As regular readers know, I teach an International Baccalaureate “Theory of Knowledge” class. Our school structures our IB program a bit differently from many others by having a whole lot of students take individual IB classes and we have relatively few who are taking all IB classes in order to get the IB diploma. I really like this set-up, and it opens up my TOK class to a lot more students.

As I’ve said before, I can’t think of a high school class that would be more fun to teach or more fun to take…

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The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2013 – So Far

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2012 — Part Two

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2012 — Part One

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2011

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources — 2010

Here are my choices for The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2013 – Part Two:

The Best Posts On Teaching TOK “Knowledge Questions”

Unspeak is described as:

an interactive documentary investigating the manipulative power of language.

The site looks pretty wild and, if you can figure it out, engaging. I think it would be useful for IB Theory Of Knowledge classes when studying language.

Here’s an introductory video to it:

One of the major projects I had students do this year was a presentation on the Ways of Knowing, and how each one can help and hinder a search for knowledge. There has been a fair amount of discussion about if, in light of the new TOK Course Guide, if the WOK should be taught separately (see The Best Commentaries On The New IB Theory Of Knowledge Teaching Guide). I’ve decided to continue to do so, and it seems to be working out well.

You can read the instructions for this project at our class blog, as well as seeing the PowerPoints different small groups prepared for their presentation.

My original intention was to have most, if not all, also create an audio narrated version of their slides using Screencast-o-Matic after they gave their presentations to the class. However, we ended up being pressed for time as we neared Thanksgiving break. One group was able to do so, and I’ve embedded it below.

I think the whole project went well. Creating the presentation, giving it, and then listening to them, all provided opportunities for formative assessment, review, and practice for the TOK presentations they have to do in the spring.

Let me know what you think, and please share your ideas on how we could have done it better…

“The Challenger Disaster” was shown on the Discovery Channel and The Science Channel, and it was an impressive movie. Even though I’ve blogged a lot about Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, I was not aware of his critical role in determining the cause of that space shuttle disaster.

You can see clips from the movie here and read about it this New York Times article.

It could certainly be used in IB Theory of Knowledge classes as part of a discussion about why some people don’t want knowledge to be found, and to also help teach the scientific method.

Here’s a video of Feynman’s climatic moment at the actual hearings:

Here’s a good image useful for teaching Perception in IB Theory of Knowledge classes:


For teachers of the International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge course, I thought I’d how I introduce the concept of “intuition” (as I’m sure you’ll know if you’re a TOK teacher, intuition used to be taught as part of the “emotion” Way of Knowing, but has now “graduated” to being its own WOK).

An episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation is our entry point….

First, I show a clip introducing the characters Data and Geordi, usually using this scene (it still boggles my mind that so few students have ever seen the show). You can also show the actual scene here:

Secondly, I pass out the section of the script for the “The Defector” episode where Geordi explains to Data what it means to have a “gut” feeling (it’s scene 44) and students act it out in pairs among themselves (I push them to have fun with it).

Thirdly, I ask them to come up with a one sentence summary of how Geordi explained what a gut feeling (intuition) means and ask if they agree or disagree with it and why. We come back as a class and /discuss.

Finally, if I’m feeling ambitious and we have time for it, I have a few volunteers come to the front to act it out and videotape their performance, which I’ll then post on our class blog. Here’s one example, and you can see more here.

How do you introduce the concept of intuition, and do you have any interesting lessons you’d like to share?

Wendi Pillars (you can read her blog here and follow her on Twitter here) sent me this great series of videos.

Here’s what she wrote:

They’re rich for material!
Perception, bias, expectations, “acting one’s age”, advertisement as persuasion…etc….

I agree. They’d be particularly good for a Theory of Knowledge class when discussing perception, and, as Wendi mentions, great for any class studying advertising.

Even if you don’t have any interest in those topics, though, they are a must-watch for anyone who’s a basketball fan!

