These are a collection of TOK presentations from IBlieve grads to give you an insight into how your presentation could look!
(Disclaimer: These are by no means the only paths you can take! Please do not copy any of the content on the post. Here is the IB’s Academic Honesty policy for reference.)
Elena – Natural Sciences
Real Life Situation: How does sense perception and reasoning influence the development of knowledge in natural sciences?
Knowledge Question: The Flat Earth Theory: The theory that the Earth does not follow the conventional understanding of science that the Earth is globular in shape and rotates on an axis, instead conceptualizing the earth to be a plane or a disc.
Her experience: My TOK Presentation was in the form of a roleplay, wherein my partner and I acted as two students debating the issue of the Flat Earth Theory and having a TOK-esque discussion. Looking back, the setting of my presentation was somewhat monotonous and dialogue-heavy, but it met most of the criteria. The success of a TOK Presentation largely varies with your assessor (in my case, it was also my TOK teacher, though it was recorded for moderation), and he strongly hinted that doing a roleplay instead of a standard presentation could make us stand out. Doing a roleplay is definitely more ambiguous, but if you can incorporate the required components of a TOK presentation, then it can turn out well. We structured the discussion as if it were a normal TOK presentation (including the AOKs, WOKs, and TOK terminology), but inserted it as a dialogue to show how there can be different perspectives/developments in answering the KQ. Choosing an RLS that can be viewed through multiple perspectives is also key in being able to develop a cohesive argument. Feel free to be expressive in the presentation, but avoid going off track!
Elena also wrote summaries of TOK, TOK Presentations, and the TOK essay! Find them here.
Aaryaa – Sense Perception
Real Life Situation: In 2015, a photo of a simple striped dress went viral on the internet and people all over the world were arguing about the colour of the dress. Some saw it as blue and black while others saw it as golden and white. In 2017, colour scientists revealed that the dress was blue and black. I always saw it as golden and white. The fact that I perceived a completely different colour was surprising and thus, I was curious to explore this RLS further and wanted to inquire the accuracy of the knowledge gained through sense-perception.
Knowledge Question: To what extent is the knowledge gained through sense-perception accurate?
My experience: For me, the best part of the TOK presentation process was deriving knowledge questions from the real-life situation. It was interesting to know how many different perspectives can be derived from a single RLS and that process also helped me annotate the TOK essay titles later on. In my opinion, each student should pay extra attention to this transitionary period between the RLS and the core of the presentation. Exploring the KQ may be the most important aspect of the presentation, but knowing how to form a knowledge question from any given situation helps you learn how to connect aspects from interconnected disciplines; this is a helpful skill to implement all throughout IB!
If I would have done something differently, I probably would have analyzed my KQ using a more interdisciplinary approach instead of just resorting to one AOK and one WOK for each claim. This would have made my presentation more relatable for people from a range of different backgrounds and thus it would have helped my conclusion fit better in any given context.
Imogen – History
Real Life Situation: A historian says society could collapse within a decade. He applies mathematical models to history, in order to predict the future.
Knowledge Question: To what extent can quantitative methods improve historical explanations?
My experience: I was applying to study History at the time, so I found it a great opportunity to explore knowledge questions within the subject. This helped with preparing for writing a personal statement and interviews. I found it useful to have a very clear structure for the presentation, with 3 premises, counter-claims, and intermediate conclusions. I had a final conclusion, and then explored the implications within 2 separate Areas of Knowledge. I think the most important bit of the presentation is having good structure and clarity. Also, have a close look at the top band of the mark-scheme to check you’re hitting the criteria!
Bianca – Memory
Real Life Situation: The Mandela Effect occurs when a vast number of people believe an event happened when it actually did not. A famous example of this, and our real-life situation, is a line from Star Wars. Darth Vader is credited with saying “Luke, I am your father.” even though the real line is “No, I am your father.”
Knowledge question: To what extent is collective memory more, or less, reliable than individual memory?
- Claim one: Collective memory is reliable as it is not impacted by emotions, but may lead to the spread of false knowledge
- Claim two: Individual memory may be reliable as it is not influenced by external forces, but internal forces (emotions) may lead to its distortion.
- Conclusion: Collective memory is more or less reliable depending on the situation.
My experience: I was in a group of 3 members and we made it to the 30-minute mark. If I were to go through the presentation process again, I’d work in pairs. Working in pairs allows you and your partner to bounce ideas off of each other whenever you are stuck in the process, and you can explain concepts to each other if you have any doubts! I feel that 20 minutes is enough time to properly develop your presentation without running your ideas dry. 10 minutes (individual presentation) can lead to underdevelopment, while 30 minutes (3 group members) can seem eternal. Be sure to follow the criteria closely and heed your assessor’s remarks!
Tiffany – Faith
Real Life Situation: The real-life situation that my group explored was the Jonestown Massacre which was a mass-murder suicide of California-Based Peoples Temple cult member at the behest of their leader Jim Jones. The death toll exceeds 900 people, making it one of the largest mass deaths in America.
Knowledge Question: How does faith affect our decision making in religious systems and history?
My experience: My group was initially confused as to what topic we should choose and ended up taking some time before we decided on one. Upon coming across the massacre, we were bewildered as to to how Jim Jones managed to convince 900 members to commit mass suicide within a short period of time, which eventually led us to question how faith in a religious system can affect someone’s decision-making to the extent that it could make someone take their own life and what role does it play in other major historical events. My personal advice would be to work on a topic that is interesting to you as that way, you would naturally come up with questions that would make your TOK presentation more in-depth and well thought out. However, don’t take too long to decide on a final topic as it takes time to break everything down and thoroughly explore each claim, especially with other IB tasks at hand. Aside from choosing a good topic, you also need to come up with a suitable KQ that can cover the topic well. Make sure to unpack your KQ, clarifying the WOKs, especially within the context of your topic.
An essential point to remember is that it is extremely easy to go off tracks especially if you are presenting since one thing naturally leads to another question and thus, a whole other discussion. Make sure to structure your presentation well so that everything in the presentation wraps up well and practice presenting with your group-mates multiple times.