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WIS - IB - TOK - Scheme of Work Lesson Plans

The Natural Sciences
Scheme of Work

This contains 8 lessons to cover the Natural Sciences:

1. The Scientific Method – it’s development
2. How Science Works – Homeopathy
3. A Theory – Evolution
4. A Challenge to a Theory – Intelligent Design (Faith & Reason)
5. Pseudoscience – two alternatives (or do both) : a. Horoscopes
b. DHMO
6. Responsibility of Scientists – two alternatives: a. Nuclear Power
b. Genetic Modification
7. Bias & other issues – bias, emotions, beauty
8. Putting new skills into practice Global Warming debate

There are loads of videos so make sure that you get loudspeakers for your computer in the room that you
will be teaching as well as a data projector.

Everything is also available online at: http://knowledgetheory.blogspot.com/ and also a complete lesson by
lesson website just for Natural Sciences can be found at: http://naturalsciencetok.blogspot.com/

On each lesson plan there is a space for you to either write or type your own ideas. Please let me know
what works at staylor@wis.edu.hk

All the resources are available on a DVD that can be played in your computer.
You may also need to install two bits of software so that all the videos play. They are both in the folder
‘Software you might need’. Just double click to install.
If you use Apple, then more fool you – work it out yourself if you can’t play things.

Linking Questions

Language: What role do metaphors play in science?
Perception: How far do expectations influence observations?
Reason: Is there a logic to Scientific discovery?
Emotion: What does Biology tell us about emotions?

Mathematics: Is the book of nature written in the language of maths?
Human Sciences: How do they differ from the Natural Sciences?
History: Should scientists know about the history of their subjects?
The Arts: What role does imagination play in Science?
Ethics: What are the moral responsibilities of Scientists?
Religion: How similar is ‘Faith in the order of the universe’ to religious
faith?

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WIS - IB - TOK - Scheme of Work Lesson Plans

Lesson 1 - The Scientific Method Textbook : Lagemaat

Summary and background
This lesson is all about where the Scientific Method comes from and what it’s about, so that they see that it’s a
progression from earlier forms of thought where knowledge was based on faith, authority and tradition. You can
hint at the fact that earlier philosophers attempted to use reason to understand the world and to ‘know’ things –
eg. Aristotle, but that for thousands of years reason had been ignored as societies all over the world had only a
few important, often religious people in a position to disseminate information (or more pressing concerns).

Task 1 – Sheet - This is an important but difficult part of the lesson – they should get the idea that St Thomas
Aquinas started us all on the modern road to reason – and Hume & Berkeley pointed us towards scientific
reason as a way to understand things. They can try answering the questions, or summarise each philosopher’s
ideas in groups and then report back to the class. You decide the best method. (10 -20 min) It’s purposefully
hard to make them all concentrate. You can also talk about Common Sense, what is it? Is it any good?
Task 2 – Video - You can now play them ‘Is News Real’ which neatly summarises the whole evolution of
thought and leaves us in the modern quantum age of uncertainty….(3min)
Task 3 - Powerpoint – they may want to make notes – it’s about introducing some of the things that they need
to notice over the next few lessons – it shouldn’t be too serious – just a quick wiz through some things they will
forget but keep coming back to. (5-10 min) – Most is in their book – Mentions Hume, Popper and Falsification
Task 4 – Powerpoint – One slide – could even be written on the board – they need to come up with their
version of the scientific method – it doesn’t matter if they’re right (5-10min) – they ought to be at least shown
an accurate version of the SM – there’s not really ONE answer – there’s one in the last Powerpoint
Task 5 – Video – This is the greatest Physicist ever – Richard Feynmann – discoverer of one of the most
accurately tested theories ever - ‘inventor’ of Quantum Electro Dynamics (QED) – he’s talking about what
Science is, how theories change and knowledge moves on. He hints at Paradigm Shifts. (3min)
Optional Task 6 – Sheet - ‘Why is Science so Powerful?’ – Can be read – it’s an essay on Science, you can
use it to get them to disagree or point out any fallacies in the text (5 – 10min)
Task 7 – Video – The Scientific Method in Monty Python – A professor of Philosophy (don’t know his name)
using the Monty Python and the Holy Grail film to show how the method can be applied to anything. You will
need to keep pausing it. (10-15min)
Task 8 – Powerpoint – The Scientific Method – If you don’t have time they can watch it online on my website
for HW and make notes. (10min)
Task 9 – HW – complicated stuff about Philosophers commenting on Science – they could summarise each
one – special focus needs to be on Popper and the whole idea that science is about falsification, and also Kuhn
who suggested that Science moves forwards with revolution’s in thought

