation is a question for debate.

    Cooperation

    Cooperation is the action or process of individuals or societies working together towards the same end. Historians examine the cooperation between societies, individuals, and environments in order to determine the positive, negative, shortterm, and long-term factors that define/derive a historical event or process.

    Cooperation can be a catalyst for change or continuity. Cooperation between actors implies certain levels of responsibility.

    Equity

    Equity involves concerns about fairness and justice. A major issue of equity is that of distribution of an economy’s products. Those who have more income and wealth are able to consume more products, and if differences in consumption are large enough, extremes of inequity or unfairness may result. What constitutes a fair or equitable distribution of consumption is a question for debate.

    Globalization

    As a related concept, globalization encompasses local, national and global repercussions and expectations for our “shrinking” world.

    Economic globalization is the increasing integration of national economies so that resources, products and information flow more freely across borders. Globalization is an ongoing process that can accelerate, slow down, or even be reversed. 

    Currently, many arrangements exist between countries that increase economic integration to varying degrees (that is various types of trading blocs). Globalization can be slowed or reversed when governments or other groups take actions to limit the movement of resources, products or information across borders. This can happen for many reasons, including but not limited to: war, a desire to protect domestic industries or a desire to collect taxes on imports.

    Government

     

    Growth

    Growth is an increase in the value of all goods and services produced in an economy.

    It can occur as a result of an increase in the quantity of a society’s resources or from more efficient use of existing resources. Whether or not economic growth leads to development (increased well-being for all persons in the economy) depends on what products are produced and how they are distributed.

    Ideology

    An ideology is a system of ideas and ideals, which can form the basis of political or economic theories, policies and actions. Ideologies usually encompass systematic arrangements of premises and assertions that are used to interpret the world and make normative assertions about how it should be organized. Ideologies can evolve and change over time in order to meet the needs of a group of people or a society. Ideologies can be derived from the place and space in which a group of people or a society is located. Ideologies can evolve into political, economic or social systems and these systems can impact humans in a variety of ways. For example, through the definition of certain rights and responsibilities.

    Integration

     

    Interdependence

    Interdependence is the state of two or more individuals, groups or societies being reliant on each other. This mutual dependence is often derived from a need for individuals, groups or societies to grow, develop, change and/or advance.

    Interdependence can lead to a variety of results, both positive and negative. These results can be the same or different for the parties involved in the interdependent relationship. As well, these results can change depending on the time period and location in which the individuals, groups and/or societies exist. Relations of interdependence are not necessarily horizontal. Historiography can also study processes of dependency, domination and power between peoples or nations.

    Leadership

     

    Models

    Models are simplified simulations of certain aspects of the economy. Models are necessary because the complexity of a real economy makes it difficult to control the necessary variables in order to run experiments. When we construct economic models, we face the challenges of accounting for the complexity of the real economy and the fact that the behaviour of human beings can be unpredictable.

    Poverty

    Poverty is a situation in which people are unable to consume at an adequate level.

    When people cannot meet their basic needs for survival, such as clothing, food and shelter, they are living in poverty. However, some argue that an adequate level of consumption goes beyond basic necessities, and includes things like education and health care. Therefore, the level of consumption below which poverty occurs is a question for debate.

    Power

    Power of individuals and of groups can be defined as a capacity to make things happen.

    In economics, power is the ability to make choices about what to produce, how to produce it, and who gets the goods that are produced. Power can be more centralized, as in a command economy where economic choices are made by the government, or monopoly/oligopoly situations where economic choices are made by a few large firms. Power can also be decentralized, as in a free market economy where many firms and consumers share power.

    Resources

    Resources are the things we use to make the products that meet our needs and wants. Economists also call them factors of production and place them in four general categories: land, labour, capital and entrepreneurship/management.

    Entrepreneurs combine land, labour and capital in different ways in order to produce different goods and services. For example, the owner (entrepreneur) of a fruit and vegetable store combines fruits and vegetables (natural resources/land) with the building in which the store is located (capital) and his or her work and that of his or her employees (labour) to provide a product to consumers (fruit and vegetables available in a convenient location).

    Rights

     

    Scarcity

    A good is scarce when the demand for it is greater than the supply at a price of zero. Charging prices for goods helps us address the problem of scarcity. Scarcity arises from the fact that our needs and wants are unlimited, while the resources available to meet those needs and wants are limited. This forces us to choose which wants and needs to satisfy and which not to satisfy. The wants and needs we do not satisfy represent the costs for those that we do. For example, if we choose to use our resources to make televisions rather than books, then the cost of the televisions is the books we could not make after having used our resources on televisions. This economic understanding of cost is often called “opportunity cost”.

    Sustainability

    The concept of sustainability implies the notion of living within our means and it is central to an understanding of the nature of interactions between environmental systems and societies.

    Sustainability is a state in which we meet our current needs and wants without hurting the ability of future generations to meet theirs. Sustainability can be enhanced by conserving resources (that is not using them to produce goods), finding ways to produce products more efficiently (that is using fewer resources in production), or discovering new resources. Increased consumption in the present may undermine sustainability unless it occurs through more efficient production that uses fewer resources to produce the same products (for example, the energy needed to heat a home requires large quantities of wood but relatively small quantities of natural gas, making natural gas a more sustainable resource choice for this purpose).

    Trade

    Trade is the exchange of goods and services between the various participants in an economy. When people are allowed to trade freely, including across national borders, overall wealth usually grows. However, the gains from this increase in wealth may not be distributed equally. Trade can be limited by various factors including, but not limited to: war and terrorism, natural disasters, government regulations and taxes, control of markets by monopoly firms, and actions by workers such as strikes.

  • Objectives for Individuals and societies


    A. Knowing and understanding

    Students develop factual and conceptual knowledge about individuals and societies.

    In order to reach the aims of individuals and societies, students should be able to:

    1. use terminology in context
    2. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of subject-specific content and concepts through descriptions, explanations and examples.

    B. Investigating

    Students develop systematic research skills and processes associated with disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Students develop successful strategies for investigating independently and in collaboration with others.

    In order to reach the aims of individuals and societies, students should be able to:

    1. formulate a clear and focused research question and justify its relevance
    2. formulate and follow an action plan to investigate a research question
    3. use research methods to collect and record relevant information
    4. evaluate the process and results of the investigation.

    C. Communicating

    Students develop skills to organize, document and communicate their learning using a variety of media and presentation formats.

    In order to reach the aims of individuals and societies, students should be able to:

    1. communicate information and ideas using an appropriate style for the audience and purpose
    2. structure information and ideas in a way that is appropriate to the specified format
    3. document sources of information using a recognized convention.

    D. Thinking critically

    Students use critical thinking skills to develop and apply their understanding of individuals and societies and the process of investigation.

    In order to reach the aims of individuals and societies, students should be able to:

    1. discuss concepts, issues, models, visual representation and theories
    2. synthesize information to make valid arguments
    3. analyse and evaluate a range of sources/data in terms of origin and purpose, examining value and limitations
    4. interpret different perspectives and their implications.

Resources for MYP Individuals and Societies

  • Key Concepts
  • Related Concepts
  • Objectives

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