On joining an IB program in school, you start hearing terms such as ‘Theory of Knowledge,’ ‘ToK Exhibition,’ and ‘Exhibition Objects.’ But you don't fully understand what these terms are for!
As you get accustomed to the course, you realize that the Theory of Knowledge is a massive project involving multiple components, such as a ToK Exhibit and a ToK Essay, which have a major impact on your IA grades.
You also understand that choosing the right three objects for your exhibit is the crux and will eventually determine the quality of grades you receive for this assessment.
In this article, we will tell you what a ToK exhibition is, how to select the right ToK exhibition objects, and some ideas to get you started.
The Importance of ToK Exhibition Objects
The ToK Exhibition is an integral internal assessment that is worth 33% of your entire grade in the component of Theory of Knowledge for IB courses. The mission of this exhibition is to understand ToK concepts through objects and how you can relate to them in the real world.
For this individual assessment, you are required to select three specific objects and compile them for an exhibit display.
These objects must be based on and have a strong link with one of the 35 IA questions provided by the IB. Moreover, you will be required to draft a written commentary on each of these objects to explain how they connect with your chosen IA prompt and how they would manifest in the real-world context.
The purpose of the objects is to show your administrators how well you can apply the concepts and learnings of the Theory of Knowledge to the real world and how it can play a pivotal role around you in your life.
To score well on this creative, complex, and lengthy assignment, choose objects that are connected to the prescribed IA prompt and have a personal meaning to you, based on experiences in your school, outside life, or both. This will make your project unique, thus showcasing your originality.
How to Choose the Right ToK Exhibition Objects
As a student of IB, your ToK Exhibition is vital for securing top grades on your project. For the majority of students, picking the most appropriate objects for your ToK Exhibition is the tricky part, as you may not know what can be used as an object and/or what an ideal object for your presentation would be.
Here are a few tips on choosing admissible and quality ToK Exhibition objects for your IA assessment.
1. Compatible with your ToK prompt
For your IA assessment, your professors will give you a choice of 35 questions, from which you need to pick one prompt for your ToK Exhibition.
Relevant to the prompt you’ve chosen, you are required to pick 3 different objects that will be ideal to put on your Exhibition display. In short, your three objects for this assessment need to have a real connection and make sense with your ToK question.
Avoid choosing just any three objects that do not fit together, or do not emit a sense of imagination, such as a table or a plant. Apply your creativity and think outside the box while choosing your objects.
2. Relevant to the ToK theme
As you plan to display your three objects in the ToK Exhibition, choose them carefully based on the central or core theme of the assessment, or take your pick from the 5 optional themes:
- Indigenous societies;
- Knowledge and language.
Consider different angles to answer your prompt by diversifying and branching out into different areas of knowledge, such as natural sciences, mathematics, history, human sciences, art, etc.
3. Interesting and personal to you
Keep in mind that the entire purpose of a ToK Exhibition is to show how the objects you’ve chosen are manifested into knowledge in the real world. Choose three non-generic objects that have significance in your life and would be interesting to present at your ToK display.
For example, if you are a runner, you can choose a stopwatch as one of your objects. With this, you can explain how your knowledge of running and the object you’ve chosen have guided and helped you to make running a lifestyle practice in your life.
Similarly, in another case, if you are from India, you could use a Sari as one of your objects; through this, you could showcase knowledge about your originality, culture and why it is an important object to you.
What Makes an Object Ideal for ToK Exhibition
Wondering what makes a good object for the display?
Here’s a list of what is considered to be an ideal object for your ToK Exhibition:
- Objects that are not generic, should be within a specific date and time and have a strong relation to the real world.
- They can be digital and also physical, tangible things.
- Something that you’ve created can also be an object, but it shouldn't have been made specifically for the Exhibition.
- All your three objects must have a clear connection with your IA prompt.
- Should be able to relate to and justify why each of the three objects played a significant role in your life.
- Should be able to be referenced and properly cited for the Exhibition.
