SL Scheme 2

New Year, New Plans

Having taught and been involved with the Mathematical Studies course for so long, I admit that it has taken me this first year of teaching the applications course to get my head around what I see as the key implications for how teaching it might be different. Maybe this could have happened with maths studies too, but, in any case, I have had fun thinking about my scheme for this year and so I thought I'd share it here. In time it will develop in to unit plans with linked activity. As ever, this is just 'a way' of delivering the course.

Key features I want to have in my new scheme

  • Regular opportunities to see and work with possible exploration topics
  • A long spread out IA process that sees it grow in stages over about year
  • A little bit of mixing of topics
  • Coordinated focus on applications
  • Some well defined units with all the elements.


I have based this on a 62 week course accepting that much of that time will be lost to exams, trips, school events and public holidays. Here you can see an overview of the plan.

Internal assessment

This is always a tricky one and I definitely don't advocate a best strategy. I had some considerations I had to work towards.

  • I want to give students as much exposure to topics and ideas as possible to faciltate a range of possible ideas.
  • To help with managing workload across the DP, we have tried to put all our mathematics IA deadlines in the same place
  • I want to get to the idea very early and have students thinking about it for a whole. This will give me the opportunity to introduce tasks through year 1 that are exploration style or have the potential to be.
  • I want sufficient time to help students in class and sufficient time between stages to help keep students on track. (this year I have a class of 20 and it can be hard to manage turn around.

As such I have the following in place

  • Introducing the idea from the start in lessons and activities with little 10 minute sessions here and there making use of these  Internal Assessment pages. 
  • Week 26 - This when I will formally introduce it as an idea for students to be working on. It will be followed with a series of assignments from this  Internal Assessment Center - For students page
  • Week 36 - Following these assignments and some exposure to examples in the last unit, we will begin the process of pinning ideas down. The  My Exploration Ideas and  What do I need? assignments will come in to play here and I will have the summer break to peruse these and help steer students in productive directions.
  • Week 1 (Y2) - We will get properly stuck in to the  Planning phase here and subsequent assignments will ask students to make progress. There is then quite a long break before the first writing period to allow for students to do data collection as required and collect information and some of the tasks that need to spread out over longer periods of time.
  • Weeks 11 and 12 (Y2) - Various progress has been made on the IA since the planning week and now these two weeks are put a side for proper writing of first drafts. What follows is a mock exam period. The two weeks of revision allowed, also allow me to chase down missing work on the first draft.
  • Weeks 17 and 18 (Y2) - The mock exam period and the Christmas holidays create time for me to give detailed, formal feedback on the first drafts ahead of these 2 weeks when students will take action and complete final drafts. There is then time for me to do final marking before Internal school due dates for submission of these marks.

Unit 1 - Induction - Sequences

Duration 3 weeks

Like many schools, we have a 4 week induction period for new IB1 students after which, we give formal feedback to students and parents about the start they have made a suitability for courses. There is always a good deal of moving around after this period. For that reason, all mathematics classes will look at arithmetic and geometric sequences in this period. I could think of lots of great ways to start the course, but this is as good as any. 

Unit 2 - Growth and decay

Duration 7 weeks

With this unit will extend from geometric sequences in to compound interest and exponential functions and blending the rest of the Number and Algebra unit with an introduction to functions.

Unit 3 - Relationships

Duration 7 weeks

Moving out of Number and Algebra, we will also look at Volume and surface area as functions trying hard to make links between functions and the rest of the course with practical examples like the first stages of  Max Box and SL Linear correlation. Functions is such a running theme through the whole course, I see this as an opportunity to set it up this way.

Unit 4 - Distribution

Duration 7 weeks

This unit will centre specifically on the idea of one variable data and probability distribution. It feels like a natural shift from a box plot to the normal distribution and a great opportunity to make sure the link between probability and statistics is clear.

Unit 5 - Hypothesis testing

Duration 6 weeks

After the IB1 exam session, we extend the statistics in to hypothesis testing. These are sophisticated ideas and so I felt it wise to keep them together as one unit. They also provide ample opportunity think about exploration ideas.

Unit 6 - Shape, space and optimisation

Duration 9 weeks

Volume, surface area and trigonometry all got looked at in the introduction to functions unit and so there will be a lot of review here as well as the perpendicular bisectors and Voronoi diagrams. the plan is also to extend from geometry problems modelled as functions and into optimisation as a concept.

Unit 7 - Calculus

By this stage, I have looked at lots of ideas behind calculus so this is not a cold start, but a necessary period to tick off some of the finer details and more difficult problems. Something always has to go last and it is always hard. Next year I'll try tackling calculus along the way...



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