ToK 12

Week of January 21

Date Agenda Homework
  • On a separate sheet of paper, make a page sized T chart. Label the left side "Modern Western education." Thinking as an anthropologist studying the culture of the education, with your group, brainstorm as many characteristics of the modern educational system as you can. Think about issues like methodology, assessment, learning environment, values systems, etc..
  • Then label the right side of the t-chart "Indigenous education." In your groups brainstorm as many characteristics of indigenous education as you can from the article. To the extent possible, try to come up with corresponding entries on the right for each entry on the left.
  • At the bottom of the T chart assess what you consider to be the relative strengths and weaknesses of each system
  • Discussion of Indigenous v. Western educational models (time allowing)
Read and annotate indigenous science article
  • Discussion of Indigenous science article


Week of January 14

Date Agenda Homework

Read an annotate indigenous education article

  • Lecture/Discussion - Introduction to Indigenous peoples and Indigenous Knowledge
  • In your groups, using the resources from the link, how might Canadian Indian residential schools have been considered genocide/ethnic cleansing? Link to information about Canadian indigenous schools


Week of January 7

Date Agenda Homework


  • We will address all presentation and scheduling issues on Tuesday.
  • Get into small groups: Review your video notes. Highlight the most significant characteristics of Modern Western knowledge and IK from the video. Be prepared to share. What are the most significant differences and similarities between Western knoweldge systems and IKS?
  • Discuss /debrief 1000 suns
  • Lecture/Discussion - What is IK?

Read and annotate Indigenous education article - Thursday, January 17

Week of December10

Date Agenda Homework
  • General PT thoughts (comments will be returned on Thursday) • Essays must focus on PT - Often PT only connected at the end of examples - should be done throughout.
    • Avoid “said _______”
    • Only two AoKs
    • Examples should be significant and well explored
    • Reliable internet sources
  • Lecture/Discussion - Approaches to language and religion
  • Discussion - Should religious texts be re-translated in light of modern social standards?


  • The Relationship between religion and science


Week of December 3

Date Agenda Homework
  • Lecture/Discussion - Finish religious diversity


  • Read the article "Rewriting the Biblical 'Curse' on Womankind." From your perspective, how should translations of ancient scripture handle changing social attitudes? What other issues does language raise for scriptoral religions?
  • Lecture/Discussion - Language and religion.


Week of November 26

Date Agenda Homework
  • Bagel Day!
  • Manage BAC


  • Lecture discussion - Religious exclusivism
  • Journal - In your groups, discuss the issue of religious exclusivism. Be prepared to discuss how this issue is handled by individuals, religions and societies. What different approaches to this issue are possible?
  • Lecture/Discussion - approaches to religious exclusivism.


Week of November 12

Date Agenda Homework
  • A very ToK story on NPR
  • Journal: In your groups, answer the following questions regarding the fall PE topic - "The quality of knowledge is best measured by how many people accept it." Discuss this claim with reference to two areas of knowledge.
    • Which key words in this topic need to be defined? How might these words be defined differently?
    • What specific examples, drawn from the AoKs, could be used to demonstrate the truth of the topic?
    • What specific examples, drawn from the AoKs, could be used to demonstrate the falsity of the topic?
  • Brainstorm fall PE ideas

Read and annotate Dittmann article - Thursday

  • Journal: What distinguishes a cult from a religion? In what ways is this question related to the question of what separates faith from fanaticism?
  • Lecture/Discussion Cults, fanaticism and religion
  • Whole class discussion - Is religion inherently dangerous?

Fall PE draft - Due December 4

Week of November 5

Date Agenda Homework
  • Kierkegaard readings


  • Journal/In small groups: 1) What is faith? 2) In what ways does it differ from reason? 3) What is the balance between faith and reason in religious knowledge systems?
  • Faith reading and discussion
    • Does Abraham act ethically?
    • What is the dividing line between faith and fanaticism?
    • Based on the Kierkegaard reading, what is the role of reason in religious belief? Explain.


Week of October 29

Date Agenda Homework
  • Journal (in your groups)
    • Does God exist?
    • Is the argument you examined an adequate reason to believe or not to believe?
    • What role does reason play in RKS?
    • Be prepared to summarize your argument and your assessment of it.
  • Lecture/Guided discussion - Reason and RKS


  • Finish lecture/discussion - Reason and RKS
  • RKS and the PE topics

There will be a substitute on Tuesday, November 6. You will read excerpts from Kierkegaard on faith at that time. The reading is to be done in class.

Week of October 22

Date Agenda Homework
  • Journal: Think about what you know of world religions. Make a list of as many things that you believe that all world religions have in common
  • Lecture/Discussion - Family tree of religion (overview)

Note Date Change for HW - Due Tuesday, October 30 -Religion and reason group readings - Read and annotate your assigned section

  • Finish lecture/discussion - Family tree of religion (overview)
  • Logic, reason and religion (reading time)
      1. Arguments from religious experience
      2. Cosmological argument
      3. Arguments from design
      4. Ontological arguments
      5. The problem of evil

Note Date Change for HW - Due Tuesday, October 30 -Religion and reason group readings -

Week of October 15

Date Agenda Homework
  • Finish Presentations
  • Art and ethics discussion

In one page, explain how religious knowledge systems contribute to human knowledge. How would RKS be similar to and different from the other AoKs we have discussed so far? What pitfalls do you foresee regarding RKS as a source of knowledge? What strengths might RKS have as a source of knowledge that other AoKs lack? - Due Thursday.

  • Discussion of Religion as an area of knowers
    • How do religious knowledge systems contribute to human knowledge.?
    • How would RKS be similar to and different from the other AoKs we have discussed so far?
    • What pitfalls do you foresee regarding RKS as a source of knowledge?
    • What strengths might RKS have as a source of knowledge that other AoKs lack?
    • What is the balance of the WoKs in RKS?
    • Do RKS contribute create more cooperation or conflict?


Week of October 8

Date Agenda Homework
  • Museum presentations

Read and annotate Riefenstahl article and watch the first 13:45 of Triumph of the Will - Thursday

  • Finish museum presentations (as needed)
  • Ethics and art


Week of October 1

Date Agenda Homework

Read and annotate tonality article

  • Is tonality universal across cultures?


Week of September 24

Date Agenda Homework




Week of September 17

Date Agenda Homework
  • Lecture/Discussion - Remaining aesthetic theories
  • Journal, in small groups - 1) If we asked Picasso, "What is art? and what makes art good? based on this reading, what would be his answer? 2) How do Picasso’s ideas connect with the Aesthetic theories we have addressed so far? 3) How does this argument distinguish art from other ways of knowing? Explain. 4) Identify a quote from the document that your group finds particularly meaningful or intriguing. Be prepared to explore this quote before the class.
  • Picasso discussion




Week of September 10

Date Agenda Homework
  • Lecture/Discussion - Finish Aesthetic theory

Read and annotate Picasso - due Tuesday, September 18

  • 2019 Prescribed topics
  • Overview of the prescribed essay
  • Whole class first look at each topic
  • Small group discussion of topics
  • Choosing the topic we write together for the fall


Week of September 3

Date Agenda Homework
  • What is art? Socratic discussion. Discussion should focus on the following questions (using examples from the works we investigated on Thursday):
    • What are the essential characteristics of art? (What qualities must something have to be art?)
    • What is not art? (What characteristics would make something definitely not a work of art?)
    • Based on the works examined on Thursday, does Tolstoy's definition of art hold up? Why or why not?
    • By what criteria might we judge a work to be "good art" or "bad art."


  • As we go through the various aesthetic theories, we will ask you to do several things. First, be prepared to identify problems or omissions for each theory. Second, have your phone out with List of works we examined last Thursday up and your notes template from that day. For each theory, identify works that would be considered good or effective art given that theory's criteria.
  • Lecture/Discussion - Aesthetic theory
  • Link to Martin Irvine's outline of the institutional theory of art


Week of August 27

Date Agenda Homework
  • Put desks into color groups (upon entry)
  • Field trip form and voter reg. volunteers
  • Tolstoy discussion
    • In small groups - 1) What is Tolstoy's definition of art? 2) What is his standard for good art? 3) What does he maintain is bad art?
    • Large group Socratic discussion. 1) What is art? 2) What qualifies as good art? 3) Does Tolstoy get the definition and function of art right? 4) What has Tolstoy left out?
    • Please try to illustrate your ideas with real examples whenever possible


  • What is art? Gallery walk. Use the template to record the main points of your group's discussion
  • List of works (click here for sound and video files)


Week of August 20

Date Agenda Homework
  • Journal (small group): Based on the handouts and the activity from last Thursday answer the following questions:
    1. What are the ethical responsibilities of the scientists involved in genetic testing and the consumers of these technologies? Are the responsibilities identical or different?
    2. What conflicts stood out from the Thursday activity? Do ethical principles provide a resolution for these conflicts?
    3. Would you take the Alzheimer's test? Why or why not?
    4. How are the different from those examined on Thursday? How are the ethical and legal situations raised by the Alzheimer's and Retinitis scenarios different from those we considered on Thursday?
    5. To what extent should the law reflect ethical principles raised by these situations? Put another way, are there legal solutions to some of the ethical dilemmas posed by these scenarios? What would legal solutions look like?
  • Bioethics whole class discussion of Alzheimer's and Retinitis Pigmentosa scenarios and reflection on Thursday's activity
  • If you signed up for voter registration, come see me briefly after class. We will begin lunchtime voter registration on Wednesday and Thursday of next week.

Thursday will be an EE day - DipCans should bring the appropriate materials

  • EE check and work day
  • Tolstoy questions:
    • What is Tolstoy's definition of art?
    • What is Tolstoy's definition of good art?
    • What as aspects of art does Tolstoy seem to leave out?

Read and annotate Tolstoy document - due Tuesday, August 28

Week of August 13

Date Agenda Homework
  • Review of ethical perspectives from last year
  • Discussion of ethics in the Natural Sciences
    • Brainstorm specific areas of scientific inquiry raise ethical questions
    • Which of the ethical perspectives that we examined last year would be most useful in sorting out the situations we brainstormed?
    • TWE should science be guided by ethics rather than purely by the pursuit of truth
  • For Thursday - Read the four scenario handouts from the NIH Bioethics project and complete the notes template.


  • The Ethics of genetic testing pt. 1 - Max and Camilla
  • Move desks into small group formation using the train cards. Assignment of roles (using role question sheets)
  • Small group discussion of your assigned role
  • Stakeholder conversation
  • Reflection time (in stakeholder groups again). Be prepared to share your thoughts and conclusions with the class)


Week of August 6

Date Agenda Homework
  • Please meet in A211 by 7:00 AM on Tuesday, August 7
  • Welcome/changes (annotations)/syllabus/groups (no fewer than four no more than 5)
  • Senior year scope and sequence (and Key dates!)
  • IB EE guide
  • EE integration and progress check

Read and annotate Gavin Article - Thursday


For Tuesday, answer the following questions regarding ethics and the natural sciences:

  • What specific areas of scientific inquiry raise ethical questions? List and briefly describe the three areas of inquiry and the ethical concerns that are raised by each.
  • Which of the ethical theories we discussed last March is most useful to address each of your three examples? Explain your reasoning.
  • Should scientists be bound by ethical codes or is the only goal of science the pursuit of truth and knowledge? Explain your answer