Thursday, February 15, 2018

TOK 1, Day 61 (2/15): Core Thursday


First, this email I received from Stanford University's Dean of undergraduate admissions:

Dear Mr. Brewer,

Stanford University is proud to partner with QuestBridge, a nonprofit that helps high-achieving, low-income students gain admission with full four-year scholarships or generous financial aid to the nation's best colleges. As Dean of Undergraduate Admission and Financial Aid, I believe the QuestBridge College Prep Scholars Program can give your high school juniors a head start in the college application process. I encourage you to refer your high school juniors today.

Your referral could make a life-changing impact on your student’s future. One of the many awards College Prep Scholars could receive is a full scholarship to a college summer program at Stanford, or one of QuestBridge’s other outstanding college partners. All College Prep Scholars will also be invited to participate in a QuestBridge National College Admissions Conference to learn from and interact with admissions representatives from 40 of the nation’s best colleges.

When it’s time to apply to college later this year, College Prep Scholars will be well prepared to submit the best application possible. All of QuestBridge’s 40 college partners – including Stanford – recognize College Prep Scholars as highly competitive candidates.

I encourage you to refer qualified students for the College Prep Scholars Program. The deadline for students to apply is March 21, 2018.


Sincerely,

Richard H. Shaw
Dean of Undergraduate Admission and Financial Aid
Stanford University


Then, we will talk Extended Essay Research.




Tuesday, February 13, 2018

TOK 1, Day 60 (2/13): The Nature of Scientific Claims


Aims & Objectives

  • make connections between a critical approach to the construction of knowledge, the academic disciplines and the wider world
  • develop an awareness of how individuals and communities construct knowledge and how this is critically examined
  • identify and analyse the various kinds of justifications used to support knowledge claims
  • formulate, evaluate and attempt to answer knowledge questions
Knowledge Questions:
  1. How do scientific claims differ from other types of knowledge claims?
  2. What gives scientific knowledge its power?
Agenda:
Homework: 
Find a compelling Real Life Situation dealing with The Natural Sciences and use it to complete the "Practice with Real Life Situations" Chart (On Google Classroom). Due 2/20.

Moving Forward:
  • Monday is our Field Trip.  Bring signed permission forms and Money! (You can also pay online).
  • I am Re-instituting Core Thursdays.  On This Thursday (and next) you can expect me to talk about Extended Essay Research for a while, and then to give you time to work on
    • Extended Essay Research
    • CAS Reflections/Project Planning
    • Other long-term assignments


Monday, February 5, 2018

TOK 1, Day 57 (2/5): The Natural Sciences



Aims & Objectives:
  • make connections between a critical approach to the construction of knowledge, the academic disciplines and the wider world
  • examine how academic disciplines/areas of knowledge generate and shape knowledge
  • understand that knowledge brings responsibility which leads to commitment and action.

Essential Question:
  1. What methods, assumptions, and approaches distinguish the natural sciences as an area of knowledge?
Agenda:
  • Discuss Berg, "Evaluating Scientific Theories"


Friday, February 2, 2018

TOK 1: Day 57-58 (2/2, 2/6) - Groundhog Day and TOK

In honor of Groundhog Day, we will watch the 1993 film, Groundhog Day.  The movie is about a weatherman, Phil, who gets stuck in a sort of time loop, having to relive the same day over and over again.

After viewing the film, we will discuss the questions below.  After the discussion, please write a well-organized reflective GClassroom post in which you consider the ways that the film relates to TOK.

Mind-Body (Cartesian) Dualism

After the film Watch this short video about Rene Descartes:


Now consider: Phil seems to be repeating the same day over and over again, but while his mind and memory remain intact from day-to-same-day, everything else in the universe (including his body and presumably his brain cells) seems to reset.

  1. How does this film relate to the dualism posited by Descartes? 
  2. To what extent do you go through your life understanding "yourself" (or your "self") to be somehow separate from your physical form? 
    • How is it that I can so easily say that I "will always be myself" when I know that every second I am actually physically changing? 
    • How can I reconcile this "unified" view of "myself" with my memory of myself as a small child?
    • Give examples of moments/situations where you act in a dualistic mode and/or a non-dualistic mode.
  3. How does this philosophical position highlight a tension surrounding knowledge-creation in the areas of knowledge? (I'm thinking specifically of Natural Sciences and Religious Knowledge Systems, though you may think of others.)


Thursday, February 1, 2018

TOK 1, Day 56 (2/1): The Natural Sciences

Aims & Objectives:

  • make connections between a critical approach to the construction of knowledge, the academic disciplines and the wider world
  • examine how academic disciplines/areas of knowledge generate and shape knowledge
  • understand that knowledge brings responsibility which leads to commitment and action.

Essential Questions:
  1. What are the natural sciences?
  2. What methods, assumptions, and approaches distinguish the natural sciences as an area of knowledge?
  3. What are the central problems of knowledge creation in the natural sciences?
Agenda:
We will begin with Laila's much-awaited One Page Paper.

Then, we can talk through "The Natural Sciences" Prezi, by Chris Kirby, using the guided reflection page to record key info, understandings, and reflections.

This is the video that is missing from the Prezi (sound familiar?!)

And here's a video on the Differences Between a Hypothesis, a Theory, and a Law

With time, we'll self-check our Scientific Method POP Quizzes.
Homework:
  • Finish Reading/Annotating Russell Berg's "Evaluating Scientific Theories"

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

TOK 1, Day 55 (1/30): The Black Box Problem


"What's in the box?!" -Brad Pitt

Let's begin our discussion of science with a quick

POP QUIZ!!!

After you are done, put your quiz someplace safe.  We'll come back to it soon to check your initial understanding.

Now, we will try some hands on science with my favorite TOK activity:

THE 
BLACK BOX 
PROBLEM

I will put you in teams of 3-4 students.  Together, you will work together to discover the nature of the universe. Please follow along on these instructions as I explain.