We recently finished studying Physical Science in our Theory of Knowledge classes and, as part of it, we learned about Galileo and Kepler challenging the established way of thinking.

After we learned about them and others who questioned existing paradigms, I tried out a new lesson I called the “New Paradigm Project.”

You can download my instructions here.

Here’s what is says:


We’d been discussing the idea of challenging existing paradigms.  In other words, challenging/questioning  what is referred to as the “conventional wisdom” – what is commonly believed.

With a partner, you must prepare a four-minute presentation (a video can also be included) where you question something that is ordinarily not questioned by our society.

You want to think “outside-of-the-box.”

You could question whether schools should be organized they way they are now with the same class periods each day, or a particular football strategy that is used often on the field, or the way teachers commonly teach students, or a current scientific belief.  Those are just a few ideas.  You could explore other topics in entertainment, business, education, etc.

Your presentation should include:

* What paradigm you are challenging, why you think it’s commonly believed now, and why you think it has not been challenged or why previous challenges have failed.

* Why you are challenging it

* Evidence supporting your position that is should be challenged.  It should be as “overwhelming” as possible.

* What should be its replacement


Please demonstrate creativity in your presentation.


It went well and I think students had a lot of fun, too.  The range of topics was quite broad – ranging from the use of homework in schools to people placing value on celebrity endorsements.

I’d love to hear suggestions on how I can improve it – anytime I put this request out there I get great new ideas!