As regular readers know, I teach an International Baccalaureate “Theory of Knowledge” class (in fact, this year I teach two of them!). Our school structures our IB program a bit differently from many others by having a whole lot of students take individual IB classes; 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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I’ve written in my New York Times column about how I use optical illusions with English Language Learners, and I certainly use them when teaching perception in my Theory of Knowledge class. You can many that I’ve previously posted here. The BBC has now published what is probably the “be all and end all” of resources on optical illusions over the years. It’s titled How your eyes trick your mind and will certainly come in handy.

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Here’s a video and article about turning a Van Gogh painting to 3D. I think it would be useful in a Theory of Knowledge discussion of perception and art…

I have  added a number of new resources and also redesigned my IB Theory of Knowledge class blog. It’s filled with years of very, very practical classroom resources, including many lessons I use and lots of examples of student work (including oral presentations, TOK essays, etc.).

I’ve previously shared the essay planning form I developed last year for my IB Theory of Knowledge students and, in case you missed it,you can download it here. Even better, though, is a great student model I’ve been given permission to share here. You can download it here.

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Reading With Imagination is the title of an intriguing column in The New York Times. It’s written by Lily Tuck. I thought it made some points of particular interest to IB Theory of Knowledge teachers related to… imagination.

Here’s an excerpt:


As International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge teachers know, emotion and imagination are two “Ways Of Knowing” (for people unfamiliar with TOK, the curriculum defines a number of qualities as ways we acquire knowledge, and then divides that knowledge into “Areas Of Knowing” like history, math, etc.). Here’s the video trailer for the new Pixar movie titled “Inside Out.” Not only does it look great for anyone, it looks like it will also be perfect for TOK classes.

Science Daily reported on research that provides more evidence of why we might be resistant to new ideas (sort of, but I don’t think exactly, like confirmation bias). Here’s an excerpt from the article titled Why good solutions make us oblivious to better ones:


TED Talks uploaded a fascinating one — Can we create new senses for humans? with David Eagleman.Here’s how they describe it:

As humans, we can perceive less than a ten-trillionth of all light waves. “Our experience of reality,” says neuroscientist David Eagleman, “is constrained by our biology.” He wants to change that. His research into our brain processes has led him to create new interfaces to take in previously unseen information about the world around us. You can read the transcript here. It’s perfect for International Baccalaureate classes studying Perception.

Learning about Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is a key lesson in most IB Theory of Knowledge courses, and I’ve also been able to integrate it into my English Language Learner classes, too. You can see many of the resources I use in the classroom, including student-made videos of modern parable versions, at our class blog. TED-Ed released a lesson and accompanying video that will be a nice addition.

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This video would be great to use in IB Theory of Knowledge classes when we discuss language:

The question, “Was Mathematics invented or discovered?” is discussed in almost every IB Theory of Knowledge class.

I’ve previously posted about a a TED-Ed video on this topic that I didn’t think was a very good one.

The World Science Festival has just published a much better video responding to this question, and which I’ll definitely be using in class:

The Problem With History Classes is a thought-provoking article in The Atlantic. It’s perfect for IB Theory of Knowledge teachers, as well as history educators.

Here’s an excerpt: