Introduction to IBDP History

IB History is made up of several components. Externally assessed Papers 1 and 2 alongside an Internal Assessment for any Standard Level students, with an additional Paper 3 for any Higher Level students.

For Paper 1, I teach the Rights and Protest unit. There are two case studies that make up this unit: a study of the civil rights movement 1954-195, and Apartheid South Africa 1948 – 1964.

For Paper 2, I teach ‘Societies in Transition’ which is a thematic period study of the years 1400-1700. I also teach ‘Origins, Development and Impact of Industrialisation 1750-2005’ which similarly looks at social and economic changes of a few hunred year period.

Paper 3 is a regional study; I teach the History of the Americas. We look at three units:

  • Slavery in the New World 1500 – 1800
  • The Civil War: Causes, course and effects
  • Civil Rights and Social Movements

I wanted to choose three units that would tell a cohesive story – in this case a focus on race struggles in the Americas amongst other stories. I also want the HL units to provide an extension in parts to the SL units – note, the link especially to Paper 1.

Finally, students must complete an internal investigation of their own design.


To introduce students to IB History, I believe it is really important that they understand the direction of the course. I use the following slides to accompany my explanation of the course at the very beginning of the first term.


Welcome to IB History

I also want the students to have fun with their first experience of IB History so we play around with the six key concepts. I ask students to use iPads (to film or take pictures) and anything they can find in the classroom to create visual representations of the concepts. These can be as abstract as they like but they have to fully explain their understanding.

I use the following basic slides to teach this lesson. The descriptions of the concepts attached are those provided by the IB guide.

Key conceptsSix Concepts Task


I use colour coded paragraphs to improve students essay technique, and we use the PEEL paragraph technique. Here is a slide I display when discussing essay technique.


PEEL your paragraphs