The Best Videos Of Tom Lehrer’s Songs

A Halloween scare can sharpen the brain is an excellent article on emotion for IB Theory Of Knowledge classes. It’s from The Los Angeles Times.

Here’s how it begins:

Halloween is the time to indulge those seemingly pathological cravings to get scared out of your skull. Who in their right mind would subject themselves to blood-splattery horror movies or haunted houses blaring high-pitched screams while serving bowls of grapes dressed as slimy, edible eyeballs? Lots of us, and experts say good can actually come from these predilections.

Fear protects us

“People think being afraid is a bad thing, but the reason we evolved to be afraid is that the world is pretty dangerous and we’ve evolved very powerful systems that automatically force us to do our natural defensive and protective behaviors,” says Michael Fanselow, a UCLA behavioral neuroscientist.

Some fears are learned; others are encoded in our DNA: Rotting flesh (we’re looking at you, zombies), snakes, blood, heights — even our tiny-brained ancestors understood these were unsafe. And the fear prompted immediate responses, Fanselow says.

I have a “The Best” list called The Best Video Clips Of Sneaky Critters that includes great clips to show to English Language Learners and then have them describe what they see. I also use them in my IB Theory of Knowledge class in a discussion about if animals have ethics. Here’s a new addition:

Here’s a project we do when studying language: students have to build free-standing towers with two sheets of paper, a 10 inch piece of tape, ten paper clips, and a scissors — without talking, and complete it in twenty minutes. We were studying what ideas could — and couldn’t — be communicated with gestures.

Afterword, students discuss what ideas were easy or hard to communicate, and if complex ideas required using words.

Here’s a photo of the winning group this year and their leaning tower:


You can see all their creations at our TOK class blog.

I’ve previously posted about Bridge 8’s great critical thinking animations, which I’ve used in IB Theory of Knowledge classes. Now they’ve come out with another series of animations, this time on “This Thing Called Science.”:

The Best Online Resources For Teaching The Difference Between Correlation & Causation

An Illustrated Book Of Bad Arguments is a freely available online book that has wonderful illustrations of logical fallacies.

It’s perfect for IB Theory of Knowledge classes, and I’m adding it to The Best Multimedia Resources For Learning About Fallacies.

Here are some examples from it:

Slippery Slope:


Straw Man:


Appeal To Bandwagon:


Guest Post: “IB TOK: Making Claims and Seeking Truth Lesson”

Floating In My Mind is a short animated video about making memories and losing them.

I think it could be an interesting movie to show to my English Language Learners to see how they would describe what they saw — I wonder if all would describe it literally or if some, unprompted, would see the deeper story it’s trying to tell.

And I also think it would be a good video to show Theory of Knowledge students when studying memory, one of the new Ways Of Knowing.

First Draft: My Theory Of Knowledge Lesson About Syria Next Monday — Help Me Make It Better

The Best Commentaries On The New IB Theory Of Knowledge Teaching Guide

This is not only a very funny video, but it’s also one that can be used in classroom lessons. I’m thinking specifically of IB Theory of Knowledge when we learn about perception.

Thanks to Judie Haynes for the tip.

Here’s a great illustration on the shelf-life of knowledge that’s perfect for IB Theory Of Knowledge classes. I can see using this as a model, and then having students develop their own (along with their justifications).


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. By Abstruse Goose

Place Pulse is a site from MIT that shows you two Google Street View images from around the world, and then asks you to “vote” on which one looks “livelier”; “safer” or any number of other comparative adjectives (you can switch them by clicking on the question mark).

It’s an intriguing way to teach comparative adjectives to English Language Learners, as well as having IB Theory of Knowledge students explore perception.

If You’re Ever Teaching About Racial Profiling, You Definitely Want To Show This Video:

How My IB Theory Of Knowledge Students Evaluated Me This Year

You might also be interested in my other over 1,200 “The Best…” lists and, particularly, this year’s end-of-year favorites.