TOK student intro - Renton School District

Theory of Knowledge
for the IB Subject
TOK Advisory Introduction
Renton High School
September 22, 2014
Students should be able to:
Explain what ToK is & its role in the DP
Identify the 8 ways of knowing
Identify the 8 areas of knowledge
Explain what knowledge claims & questions are
Construct an knowledge question
Today’s Objectives
Write down 5 things you KNOW are true
 HOW do you know they are true
 Could these truths NOT be true
 Testable and consistant over time
What do you know?
Shared knowledge & personal knowledge
 Justified true belief
 (You have to believe it, it actually must be
true and you have to prove it)
How do you know it’s true?
“How do you know?”
Explore how we acquire knowledge
Explore how we evaluate knowledge
Explore how culture affects how we know
Self reflection about beliefs & assumptions
Using knowledge to act responsibly
Aims of ToK
Sense Perception
*Added to curriculum for assessment 2015
How do you know those things YOU wrote down
are true? Which ways of knowing did you use?
8 Ways of Knowing
 The Natural Sciences
 The Human Sciences
 The Arts
 History
 Ethics
 Religious Knowledge Systems*
 Indigenous Knowledge Systems*
*Added to curriculum for assessment 2015
Areas of Knowledge
In order to show application of ToK knowledge to real world situations,
IB requires*:
Essay on a prescribed title (choose 1/6, 1600 words max, externally
Presentation on a contemporary issue (self-select, 10 minutes per
student, internally assessed but moderated)
*Assessments are independent of the subject area assessments*
You will also keep a journal of your thoughts, connecting the
ideas discussed in class with real world examples you come
across, either in the media or in your personal experiences.
Class participation is discussion is also a critical, and
required, part of assessment for TOK.
Assessments of ToK
Identify how knowledge claims are justified
 Answer knowledge questions
 Explore relationships between disciplines &
 Explore relationships between ways of knowing &
 Connect the first four items
 Acknowledge validity of alternative perspectives
 Apply ToK knowledge to real world situations
Assessment Objectives of ToK
First Order: claims about the world
“There are an infinite number of prime
Second Order: claims about knowledge itself
“Mathematical knowledge is certain.”
TOK is concerned about the second order
claims. Can you think of a knowledge claim
about any content area?
Now put that in the form of a question…
Jeopardy style!
Knowledge Claims
Knowledge questions are not questions of
knowledge (“What is the square root of 225?”),
they are questions about knowledge…
How knowledge is constructed & evaluated
Questions are contestable (numerous plausible
Expressed in general terms (not content specific)
Focus: “How do we know?”
“How do I know?”
Knowledge Questions
Which is a knowledge question?
“How does the placebo effect
work?” (Explain the term)
“In what ways do other ways of
knowing contribute to scientific
discoveries? (Multiple ways of
thinking about the problem)
Knowledge Questions
knowledge question (KQ) is a
question about the…
◦ Search for,
 Acquisition of,
◦ Production of,
 Verification of,
Knowledge Questions
What ethical responsibilities come with possessing
How can memory impact scientific objectivity?
Is faith irrational?
Is all evidence equal?
How do emotions affect our perspectives?
Is aesthetic value universal?
Is there ever knowledge without evidence?
How can we judge whether one model is better than
How can it be that scientific knowledge changes over time?
Was mathematics invented or discovered?
Do moral truths exist?
Knowledge Questions
What are the limits of reason as a way
of knowing?
Write an open question about knowledge based in the topic
To what extent is mathematical intelligence inappropriate
or insufficient in solving problems?
Write a closed question (one with a correct answer) about the topic
What is mathematical intelligence?
State one specific topic discussed within the RLS
Schools emphasize mathematical intelligence, including the ability to use
logic and reasoning to solve problems.
Describe the real life situation (RLS):
In his 2006 TED Talk, Sir Ken Robinson claims that schools are killing creativity
by emphasizing certain types of intelligences at the expense of others. In
particular, schools value students who can use logic, do math, and learn
languages and steer students away from the arts.
Craft a knowledge question using TOK vocabulary
To what extent can we accurately
measure knowledge that changes over
Write an open question about knowledge based in the topic
How do we know that public opinions on gay marriage are
Write a closed question (one with a correct answer) about the topic
How has public opinion on gay marriage changed in the last 50
State one specific topic discussed within the RLS
Public opinion data may be used to inform policy decisions on gay
Describe the real life situation (RLS):
In the article “How Gay Marriage Won” from Time Magazine, journalist David
Von Drehle cites research that the gay rights movement has progressed
greatly, as shown by public opinion data and government policy changes.
Craft a knowledge question using TOK vocabulary
 In your small group, create a knowledge
question using the article “Allegory of the Cave”
as your real-life situation.
 Begin by discussing the article as a group to
review it. Then go through the “KQ Ladder” to
craft a knowledge question together.
 When you come up with your KQ, write it on
the board.
Knowledge Questions
Watch The Truman Show
Answer these questions:
1) Truman is “On the air, unaware.” Is ignorance bliss?
2) “We’ve become bored with watching actors give us phony emotions, we’re tired of pyrotechnics and
special effects”. How real is Truman's world? How real is Truman within this world?
3) What is real in Seahaven?
4) When does Truman's perception of reality alter? How is Truman eventually able to recognize his
5) Can Truman ever really know anything?
6) What is Truth to Truman?
7) How real is “reality TV”?
Connecting The Truman Show to the Allegory of the Cave:
What parallels do you notice between Truman’s imprisonment in the Seahaven dome and the denizens of
Plato’s cave?
Knowledge Questions to think about (and answer) in our discussions:
1. To what extent are we all being duped by product placements and false realities presented to us by the
media? What are the essential differences between the Truman predicament and our own?
2. “A robin redbreast in a cage, Puts all heaven in a rage.” What has William Blake’s couplet from Auguries
of Innocence (1863) got to do with the Truman show?
3. What specific ethical objections arise from the “forbidden experiment” imposed on Truman since his birth
in front of a live audience?
4. If you think you have knowledge / truth then do you? How far is truth linked to our perception?
Homework for Thurs., October 9th
Jeff Heft
Teri Barlow
Shehnaz Wadhwania
Support? Ideas?

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