New ideas, new uses of the resources, comments
There are also some spare resources – a useful sheet on Popper (taken from the HW sheet) + a few other
things. If you find anything extra please let me know at staylor@wis.edu.hk and also go to
http://knowledgetheory.blogspot.com/ for more of the same ideas and all the powerpoints and videos.
Please add:

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WIS - IB - TOK - Scheme of Work Lesson Plans

Lesson 2 – How does Science work? Homeopathy Textbook : Lagemaat

Summary and background
We’ve picked on Homeopathy because it gives a great illustration of exactly how the scientific method works –
Observation – Homeopathic medicines are popular? Experiment; Theory – Memory of Water; Reproducing the
Results. It also illustrates how carefully the Scientific Method has to be followed to draw any valid conclusions,
and illustrates Confirmation Bias (the idea that we notice evidence that supports our ideas, coincidence is
another good example) The videos are good and it also leads the students to understand what Science can do.
If they ask why so many Homeopathic medicines are sold the final answer is Placebo Effect!

Task 1 – Video – What is Homeopathy? (6min) You could discuss how it might work, why it shouldn’t, personal
experiences….If you set them HW about it last lesson they could say what they’ve found out for themselves.
They could discuss why it makes money if it can’t work. Does belief influence any of us? Why can’t it work?
Anything will do as long as it makes them think of all the vested interests, the possible paradigm shift if it is
proved to have an effect. Is it a form of superstition?
Task 2 – Sheet – Common Homeopathic Medicines – it’s a business….
Task 3 – Video – The Memory of Water. This is all about a Frenchman Jacques Benveniste who did an
experiment that seemed to prove that water could remember the substances that had once been in it. This
could then shed light on how Homeopathic medicines might work.
Task 4 – Sheet – What happened to his experiment and his theory. Couldn’t be validated, his experiments
couldn’t be reproduced, possible cheating, confirmation bias
Task 5 – Sheet – Prof Ennis, came up with a similar result to Benveniste 20 years later and wanted to try and
reproduce her own results – so that she could be certain – this summarises her own exp and results. – you
could just mention her as an introduction to the next task rather than reading the sheet.
Task 6 – Groups - All the students need to come up with a way of testing whether Homeopathy actually could
work. Use the scientific method, think about all the possible bias’s (they could list them – kids find this hard
because they have to try and step back and be very impartial and see everything more carefully – Should they
trust their eyes? What does constitute evidence?
Task 7 – Video – watch the experiment that was eventually done to check a Homeopathic medicine. See the
results. What’s happened to Homeopathy since the experiment? Bigger business.Why?
Task 8 – Video – play them any or both of the Placebo effect videos – this will open up a whole new debate. It’s
quite incredible OPTIONAL – can be used in Lesson 7 instead
HW – Your choice – You could give them a list of Pseudo Science topics and they make a presentation to be
given in the last lesson.

New ideas, new uses of the resources, comments
There are also some spare resources – a couple of videos on the Placebo Effect and a few other things. If you
find anything extra please let me know at staylor@wis.edu.hk and also go to
http://knowledgetheory.blogspot.com/ for more of the same ideas and all the powerpoints and videos.
Please add:

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WIS - IB - TOK - Scheme of Work Lesson Plans

Lesson 3 – A great theory - Evolution Textbook : Lagemaat

Summary and background
Darwin’s theory of Evolution is a great theory and gives us a good way to introduce the Intelligent Design
debate next lesson. It’s a theory with loads of evidence – some would argue that it’s a ‘Fact’ whatever that
might mean. The videos lead you through Darwin’s observations and then his Theory and why until Genetics
that it wasn’t even really a proper theory. Until a mechanism could be suggested for inheritance it couldn’t be
properly tested. Lots of people all over the world have opinions on it, and it was one of the greatest paradigm
shifts in Science and even in Society. There’s lots of popular culture views of evolution, it allows you to ask why
people think the way they do – lack of education? Cultural indoctrination? Can you believe in God and
Evolution? Loads of juicey thinking stuff. Induction, falsification can also be discussed because Darwin followed
his own version of the Scientific Method.

