Lesson plan for ways of knowing

Class time – 90 minutes

Learning outcomes:

  • students will be introduced with ways of knowing in TOK
  • they will be develop/extend TOK vocabulary and practice listening to instructions
  • they will understand how ways of knowing are important “tools” in every cognitive process


Opening – 15 minutes

How do we know? What kind of tools do we use we get to know something? Do we believe more to what we hear, see, touch or to what is told to us?  How do we use both of said when construct our knowledge? Do we have any system or principle according to which we check or justify our knowledge? Does assumptions, stereotypes or prejudices play role in building of our pyramid of knowledge?

Beside these, there are so many questions that many of us haven`t asked ourselves so far. We take for granted that is truth what we see, what we hear or what we sense. But what if we have more then five sense perception? Have we ever think about it in that manner? What about people who had created so genius theories that later on, after process of justification, become accepted as truths? How did they come to invent such theories?  What do we use when classify all information which we get on daily level?



Students can follow the instructions: class will be split in few groups  as there are too many students to do the activity at the same time. After joining to chosen group team members are asked to think about these questions. The leader  of group will offer answers to questions after the discussion  between members of group finishes.

Development – 60 minutes

When the first half of the development part of class finishes, the second half can be split into two parts.

In the first part of this part of class (How does this sound?) students introduce explanation of new terms used in TOK, such as reason versus reasoning and sense perception versus perception.

Reason is in TOK explained as a possibility to be rational (rationality), when we are able to make an agreement with our reason. On the other hand, reason is in many dictionaries explained as motivation for doing/ thinking of  something – although is in TOK understood as rationality.

Perception is explained as a way we perceive something and that is different (although connected with understanding of role and power of) then  sense perception. Possession of sense perception includes receiving information through senses we have – seeing, hearing, touch,tasting etc.

In addition to said students will watch a short video about sensation and perception. There is also one more (among so many others, I have to admit!) so interesting video about “top brain bottom brain”. Time for discussion is open!

Students are also introduced with faith, imagination, intuition, emotion and memory as ways of knowing and encouraged  to describe,  by using an example from personal experience, the way how different ways of knowing work together. The goal of this assignment is to show to them how interactive ways of knowing are.

One more assignment for students might be included in this class. First they separate themselves in pairs. Then they should try to explain to a colleague in a pair some scientific theory. They are allowed to choose any they want to. How difficult it might be? To try to explain a scientific theory to someone without use on any kind of language? It is possible at all?  Students are also asked which ways of knowing they have to use in order to explain a scientific theory to a colleague in a group? Is it just language or there must be something more? Reason? Memory?  Even imagination?

Now we see that we use ways of knowing not just for collecting knowledge but for sharing too. Teacher told to students explanation of X scientific theory.  He/ she passes knowledge to students then.

Students become aware of significant role of ways of knowing.

Closure – 15 minutes

We do reflection of material taught in this part of a class. Options include summarising  the learning achievements/analysing errors; preparation for future assignments etc.

Resources used on a class:.

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