Beginning TOK teachers may be interested in this suggested Teaching Sequence.

Watson and Crick with their early DNA model

YEAR ONE

I begin with the entire Beginning TOK section.

I limit the remainder of the first year to explorations in Language, Reason and Sense Perception which in my view lend themselves to being integrated creatively with Natural Science, History and Mathematics. This is a fairly conventional approach that provides a good foundation for novice students. As the year unfolds, all the remaining Ways of Knowing and Areas of Knowledge, can
 at least be touched upon as they emerge spontaneously in group and class discussion.


BEGINNING TOK  

READY... FIRE, AIM!

Explore mystery objects by touch alone
Introductions and common agreements for discussion
Whitman and Wallace Stevens poems evoking TOK
What do little kids know?
Octopus intelligence
Feral children and forbidden experiments
Generating student Knowledge Claims
First written assignment: knowing that and knowing how
Figs viewed from multiple perspectives
Framing the remainder of the course with the TOK lexicon
Second written assignment: Areas of Knowledge Framework

MAPS

London Underground
The Map is not the Territory
Allegory of the Cave: Truman Show
Third written assignment: counter claims


WAYS OF KNOWING

1. LANGUAGE

Problem of definition: beef and cows
Orwellian “doublespeak”
Invent your own (language) games
Wittgenstein and the polysemy of language
Fourth written assignment: formulating Knowledge Questions
In praise of the poetic voice
Speech recognition: navigating ambiguity

2. REASON

Theory of Ignorance
Fake news and Justified True Belief
Coherence, Correspondence and Pragmatic Theories of Truth
Induction and deduction
Informal logical fallacies
Ideal gas law compared to Euler’s relation
Fifth written assignment: drafting a mini essay


3. SENSE PERCEPTION

Umwelt—limited sensory world
The seven senses
Optical illusions
Epistemic hunger
Active vision—blind spot and eye tracking experiments
Color vision, subjectivity, impressions and qualia

 

AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE

1. NATURAL SCIENCES

Is there a scientific method?
Nature: an encounter with a real science journal
Popper and falsifiability
Is there consilience in the natural sciences?

2. HISTORY

Draw history (including cubist history)
History is not what happened

3. MATHEMATICS

Pure mathematics: invented or discovered?
This Statement is False
Conventions of the TOK Presentation

 

YEAR TWO

The second year has a different flavor. I base teaching the sequence on the remaining Areas of Knowledge. I teach Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Ethics and Religious Knowledge Systems, followed by Human Sciences and the Arts. The remaining Ways of Knowing--Emotion, Imagination, Faith, Intuition and Memory--are integrated appropriately.

The second year builds towards the formal assessment end game... The Presentation based on a real life situation; The Essay responding to a prescribed title; and good closure.
 

AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE


4. INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS

Defining “indigenous”
Nacirema case study
What can we learn from traditional societies?
Exorcising cultural relativism
First Presentation

5. ETHICS

Are ethics and morality the same?
Trolley Problem and liver transplant variations
Seven ethical frames
Vera Drake: saint or serial killer?
Sixth Written Assignment: 1000 word essay on an ethical theme
Asch and Milgram experiments
Burkini
Gorilla language and personhood

6. RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS

Introduction to the Variety of Religious Experience
A very persistent meme
Differentiating religion/religiosity from personal faith
Encounter with radical atheism

7. HUMAN SCIENCES

Isaiah Berlin’s pluralism
Big five personality traits
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)

8. THE ARTS

Non-linguistic forms of representation: Shostakovich 8th string quartet
Picasso’s lie and the willing suspension of disbelief
The monetary value of art
Preparing the Final Essay

 

WAYS OF KNOWING
 

4. EMOTION

Evoked emotions art gallery
Tension and release
Phineas Gage—iconic neuroscience patient

5. IMAGINATION

Imagination (with constraints) and living in the subjunctive
Creativity—Flow—“Zen”

6. FAITH

Faith, evidence and infinities in a finite world?
Do certain fundamental assumptions in math and science amount to blind faith?
Pascal’s Wager and Occam's Razor

7. INTUITION

Should you “trust your gut”?
The tip of the iceberg—and some neuroscience

8. MEMORY

Eyewitness reporting
Who do you think you are?

Rosalind Franklin. Who is she? What did she contribute to the discovery of the structure of DNA? Why didn't she get the Nobel Prize with Watson and Crick?

Rosalind Franklin. Who is she? What did she contribute to the discovery of the structure of DNA? Why didn't she get the Nobel Prize with Watson and Crick?