Task 1 – Video - Feynmann on Really Knowing Something – A nice reminder about what it really means to
know. He talks about learning. Language! (4min) + discussion. (10min)
Task 2 - Videos – Southpark (a bit rude), Simpsons and the Family Guy videos illustrate some of the popular
culture views on Evolution. (5min)
Task 3 – Discussion – What do the students think of evolution, do they understand it, what is it? what evidence
is there for it? What would prove that it is incorrect? Is it a fact? (10min)
Task 4 – Video – An introduction to the theory of Charles Darwin (3 min). Discuss and follow with the next video
called Evolution and Genetics (2min) also discuss. (10min total)
Task 5 – Sheet – Fact or Theory – read, discuss – what make something a fact? What is a fact? (10min)
Task 6 – Videos – Friends – there are 4 videos – after each one you can discuss what Phoebe thinks and what
Ross thinks, who’s right? It gets across the point that a theory is based on evidence, not on gut instinct…Loads
to discuss. Is he right to confront her? Does it matter if she thinks wrongly about stuff? Emotion! (10-15min)
Task 7 – Video – Science and what evolution Suggests (6min) – This introduces the debate of next lesson –
Evolution seems to contradict religious creation myths, does this matter? Are faith and reason compatible?
HW – Analyse the theory of Evolution from a TOK perspective OR read the document – The Intelligent Design
Debate and make notes.

New ideas, new uses of the resources, comments
If you find anything extra please let me know at staylor@wis.edu.hk and also go to
http://knowledgetheory.blogspot.com/ for more of the same ideas and all the worksheets and videos.
Please add:

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WIS - IB - TOK - Scheme of Work Lesson Plans

Lesson 4 – A New Theory – Intelligent Design Textbook : Lagemaat

Summary and background
This comprises of a whole set of videos on the Intelligent Design debate – the idea is to stimulate discussion –
some student may be religious but it is important to get across the idea that faith and Scientific Reason are two
different things. That as a way of knowing we have moved on from Faith (Hume etc) They need to be able to
see clearly why Intelligent Design is NOT a theory – no evidence, no mechanism…etc. There are a lot of video
here that work there way through the debate – If you want to do it in two lessons then slow down and have lots
of discussions between the videos.

Task 1 – Discussion of the debate – based on the worksheet – Intelligent Design Debate from the Economist
magazine – Reason opposed in Creationism. (5 - 10min) – get someone to summarise it.
Task 2 – Video – Creation Museum – this is for real!! What do they think? Does it do any harm?....(5min)
Task 2a (Optional) – Video – Christianity in America (4min)
Task 3 – Video – Religious teaching in schools – is it right? (4min)
Task 4 – Video – Background to the court case (6min)
Task 5 (Optional) – Worksheet about Evolution and Religion (5 - 10min)
Task 6 – Video – Summary of evolution and how it could be challenged. (3min)
Task 7 – Videos - The two arguments that could falsify the theory (Popper) – Irreducable Complexity and
Statistics. (7min)
Task 7a – Videos – The arguments debunking the challenging theories (3min)
Task 8 – Video - The result of the court case in America (2min)
Task 9 – Video - Richard Dawkins talking about how you could prove Creationism (5min) – linked to the
Scientific Method, also suggests that to ‘believe’ rather than reason is to be dishonest.
Task 9 – The Atheist Delusion slideshow (3min) – ironic anti Intelligent Design slideshow. It’s not attacking
Christianity, it’s having a go at the belief that the Earth is 6000 years old.
Task 10 – Ricky Gervais on Creationism (10min) – very funny (optional but great!)

There are so many opportunities for debate and argument in this lesson. The big issue is why people have
abandoned reason and embraced faith…ties in with culture, identity, rationalism, falsification. There’s also the
whole idea of how Science works.

New ideas, new uses of the resources, comments
If you find anything extra please let me know at staylor@wis.edu.hk and also go to
http://knowledgetheory.blogspot.com/ for more of the same ideas and all the videos and articles.
Please add any ideas:

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WIS - IB - TOK - Scheme of Work Lesson Plans

Lesson 5 – Pseudoscience – What isn’t Science? Textbook : Lagemaat

Summary and background
There are two different themes here – take your pick or do both.
1. DHMO – the risks, the dangers etc (it’s really just Water) Use the resources to show them how easy it
is to be fooled.
2. Horoscopes – an obvious think to be mocked.
There are also other resources you could use – Carl Sagan’s Baloney Detection Kit is good and can be used
with either of the above two topics.

DHMO
The idea is to try and fool them into being concerned about something new. There are three worksheets that
you can introduce slowly – Info about DHMO would be a good start – then bring in the Data Sheet then the
Mysterious Killer Chemical. Big discussion at every step - what should we do about dangerous chemicals.

