Where it all Starts: The Brain (Film)

“We’ve learned more about the brain in the past 5 years than in the past 5000”

For the next 2 periods or so we will be viewing a History Channel production called “The Brain” (2008)


There are quite a few TOK “Knowlege Issues” in the film. (see bottom of this post for resources about Knowledge Issues)

Here are the major topics addressed:












While watching the film and as we pause and discuss, I’d like you to participate in a backchannel conversation using TWITTER and the hashtag #tokbrain

The conversation will be archived and posted as class notes. Please maintain decorum, keep relevant, and be active.

Post-film Assignment: After commenting on some of the knowledge issues/questions in the film, your task is to hone in on one of the topics addressed in the documentary and find a relevant article or video clip which explores that topic more in depth.

POST the article link or EMBED the video on your PERSONAL BLOG SPACE and:

1. briefly summarize what it’s about (in the intro to your post)

2. pose a few questions (it should make you wonder some more)

3.try to tease out at least “1 knowledge question” (look to the board in the room for help or to the subsection in the TOK course blog menu (see images). Knowledge questions are about knowledge, are open-ended and are general, not specific.


Screen Shot 2013-08-27 at 3.23.43 PM

***note: since the film was produced in 2008, try to find something more recent. 

***try these places for research: the favorite links on this web site (scroll to bottom); Google advanced search; Instagrok search engine; Twitter; PBS streaming video site (search: “brain”, “neuroscience”, “neurology”, “mind”, “cognitive”, etc.)…also, check out my Diigo Social Bookmarking lists:

Memory as a WOK

or search the tag “brain” 

DUE: Sept. 10 for periods 2,3; Sept.11 for periods 5, 8

Some examples from the Class of 2014:








Setting up G+: TIPS


As aforementioned, we will be using G+ as a tool in TOK. It’s a great place to have discussion threads, do “hangouts” (video chats) with relevant people outside of our classroom, and post things in an organized, categorized manner.

I made sure with the tech dept. that all of you are able to activate your G+ profile so that you can participate in our community.

Here is what it should look like if you are in the school Gmail. (click to expand)

Screen Shot 2013-08-26 at 9.49.50 AM

It should say +yourname

***Please do not alter your name to something cute like twinkletoes or unicorntears. The Tech Dept. needs you to keep the same name throughout all your Google products.

Next, you need to set up your G+ profile in order for anything to work.

THIS LINK will help, or you can watch this video:

You don’t have to create an elaborate profile, but HERE ARE SOME TIPS if you’d like to be as professional as possible

What about G+ Circles? CLICK HERE FOR MORE

What about G+ Communities? CLICK HERE FOR MORE

***The major step is to join our TOK G+ COMMUNITY at

https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/105786270533602884739 (you should see a JOIN tab)

You can always get to your communities by hovering over your G+ name

Screen Shot 2013-08-26 at 10.00.16 AM

Some formatting TIPS for posting to our community:

How to Bold, Strikethrough, and Itallicize

You can TAG with a simple hashtag, like Twitter (e.g. #neuroscience)

You can mention others specifically with their G+ handles (e.g. +amyburvall )

You should organize your post to a specific category (e.g. Digital Artifacts, Photos, Discussion)

Later, we’ll be having fun with Hangouts…like this:

Wrapping Up Your Stop Motion Project

Since this is your first post official post for TOK, I thought it would be helpful to give you some tips and guidelines for posting.

1. Each student should post the project to his or her own blog, even if it is a group project – remember – in the end these blogs are your portfolios.

2. Feel free to tweet out links to projects you feel proud of.


3. First post your StopMotion to your school YouTube channel (if you would also like to post it to Vimeo that is fine, but use the school YouTube as well). If it is a partner project, it’s ok to have it on just one channel, as you can always get the link and even download it.


4. Settings: you should use “unlisted” or “public”, but not “private”.

5. Description: you should include a brief description on your video, at least 1 tag, and attribution to any resources or inspiration (in this case, music and the author of your quote).

6. Tagging: suggested YouTube tags for this project would be “quote”, “knowledge”, “philosophy”, “tok”, “IB’, “theory of knowledge”, “education”, “inspiration”, “wisdom”, “stopmotion”, “animation”, “project”, “author-of-your-quote’s-name”. *you do not need to pick all of these but the more the merrier.


7. Next, create a new post on your individual blog space with the following:

___a title

___the YouTube url to your project (it will automatically embed)

___a brief description of the project (1-2 sentences)

___a brief reflection of the project (1-3 sentences): Why and How you made it the way you did, what challenges you faced and how did you troubleshoot, what you learned from it, what you’d do differently, what you liked…that sort of thing. ***reflections are really helpful for all parties involved. I frequently use  student suggestions for troubleshooting when I assign the project in the future,

___tags: it’s VERY important you tag each blog post, even with just a few tags. Suggested tags for this project: “unit1”, “stopmotion”, “animation”, “film”, “project”, “quote”, “authorofquotename”


8. Finally, we’ll have a STOP-MOTION FILM FESTIVAL and enjoy each other’s creations. I plan to archive them all in a YouTube playlist on our TOK YouTube channel

9. They will also be shared in the “Digital Artifact” section of our G+ Community

10. I encourage all of you to comment on as many of your peer’s projects as possible. You can comment on their YouTube channel or to their blog post. Maintain Decorum. Be nice. Be constructive if needed. Ask questions. A HUGE part of navigating in the media landscape in which we exist is “shout-outs”. You would be surprised as to how much sincere compliments and support can bring you opportunities and amazing connections.