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Creating the TOK Exhibition

The TOK exhibition is an empowering assessment task which gives students a great deal of choice, and allows them to present their achievements to a public audience. Of course, this openness brings its own challenges, but you are able to provide a lot of support to students, and guide them through the steps of designing and delivering their exhibitions.
Both your students and you can make full use of ManageBac in creating and overseeing the exhibition, and we go over the different steps that you can follow below.
6 steps to creating your TOK exhibition
Step 1
Choose an IA prompt
Your students should have already been exposed to the 35 IA prompts during formative assessment tasks, so they shouldn’t be coming to them without a fairly good awareness of what they ask. Help your students to make their decision by encouraging them to link the prompts to the TOK themes, and to the structure of the course that you have designed. This will help them decide which one will work best for them.
Step 2
Select the objects
Again, your students should have already had practice in selecting objects, and linking them to the TOK course. Make them aware that:
  • Their objects must be different from those of the other students in your class
  • They should choose objects that are of personal interest to them
  • Objects must belong within a specific time and place (rather than be generic)
  • Objects may be something that they have created themselves (eg a piece of work - such as an EE, or a painting for their DP visual art course), but may not be created specially for the exhibition
  • Objects can be physical or digital
  • Objects should act as a ‘bridge’ between the IA prompt, and the commentary - and be related to the core theme, or one of the optional themes
Step 3
Initial planning meeting
Although a meeting with your students is not officially mandated like the three essay interactions, it is highly recommended. Meet them to discuss the following aspects of their exhibition so far:
The IA prompt they’ve selected, and why
The objects they’ve chosen, and the link these have to them as knowers
The way in which they will justify their objects (linked to the bullet point above)
The context of their exhibition (ie the core or optional theme)
How clearly this all links to the TOK course
How they’ll demonstrates the way TOK concepts manifest themselves in the world around us
Step 4
Write and check the draft commentary
After you have set them on a clear path following the planning meeting, you should give your students time to write draft versions of their commentaries. Their commentaries should include the four characteristics we have already considered above, but listed again here:
  • Clearly identify 3 objects and their specific real-world contexts
  • Clearly explain the links between the objects and the chosen IA prompt, with explicit references made to the prompt
  • Offer a strong justification for the inclusion of each object
  • Provide appropriate evidence for all of the points made in the commentary
Qualities of an excellent draft are:
  • Lucid
  • Convincing
  • Precise
You should give some oral or written commentary to your students to help them turn this draft into the final version of their commentary.
Step 5
Submit the TOK exhibition file
After students have written their commentaries, they are ready to submit their exhibition files. This should include:
  • A title, that clearly indicates the chosen IA prompt
  • Images of your three objects
  • Your 950-word commentary
  • Citations and references
You will be assessing this yourself, and uploading a sample selection of exhibition files to the IB (they will explain the process of doing this; it will happen automatically after you have inputted their grades).
Step 6
Present the TOK exhibition
The presentation of the exhibitions is not part of the assessment process, and students will not be marked on how they do in this. But it is a great opportunity to market the TOK department to your learning community, and clarify what we do during the course to younger students, non-TOK members of staff, and parents. Your school should seize this opportunity to showcase a fantastic part of the Diploma Programme!