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Curriculum Overview

The Secondary School curriculum at ISH is guided by the ISH mission and philosophy as well as by the principles of the International Baccalaureate Learner Profile

About MYP

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. 

At the International School of Hamburg, the MYP consists of eight subject groups: language acquisition, language and literature, individuals and societies, sciences, mathematics, arts, physical and health education, and design. In grades 9 and 10, students have the option to take courses from six of the eight subject groups, which provides greater flexibility. 

Our MYP teachers organize the curriculum with appropriate attention to:

Teaching and Learning in Context

Students learn best when their learning experiences have context and are connected to their lives and their experience of the world that they have experienced.

Using global contexts, MYP students develop an understanding of their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet through developmentally appropriate explorations of:

·      Identities and relationships

·      Personal and Cultural identity

·      Orientations in space and time

·      Scientific and technical innovation

·      Fairness and development

·      Globalization and sustainability

Conceptual Understanding

Concepts are big ideas that have relevance within specific disciplines and across subject areas. MYP students use concepts as a vehicle to inquire into issues and ideas of personal, local and global significance and examine knowledge holistically. The MYP prescribes sixteen key interdisciplinary concepts along with related concepts for each discipline. 

Approaches to Learning

A unifying thread throughout all MYP subject groups, approaches to learning (ATL) provide the foundation for independent learning and encourage the application of their knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts. Developing and applying these social, thinking, research, communication and self management skills helps students learn how to learn. 

Service as Action, through community service

Action (learning by doing and experiencing) and service have always been shared values of the IB community.

Students take action when they apply what they are learning in the classroom and beyond. IB learners strive to be caring members of the community who demonstrate a commitment to service—making a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment.

About MYP Service

Service is a significant component in our Middle Years Programme, providing our learners the opportunity to engage in our local and global community and act to make a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment. Service activities at ISH evolve beyond doing for others to engaging with others in a shared commitment towards the common good. Service activities at ISH are interesting, challenging and fun for our learners. Learners are able to engage in experiences that meet the requirements of the Service Programme. Our Service Programme is an avenue to fulfil ISH’s mission statement and work with learners to pursue service activities that they are passionate about. 

ISH has a variety of service activities operating including many student-led activities. Our service activities are showcased twice a year in our Service Expo, held in conjunction with the Diploma Programme. Students are able to join new activities and to see the progress and successes of our Service Projects.

About IBDP

There are two ways in which students can follow the IB curriculum at ISH. They can become IB Diploma candidates and attempt the full programme or they can choose to study individual subjects and take IB examinations (courses) in these subjects. Students may enrol in the two year IB Diploma Programme upon departmental recommendation.

To qualify for the IB Diploma, the full IB course of study must be followed. This entails passing examinations in six subject areas, three at higher level and three at standard level, completing an Extended Essay which is an independent research study, a course in the Theory of Knowledge and participation in CAS (Creativity, Activity and Service) activities.

The International School Hamburg has been offering the International Baccalaureate (IB) since 1979. It is recognised as a pre-university course and is designed to facilitate the mobility of students, and to promote international understanding.

About CAS

CAS takes education beyond the classroom and gives students the chance to devise their own Creativity, Activity and Service projects. In doing so, students challenge themselves whilst helping others. CAS is a fundamental element at the core of the IB Diploma. Emphasis is placed on the experiential learning and students should be involved in a balanced challenging range of activities. The IB defines CAS as:

Creativity: exploring and extending ideas leading to an original or interpretive product or performance.

Activity: physical exertion contributing to healthy lifestyle.

Service: collaborative and reciprocal engagement with the community in response to an authentic need.

Career-related Programme


The Career-related Programme (CP) offers students in grades 11 and 12 an exciting opportunity to specialise in an area or career-path that they are passionate about. The CP offers a unique combination of theoretical courses, specialist courses and real-world application of their learning through internships. Click here for more.

Personal Projects at International School of Hamburg

               Personal Projects at International School of Hamburg

Design project, Secondary School at ISH

Design project, Secondary School at ISH