HOROSCOPES
There are lots of fake horoscopes in the folder – Chinese ones that have all been swapped around, Western
Horoscopes that have been swapped around.
Chinese: All the Chinese ones are identical in the Four Chinese Signs sheet – you can only do this if you make
sure the pupils aren’t looking at each others – make it a bit serious! Get all the students to read their
horoscopes in silence and to highlight or make notes on what they think is correct about them. Once they have
discussed what they think about them get them to swap horoscopes – they will see that they are all the same.
The short Chinese horoscopes are slightly different – there are three versions of each horoscope – all
nonsense – you can do the same sort of task with these horoscopes instead of the long ones. Read them first
and make your choice. Also watch the James Randi Video to see the kind of thing you can do.
Western: You could do this as well as OR instead of the above. The horoscopes are all swapped around. They
could guess which is really theirs, or use the Baloney Detection kit to analyse the ‘Astrology and Personality
Traits’ sheet. You could also get your own horoscopes and do the same sort of thing.

Discussion about Pseudoscience – what is it – can they think of any more examples?
HW – You decide!

New ideas, new uses of the resources, comments
There are also some spare resources in the extra stuff folder. If you find anything extra please let me know at
staylor@wis.edu.hk and also go to http://knowledgetheory.blogspot.com/ for more of the same ideas and all
the videos.
Please add:

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WIS - IB - TOK - Scheme of Work Lesson Plans

Lesson 6a – Science & Responsibility – Nuclear Power Textbook : Lagemaat

Summary and background
This lesson is about whether Scientists have any social responsibility for their discoveries. They would argue
that the appliance of Science is where the social responsibility kicks in. All scientists are discovering is a ‘truth’
about the world and if someone decides to use their discovery to do bad then it’s the users who are
responsible. We can’t advocate a world where people don’t look at or study, just in case they find something out
that could have a negative consequence. Like anyone else a Scientist has a social responsibility, but not for
their discoveries. The lesson is full of resources that push students towards the idea that Scientists have a
social responsibility – it’s your job to try and get them to come up with a wider range of opinions.

Task 1 – Discussion - What areas of science have Scientists had a negative impact on the world, in what way?
Is it their fault? Are they responsible?....(10min)
Task 2 - Sheet – Science & Responsibility, read discuss (10min)
Task 3 – Video – Introductory video – this is our topic – Nuclear Power (2min)
Task 4 – Video – Chernobyl – Before you play it see if they know about any bad nuclear consequences – eg.
Hiroshima, Chernobyl, 3 mile Island. It follows some people going back to Chernobyl and how their lives have
been affected. Are Scientists responsible, who is? (10min)
Task 5 – Video – Nuclear History – This short clip shows how we originally had a very positive attitude to
radioactivity which has been changed by events (and Comics & Hollywood’s obsession with pseudoscience)
(5min)
Task 6 – Sheet - Joseph Rablat – This is the writings of a nuclear physicist concerning responsibility – read and
discuss (10min)
Task 7 – Video - Over Reaction to Radiation – How we shouldn’t really be as scared of Radioactivity as we are.
(5min)
Task 8 – Video – Inside the exclusion zone at Chernobyl – a food writer goes to see – amazing footage and a
bit scarey (5min)
Task 9 – Sheet – Albert Einstein’s letter –He suggested that America started to investigate the bomb and
discovered E=mc^2 the theory that predicted the bomb and nuclear power stations being possible. Is he
responsible? (10min) OR use for HW

New ideas, new uses of the resources, comments
If you find anything extra please let me know at staylor@wis.edu.hk and also go to
http://knowledgetheory.blogspot.com/ for more of the same ideas and all the powerpoints and videos.
Please add:

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WIS - IB - TOK - Scheme of Work Lesson Plans

Lesson 6b – Science & Responsibility – Genetic Modification Textbook : Lagemaat

Summary and background
This lesson is about whether Scientists have any social responsibility for their discoveries. They would argue
that the appliance of Science is where the social responsibility kicks in. All scientists are discovering is a ‘truth’
about the world and if someone decides to use their discovery to do bad then it’s the users who are
responsible. We can’t advocate a world where people don’t look at or study, just in case they find something out
that could have a negative consequence. Like anyone else a Scientist has a social responsibility, but not for
their discoveries. The lesson is full of resources that push students towards the idea that Scientists have a
social responsibility – it’s your job to try and get them to come up with a wider range of opinions.

