Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

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March 17, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Simple “New Paradigm Project” We Did In Theory Of Knowledge Class (& Which Could Be Done In Other Classes, Too)

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!

March 17, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Four New Resources On Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous Knowledge Systems is an Area of Knowledge we study in IB Theory of Knowledge classes, and I’ve collected many related resources at The Best Sites For International Day Of The World’s Indigenous People.

Here are three new resources I’m adding to that list:

This New Zealand river now has the same legal rights as a human being is from The Washington Post.

I had the privilege of visiting the Tarahumara a few years ago:

March 15, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

New Study: The Milgram Experiment Is Replicated

This week, my IB Theory of Knowledge classes will be learning about The Milgram and Stanford Prison Experiments.

You can find a ton of related resources at our class blog.

Coincidentally, yesterday researchers announced they had done a modern version that replicated the original findings:

Perfect timing! After we learn about the original Milgram, I’ll ask students if they think that people would act the same way today. It will be interesting to hear their responses. Afterwards, I’ll share this study.

March 10, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Videos For Learning About The Scientific Method

We learn about the scientific method in IB Theory of Knowledge classes, and especially talk about its application in all areas of life – not just science. I’ve previously posted about this topic, and thought readers might find it useful to see some of the videos I use, depending on the time available. Feel free to suggest more!

Here’s another version:

February 28, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Here’s My Absolutism/Relativism Project For TOK – Help Me Make It Better

Like very other IB Theory of Knowledge teacher in the world, I cover absolutism and relativism when we’re studying Ethics, which we are doing this week.

I thought I’d try something a little different this year, and it went relatively well. I wanted to share it and get feedback about how I could make it better.

After giving a very quick intro to the the two concepts, I had students read a slightly modified version of this article, Absolutism and Relativism.

I then had students do this project (you can download the same instructions here):

Absolutism versus Relativism Project

1) Read two-page Absolutism vs. Relativism article with a partner

2) Each of you write down a one sentence summary of absolutism and write a one sentence summary of relativism.  Think of some examples to show the different – DO NOT use examples from the article.   You can each write the same things down if you work together.

3) Share what your wrote with another group when Mr. Ferlazzo makes the announcement to do so.

4) With your partner and the other group that you shared with, create a series of skits showing:

* a situation where absolutism could be beneficial to society and the search for knowledge

* a situation where absolutism could be could be hurtful to society and the search for knowledge

* a situation where relativism could be beneficial to society and the search for knowledge

* a situation where relativism could be hurtful to society and the search for knowledge.

The skits cannot take more than four minutes to perform all together.  Introducing each one does not count against the time.

These examples must NOT come from the article.


It seemed to go fairly well.  The one minute time limits were unrealistic, and not everybody got it right (I should have done some model skits first).  But, in general, I think students were pretty creative in their examples, and it was much more engaging than the usual brief review I do on the concepts.

How do you think I could improve it?

February 23, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

TED Video: “Weird, or just different?”

Though I’ve not been a fan of all of Derek Sivers’ videos (see my article, Dancing Guy Doesn’t Teach Good Leadership Lessons), I like this short one that Jen Adkins, my talented colleague at school, showed today.

It was made in 2009, but I don’t remember seeing it before.  I think it would be useful in many situations, including IB Theory of Knowledge classes:

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