Senior ACT mini-lessons

The senior mini-lessons are designed for senior students (aged 17-18) looking to hone their authentic critical thinking (ACT), link their subject knowledge to the real-world, and strengthen their university application profile.

They enable all your students to share the cognitive benefits of theory of knowledge, without being enrolled on the IB Diploma Programme. Members have access to 15 new mini-lessons every month, based on the very latest events and issues.

Access the senior ACT mini-lessons

The mini-lessons enable teachers to encourage authentic critical thinking, tutors to deliver meaningful PSE sessions, EPQ coordinators to kick-start projects, and careers departments to develop university and life skills.

We add 15 new mini-lessons and knowledge journeys to the padlets every month, so check back here regularly, and share freely with your faculty. See our definition for the subject areas here.

Download the latest free ACT mini-lessons

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The 8 comparative concepts

The 8 comparative concepts are ideas of particular usefulness to us as authentic critical thinkers. As much as possible, we try to build our newsletter stories and mini-lessons around them. You can then use them to ask questions about knowledge, such as the ones you see below.

In which subject area are we able to make the most certain claims about knowledge and understanding? Why does this variance exist? Does language allow us to be more certain about knowledge? Can certainty bring disadvantages in terms of our understanding of the world?

How does the nature of the subject areas differ in different cultures? Do mathematics and science transcend cultural differences? Do the arts deal with culturally universal concepts? Does the way we understand the world depend on the language we speak?

What role does evidence play in the different subject areas? How has technology changed the way we gather and use evidence? How does the selection of evidence shape our understanding? Does evidence support or challenge our assumptions about the world?

Which subject deals with the most and least objective knowledge? Is mathematical knowledge completely objective? Can we be objective about art? Does technology increase objectivity? Do our political affiliations undermine our objectivity?

Which subject is most and least affected by different perspectives? How do our religious and political perspectives shape our worldview? Do our perspectives determine our language use? What forms our perspectives, and should we seek to escape them?

How does power affect the way knowledge is produced within the subject areas? In what ways can language be used to consolidate power as ideas are communicated? How does political and religious power influence the way we understand the world?

In which of the subject areas is it easiest to access the truth? Is mathematics the only subject area that deals with truth? Has the development of technology allowed us to access the truth more easily? Does language help or hinder us from accessing the truth about the world?

What is the relationship between the development of our values and the subject areas? Which of the subject areas deals most intimately with values? Does the way we use language have ethical implications? Does the possession of knowledge bring with it certain responsibilities?

Help your learners to exit their echo chambers!

Our online and in-person workshops offer the usual support for students writing the essay and exhibition, and TOK departments designing great courses.

But our training sessions go much further than this: by focusing on authentic critical thinking, they demonstrate how to help learners confront, rather than confirm, their biases and assumptions, and exit their echo chambers. This makes them accessible and relevant for all teachers, whatever their subject or programme. Read more here.