Each year, I have my IB Theory of Knowledge students create these kinds of presentations and then, afterwards, I make arrangements with other teachers for them to come and help my English Language Learner U.S. and World History students to make their own versions.
My TOK students just completed theirs and next week they begin working with my ELL students. I’ll post examples later this month (you can see a bunch at my previously-mentioned “Best” list).
As usual, in addition to asking my students what they liked about the project and how it could be improved, I ask them to share what they learned about history through doing it. Here are a couple of responses from my TOK students:
We learned how different life would be. It also forced us to deeply think and analyze events in history and see how much it would impact us today. The world has many possibilities and we should consider all of them.
We learned the importance and background of certain events and what impact they had on us. And how, if it things happened differently, the future would have changed as well.
One new wrinkle to the project this year was that I briefly explained The New York Times asking the question last fall, Could You Kill A Baby Hitler?, and the subsequent widespread interest in the question. I asked students to write a quick but thoughtful response, share it with a partner, and then several spoke to the entire class. There were some very impressive comments. I was surprised to find that in both of my classes only a small handful would, indeed, kill Baby Hitler if they had the chance.
We’re studying Ethics next week, so I told students I would save their responses and ask them the same question after we completed that next unit. I often tell students that our “opinion” is what we develop on our own; our “judgment” is what we conclude after talking with others. I’ll have them write a lengthier piece at that time, using what we’ve learned in our Ethics unit to justify their position.
In addition to the usual materials I use in our Ethics unit, I’m going to ask students to look through these specific “Baby Hitler” articles from last fall:
Many educators, including those of us who teach IB Theory of Knowledge courses, spend time on Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.
I’ve often shared on this blog how I teach about it, and included student-created videos of modern versions.
The School of Life today came out with a new video on the Allegory and, even though I don’t think it’s as good as other ones I’ve posted about, it did give me the idea that it’s time for a short related “Best” list.
It’s very similar to the old one, except it doesn’t have space for the candidates names since they will be the ones uploading it under their own registration. It does seem odd that they have entirely removed any space for student names, but I’ve given up trying to figure out IB decisions….
Neil deGrasse Tyson published a short piece in The Huffington Post titled What Science Is — and How and Why It Works. It’s a very safe bet that it will be used as required reading in many IB Theory of Knowledge classes when the definition of “knowledge” is discussed. And I’d bet dollars to donuts that many teachers will be using this accessible column in many other classes, too.
One assignment I learned about at my original IB Theory of Knowledge training was having groups of students invent a classroom appropriate product and have them create a short commercial four of the fallacies that we have studied. I have each group show their video, and then they call on people to identify the fallacies used in it.
I have my IB Theory of Knowledge students work in groups to prepare weekly presentations on our textbook chapters that they read for homework. When we were discussing the role of emotion in the search for knowledge, one of the presentation groups was asked if emotion is sometimes like a voice in our heads that we have to control. I then showed this clip from the National Press Club, which is a perfect example of that in action.
Secondly, we spend a few days studying Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. You can see many of those resources at our TOK class blog, along with examples of student videos – they have to create modern versions of it. This year’s students will be showing their own creations on Monday, and I’ll be adding some of them to that class blog post. Students viewing the videos will be using this anonymous evaluation form, which will be completed after each video is viewed, collected, and given to the video’s creators.
TED-Ed released this excellent video and lesson — perfect for IB Theory of Knowledge classes when studying language:
This video would be a useful one to show when discussing indigenous knowledge systems in IB Theory of Knowledge classes:
In IB Theory of Knowledge classes we examine in both math and human sciences how people taking polls/surveys can manipulate the answers. Here’s a video that would be a nice introduction to the topic (after first explaining to U.S. students the definition of “National Service”):
This video is from PBS, and is a great one for IB Theory of Knowledge teachers when exploring the arts: