Final Exam reminders

Final exams are coming – but should not increase your stress dramatically.  Finals in ToK are 5% of your semester grade and will likely have a minimal effect on your semester grade unless you fail to take the test.  The test will have three main parts: a 50-60 question multiple choice section, a written portion (think paragraph), and a puzzle/challenge.

The content for the final exam will be material covered this semester.  The material in our math unit will take greatest priority – 20-30 questions will come from the math unit, so start your review there.  If you’d like to start studying now, you should generate a list of concepts and authors that are most important.  Show the list to Mr. Braman and he will tell you if you’re on the right track.

Fractal Geometry

We have discussed whether mathematics is invented or discovered, we have considered mathematics as a language, and we have considered the degree to which mathematics can be used to describe the real world.  Today in class, we explored a type of geometry – Fractal Geometry – that can be used to explore the universe.  As Ian Stewart described it, the Mandlebrot set provides “islands of order in the sea of chaos.”

If you missed it, or want to review it, check it out in the link in the general links below, or click here.  Please do take notes on the material in the video and keep your notes in your Journal.  It is likely that 20 or so of the questions on the final exam come from the content contained in the video.

ToK December Essay submission

Despite the arguments put forth by my third period students, I do not feel that – as a whole – students are ready to submit their essays as of today, Friday, December 5th.  Your essay should be between 1200 and 1600 words by the time you’re finished. (and it should be brilliant too)

With that in mind, I am willing to extend the due date through Monday BEFORE SCHOOL.  Please add ToK to your account – the class number is 9148725.  The password is the plural of your mascot, all lower case letters.

In addition, on Monday, December 8th, you will bring to class the following:

  1. the ‘first’ draft of your essay WITH THE PEER EDITING MARKS ON IT.
  2. the ‘second’ (or third, etc.) draft of your essay WITH PEER EDITING MARKS ON IT.
  3. your ‘final’ draft of your essay with the rubric inside the essay.


ToK Essay Writing Process – Early December

Ladies and Gents –

I hope your work has begun and that you’re pleased with the direction of your essay.  Remember that we are attempting to write a quality draft of a response to title [prompt] number 5 (it is restated below):

“Ways of knowing are a check on our instinctive judgments.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

If you’d like more detail about the essay requirements, consider this copy of the IB instructions that accompany the titles as distributed by IB.  If you want the level of detail available to your teacher, you might want to look in the instructional guide for IB ToK.  In that guide, page 62 has the rubric for the essay.  Check it out. In addition, there may be some additional texts that I can show you that may help you as you edit your work.

If you’re wondering about the role of knowledge issues, you can consult some of the IB materials published on this subject.  First, is a list of simple knowledge issues that are present with certain knowledge claims.  It’s a start, but it does not discuss knowledge issues within the context of an essay.  If you are still wondering about knowledge issues, try this assignment and then check this document that shows both previous essay questions and the knowledge issues linked to the questions.


Exploring Emotional Intelligence

Today (November 17th) in class, we will explore the concept of Emotional Intelligence by taking a test about Emotional Intelligence at If you have a laptop, bring it to class.  The expectations in class are to:

  •  take the test and consider what it is testing
  • as you’re testing, copy/paste into a Word document any questions that seem odd or interesting
  • comment about those questions so you don’t forget your wondering

When you’re done with the test…

  • copy and paste your results into the word document
  • answer the follwing questions –
    • What does the test assess?
    • What do the results make you wonder?  What value do they have?
    • Consider the link to “Scientifically Validated”… what would that even mean?
      • From what it says and from your results, what do you think Emotional Intelligence is?
  • Conduct some research into the founders and the ideas behind the test.  What was the original set of ‘findings?’  What was the intended ‘learning’?  What is E.I. supposed to tell us?  And what good is that?
  • and then PRINT all of it and bring it to class on tomorrow.  We will be discussing your responses and thoughts about Emotional Intelligence and, in general, about Emotion as a way to know things.