21 ToK Exhibition Objects Ideas for your Inspiration
We’ve shared a list of ToK exhibition prompts along with the respective object ideas.
1. Prompt: What counts as knowledge?
Object 1: Alexander Graham Bell’s first telephone helped humans communicate from long distances and counted as knowledge. Further development of the first telephone technology has resulted in wireless mobile phones.
Object 2: Smartphones count as knowledge because of the services they provide.
Object 3: 14th-century microscope counted as knowledge as it helped to establish the causes of diseases.
2. Prompt: Are some types of knowledge more useful than others?
Object 1: Dad’s Painting Brush he uses to paint during his free time. Painting is an important therapy for my dad which helps to release negative pressure.
Object 2: Trigonometry Textbook is important for math major who desires to pursue a career in mathematics. This knowledge is not useful for athletes but useful for students who desire to make a career in mathematics.
Object 3: HeLa Cells provided useful knowledge in the diagnosis and treatment of cancerous cells. Without the discovery of these cells, it would have been difficult to understand cancer as a dangerous disease.
3. Prompt: What features of knowledge have an impact on its reliability?
Object 1: Divers Watch is significant as it shows the pressure and depth of a diver. Inaccuracy of the watch would negatively affect the reliability of the device.
Object 2: Self-driving cars depend on their pre-installed feature. Any system fault would result in a fatal accident.
Object 3: A transponder antenna is essential for justifying the accuracy of a Formula 1 car.
4. Prompt: On what grounds might we doubt a claim?
Object 1: Stephen Hawking's “Black Holes and Baby Universe” essay describes the concept of the black hole. Hawking provides various solid justifications to support his claims. However, an Indian scientist refutes Hawking's concept by stating that only quasi black hole exists.
Object 2: Covid-19 Vaccine. Most vaccines produced during the pandemic proved to be ineffective as people who were fully vaccinated got hospitalized.
Object 3: IPOD prototype. Apple engineers made a bigger iPod that Steve Jobs rejected. He threw the prototype into an aquarium. To prove his point bubbles were observed which means the prototype had extra space.
5. Prompt: What counts as good evidence for a claim?
Object 1: Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics are good evidence of complex remnant history in Egyptian early civilization.
Object 2: X-ray Imaging. The imaging is good evidence for diagnosing internal fractures, injuries and joint abnormalities.
Object 3: Finger Print Forensic Evidence is essential for the criminal justice system. Fingerprints are a standard measure for personal identification that provides critical evidence for serious crimes.
6. Prompt: Can new knowledge change established values or beliefs?
Object 1: Heliocentrism theory changed how people perceive the universe. The early church claimed that the earth was flat and that earth was at the center of the universe. However, the heliocentric theory proved that the earth was spherical and the sun was at the center of the cosmos.
Object 2: The Germ Theory of Disease established that diseases were caused by miniature microorganisms and not divine punishment as it was initially claimed.
Object 3: Evolution theory. Darwinian theory of evolution changed society's perception of the origin of species. Religion claimed all organisms were created by a supreme deity. However, Darwin provided a scientific explanation backed by empirical evidence.
7. Prompt: Does some knowledge belong only to particular communities of knowers?
Object 1: A Rosetta Stone at the British Museum consists of the ancient inscription written in Greek, Egyptian hieroglyphics, and Egyptian demotic. The language could only be understood by Egyptian royals and their priest.
Object 2: A Ying Yang neckless (personal item), consists of a Chinese cultural aspect of duality that is known by Chinese people only.
Object 3: A dream catcher (personal item), symbolizes good and peaceful dreams for Native American children. Outsides would not know what knowledge the object contains.
ToK assignments, on the other hand, are lengthier and require you to think creatively and apply the concepts you’ve learned in your Theory of Knowledge classes to specific objects that hold importance to your life. It is crucial for your presentation objects to relate strongly to your chosen IA prompt.
Since the objects you chose to present in your IA exhibit are key for scoring top grades, refer back to this article to understand the best practices for choosing your Tok Exhibition object that will make your project stand out amongst the rest.
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Last edit at Oct 27 2023