Task 1 - Discussion - What areas of science have Scientists had a negative impact on the world, in what
way? Is it their fault? Are they responsible?....(10min)
Task 2 – Sheet – Man & Superman – read and discuss – (10-15min)
Task 3 - Videos – Any or all of the Selective breeding videos – they show how man has tried to breed by
selecting for characteristics, in the same way as all dogs come from wolves over only a few generations. The
idea is to let the pupils see that things aren’t really black and white. (10min)
Task 4 – Video – Transgenic Rabbits – a bit scarey, different genes in rabbits the video is chosen to push them
towards thinking it’s a bad thing. Discuss whether this is OK? What are the consequences? (5min)
Task 5 – Video – Goats with Spider silk – same idea as above. Is it a worthwhile thing to do? (5min)
Task 6 – Vitamin A in Rice – this is a positive effect of GM (4min)
Task 7 – Miracle Mice – a great video about mice that regenerate – should we continue with this research?
What are the consequences. (5min)
Task 8 – Sheet – Greenpeace wins key GM case – discuss – is destroying the crops a good idea? How else
can their safety be assessed? Should we just ban ALL genetic modification? (10min)
Task 9 – Stem Cells – tells the story of a mother whose baby isn’t dead because of stem cell research. (6min)

You might need to leave out some of the videos – maybe cut down on the selective breeding ones. HW could
be to summarise the Knowledge issues or even to do Task 8 at home

New ideas, new uses of the resources, comments
There are a few spare resources in the Extra Stuff folder. If you find anything extra please let me know at
staylor@wis.edu.hk and also go to http://knowledgetheory.blogspot.com/ for more of the same ideas and all
the powerpoints and videos.
Please add:

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WIS - IB - TOK - Scheme of Work Lesson Plans

Lesson 7 – Bias + Other Problems Textbook : Lagemaat

Summary and background
This is a lesson to clear up all the bits – to go over all the different things that you’ve not managed to cover so
far. You can do your own thing or there are resources about Bias (there are several kinds); about how we make
decisions; about the placebo effect; Alien abduction and why people believe it; using emotions; beauty etc.
The placebo videos you might have used in an earlier lesson!!

I will just list the resources and you can do what you want:

Bias – is a radio broadcast about the Bias’s that people have when they make a decision. The students could
make notes on each type of Bias, whilst listening.
Making a decision research – is another excellent radio broadcast about Decision Making as a process –
about the balance of Emotion & Reason. Tries to explain a little about ‘Gut instinct’, etc Also explains how
scientists are finding these things out.
The Doctor’s Plot – A sheet about why people believe that they have been abducted by aliens.
The Beauty of a Flower – A video of an interview with Richard Feynmann showing his passion for learning
Placebo surgery – An amazing video showing how what we believe can effect our body
Placebo Caffeine – A video showing how caffeine only makes us more alert if we believe it will – even if there’s
no caffeine there.
Lets Make A Deal – a little worksheet about how our common sense is useless – links to a website with a good
animation where you can test the consequences of knowing more about a situation – our brains aren’t very
good at coping with it. We tend to think wrongly about this situation – it’s based on Bayes Theorem
The Importance of Being Emotional an article from New Scientist about why we should be emotional – it
needs editing – made shorter but it’s got some good stuff in it
10 Ways to make a better decision – as described – could be used by giving each group a different way and
getting them to swap them around after discussing them – each one is on a different page.

New ideas, new uses of the resources, comments
If you find anything extra please let me know at staylor@wis.edu.hk and also go to
http://knowledgetheory.blogspot.com/ for more of the same ideas and all the powerpoints and videos.
Please add:

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WIS - IB - TOK - Scheme of Work Lesson Plans

Lesson 8 – Using your new skills – Global Warming Textbook : Lagemaat

Summary and background
This is great but long – the idea is to show them this video which suggests really seriously that global warming
isn’t caused by man. The video lasts over an hour and it might be better to show it in a big room with the whole
year and then have the lesson later where you discuss the issues and decide what is ‘true’ or where the
students stand on the issues. It is extremely discredited but VERY (scarily) believable and gives the students an
idea about how easy it is to use Authority (through the media), raises the issues of Expert Opinion and so much
more. They could also be told to watch it for HW – it’s on Google Video – they just search for it

Task 1 – Discussion - Global Warming – why is it happening? What can we do about it?
Task 2 – Video –The Great Global Warming Swindle. If they have already watched it you can just pick out bits
of it to show them to illustrate areas such as Expert Opinion, Induction, What’s the alternative theory? What
should we do? Does it matter?
Task 3 – Worksheet – this contains lots of views about this programme – there are many forums online
discussing this show and these are some culled views. They could discuss them – you could hand them out to
different people

At WIS because we’re all teaching it in the same order maybe we should all watch it in the Auditorium just
before we have the lesson.

New ideas, new uses of the resources, comments
If you find anything extra please let me know at staylor@wis.edu.hk and also go to
http://knowledgetheory.blogspot.com/ for more of the same ideas and all the powerpoints and videos.
Please add:

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