Wednesday, January 27, 2016

TOK 1: Day 54 - Is Math For Real?



Let's begin with a quiz.  Circle all answers that you believe are true.  Be prepared to discuss.

As we discuss your answers to the quiz, consider these questions as well:

  • Is Mathematics discovered or invented?
  • Is Mathematics a tool or a body of knowledge?
  • Need Mathematics map onto our experienced reality? How should we proceed when the conclusions of mathematical thinking seem at odds with our experiences?
  • What is math good for?

Friday, January 22, 2016

TOK 2: Day 52 - Ethical Dilemmas


First, let's watch this video:


Now, consider:

  • What is your reaction to the problem?  What does your choice suggest about the grounds that you use to make ethical decisions?
  • What changes between the first and second situation?  What are the implications of this change?
  • How is this relevant to REAL LIFE?
Some other videos:




Thursday, January 21, 2016

TOK 1: Day 52 (1/21): Determining Cause

Let's watch this short TEDx about the dangers of correlation vs. causality.


Discussion:

  1. Where do these issues arise in our daily lives?
  2. Where do we see these issues causing the most trouble/danger?
  3. Why are the risks of spurious correlation higher for the human sciences than the natural sciences?


Now take a look at this site:

Spurious Correlations Engine

Finally, we will spend some time with an activity where YOU are responsible for determining causality in a complicated, real-world situation.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

TOK 2: Day 51 (1/20) - Inside Out & the TOK Essay

Let's start by debriefing on Inside Out.  Please access the materials that you worked on in relation to this flick. (Blog post and viewing guide).

I hope our discussion can center around the major questions:

  • What role do emotions play in the development of our personalities? 
  • What are our "core memories" and how do we see them shaping our personalities?
  • What is the relationship between emotion and memory?
  • What emotions does our society value more than others?  What effect does this have on us?
Then, we will begin our work toward the TOK Essay by opening up the floor to discussion of this years Prescribed Titles. Focus questions for this discussion include:

  • Which of these titles "speaks to you" and why?
  • What important concepts and definitions are embedded in these titles?
  • What areas of knowledge/ways of knowing seem to lend themselves to these titles?
  • How are these titles reflected in the real world?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

TOK 1: Day 51 (1/19) Outside In & Extended Essay

Let's start by debriefing on Inside Out.  Please access the materials that you worked on in relation to this flick. (Blog post and viewing guide).

I hope our discussion can center around the major questions:

  • What role do emotions play in the development of our personalities? 
  • What are our "core memories" and how do we see them shaping our personalities?
  • What is the relationship between emotion and memory?
  • What emotions does our society value more than others?  What effect does this have on us?
Then, we will work toward a little EE deadline:
  • Secure your EE mentor
  • Develop a preliminary research question.
  • Write an email to him/her that describes your ideas and requests a meeting.


Monday, January 11, 2016

TOK 1 and 2 - Days 49 & 50 - Inside Out and the Human Sciences



While I'm out conducting English IOCs, please reflect on the Human Sciences as they are presented in the recent Disney/Pixar film, Inside Out.

Please begin by copying the following quote into your blog and reflecting on it in writing for 20 to 25 minutes:
What role do emotions play in the development of our personalities? How do our emotional responses interact with other ways of knowing (like reason) to help guide us in making important decisions in our lives?
At the end of this time, please turn your attention to the Inside Out Viewing Guide (Access and Complete on Google Classroom).  Please enjoy the film and use the viewing guide to reflect on the film's relation to TOK concepts.

Additionally, please remember the following:

  • Seniors should be Revising your midterm essays (due Friday)
  • Everyone should be updating their CAS reflections (DO IT!)
  • Juniors should be Developing your EE Mentor Request (email) or Formal Proposal


Friday, January 8, 2016

TOK 1: Day 48 (1/8) - Operationalizing Concepts in the Human Sciences


We'll take the first 15 minutes of class to discuss your ideas about "soft" and "hard" sciences per the Diamond reading you finished for homework.

After that, we will do a case study in operationalizing qualitative data: Determining Dominance in a Wolf pack.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

TOK 2: Day 47 (1/7) - EE Final Review

Today, we will conduct a final review of the formatting requirements of your Extended Essay before you submit it for final internal marking.

Please get a computer and access your Extended Essay, as well as this section of the EE Guide on "The Finished Essay" and this pretty good exemplar

We need to conduct a review of the following items:

  1. Title page
  2. Contents page
  3. Abstract
  4. Introduction
  5. Body (development/methods/results)
  6. Conclusion
  7. Appendices
  8. References and bibliography
Then, we will submit your essays to TurnItIn.com, and we will also print two copies. (One for me, one for your mentor. )

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

TOK 1: Day 47 (1/6) - Quantification in the Human Sciences

Reminders:
  • You MUST BE RECORDING CAS REFLECTIONS!  Several of you have no CAS reflections AGAIN for the month of December.  This is essential NOT ONLY for your grade in MY CLASS, but also for your success in the IB Diploma Program.
  • You should be thinking hard about who you would like to act as your Extended Essay Mentor.  Reach out (in writing - send an email!) to the person/people who you are considering to ask them if they feel they would be a good fit.  Arrange to meet with them briefly to discuss your broad ideas and interests for the paper.
  • Begin reading for your EE.  Start with broad background information, and keep an eye out for specific areas that seem ripe for further investigation.  Let your focus arise organically, but START FOCUSING, and KEEP GOOD NOTES - what you have read, where you read it, etc.
  • Find a place to begin your Researcher's Reflection Space.  Ongoing reflection on the process of this essay is important both for the success of the final essay itself and for your ongoing growth as a learner and researcher.


Please take a moment to be sure that your Extended Essay Google Folder contains:
  • Your Topic Development & Rationale Form (which we discussed last class)
  • Your EE Action Plan - the "plan" portion of step 1 should now be completed
  • Any other material relevant to your Extended Essay
Then, share this folder with me:
  • Select folder
  • Right click and choose "Share..." (or click the little button at the top right of the screen that looks like a person with a + mark next to it)
  • Enter my email address (noah.brewer@carrolltoncityschools.net)
  • Choose "Can View" (I don't need to edit your documents).
  • Click "Done"

By sharing this folder with me, I can keep up with your progress on longer-term stuff (like the Action Plan) without you always having to turn things in, etc.

Now, I'd like to talk a little bit about the Human Sciences.  To begin with, take a few minutes to read the two experiments discussed in the Atmospheric and Group Pressure handout.  Record your thoughts in this Discussion Guide.

After you have had time to think through the reading on your own, we will discuss, allowing these broad questions to guide our inquiry:

  1. The physical experiment using mercury was carried out in Italy. The psychological experiment involving students was carried out in the USA. Are these results relevant to other places, other countries, other fluids or other humans? Justify your answer.
  2. Humans are assumed to act out of free will. Is this assumption contradicted by the results of the conformity experiment?
  3. Sometimes psychologists are criticized for causing harm to subjects in experiments. Are moral values relevant to Asch’s experiment? Justify your answer. Are moral values relevant to Pascal’s experiment? Can harm done to experimental subjects ever be justified?
  4. Some religious groups do not allow the advances made possible by scientific experiment, such as modern medicine, in daily life. They look to other sources of control and comfort. Why might this be so?

After lunch I will ask you to write. Please copy this question into your TOK Blog and take the first 20 minutes of class to respond to it in writing.
Human sciences, such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, and economics, are sometimes referred to (often as a pejorative) as "soft sciences" in order to contrast them with the "hard" sciences of biology, chemistry, and physics. What is meant by this characterization?  What aspects of these disciplines could be considered "soft" and "hard" respectively?
We will begin our discussion next class with your answers to this prompt and the questions below.

If there's time, we will begin reading Jared Diamond's 1987 Discover Magazine article "Soft sciences are often harder than hard sciences." As we read, record your responses to the questions in this reading guide.

For Homework, please finish reading the article and complete the reading guide.


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

TOK 2: Day 46 (1/5) - Extended Essay Final Review

Today, we will conduct a final review of the formatting requirements of your Extended Essay before you submit it for final internal marking.

Please get a computer and access your Extended Essay, as well as this section of the EE Guide on "The Finished Essay" and this pretty good exemplar

We need to conduct a review of the following items:

  1. Title page
  2. Contents page
  3. Abstract
  4. Introduction
  5. Body (development/methods/results)
  6. Conclusion
  7. Appendices
  8. References and bibliography

Monday, January 4, 2016

TOK 1: Day 46 (1/4) Extended Essay Topics Discussion

Welcome Back!

Any particularly "ToK" stuff happen over the break?

Today we need to talk about Extended Essay Topics.  Please get a computer and access your EE Topic Development & Rationale Worksheet.

We will begin by sharing and discussing these ideas.  Be ready to share your own (partial or unfinished or open-ended) thinking about your topic, and to be a springboard for the topics of your classmates.

I will just jot down notes based on your ideas.

Next, we need to discuss possible Extended Essay Mentors, and the process for securing a mentor.  

Finally, I will talk to you about the Formal EE Research Proposal.

The remaining time today should be spent updating your Extended Essay Action Plan to reflect your plans for the Formal Research proposal - if you haven't already, please open this document, make a copy ("File" --> "Make a Copy...") and then move this copy to your EE Folder ("File" --> "Organize")

You could also begin developing an email to your possible Mentor.  Include:

  • Greeting
  • Some general information about the EE, and what mentors do (see EE Guide section 4. Responsibilities)
  • Some general information about the direction of your topic
  • A request to meet, along with 3 possible meeting times (be flexible -- teachers are busy, too!)