STARTING TOK: “Ready… Fire, Aim!” 


This second written assignment utilizes the framework for the various areas of knowledge and provides a close encounter with typical knowledge questions.

Here are the five headings of the TOK Area of Knowledge Framework. The descriptors from the 2015 Subject Guide have been paraphrased and expressed as abbreviated Knowledge Questions.

1. Scope/Applications

What exactly is being studied or what is this area about? What kinds of problems can be solved? What are the current open questions—important questions currently unanswered? What are some of the ethical considerations that constrain the scope of inquiry?

2. Concepts/language

What are some of the key concepts and key terms used?  What metaphors and other language considerations pertain to this area?

3. Methodology

What methods or procedures are used? What kinds of skills are involved? What assumptions underlie them?  What role do models play? What are some of the ethical constraints on the methods used in this area?

4. Historical development

What are some of the more significant moments in the historical development of this area?

5. Links to personal knowledge

How do individuals contribute to this area and what responsibilities rest upon them when they do?

Joseph Wright of Derby (1768)   An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump.   Oil on canvas. National Gallery, London

Joseph Wright of Derby (1768) An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump. 
Oil on canvas. National Gallery, London


Begin with students working individually. The activity is based on the Group 6 IB subject that they are actually studying.  Using the printable pdf, allow a strictly timed 20 minutes for students to brainstorm, and write bullet point responses to, the sets of questions above as they pertain to their Group 6 subject. Tell them that a some specific, real-life examples should included whenever possible. The teacher should roam freely, fielding clarification questions and offering generative hints as needed.

Next students should be placed in random triplets. For a timed 5 minutes they should share, inspire, critique and appropriate ideas, annotating their draft responses all the while.


Convert your brainstorming notes and annotations; and any subsequent reflections, into a coherent, grammatical, five paragraph, mini essay of no more than 900 words. Invent your own title making sure that you express it as a question?