BQ1 Foundations

Welcome to BQ1 (Foundations)

BQ1 (Foundations) asks: “What is TOK, and why do we study it?” It looks at both the fundamentals of the course – the aims, structure, and forms of assessment – and the nature of knowledge.

We meet all the different elements of the TOK course, as well the 12 key concepts. The main context of the unit is the core theme – knowledge and the knower.

Accessing the lesson presentations for BQ1

Gain access to 12 classroom-ready lessons exploring this Big Question by becoming a member of here.

Membership also gives access to our other resources for TOK, including the TOK newsletter, 10-Minute TOK, TOK for parents, self-guided versions of all lessons, 12 Key Concepts, and Knowledge Heroes. Download a sample lesson from this BQ unit by clicking on the image.

Enrichment resources for BQ1

Use the tabs below to access our other resources, which are designed to be used alongside the BQ lessons. They’ll help students to articulate their ideas, find real-world situations and issues, take ownership of the key concepts, and draw on the ideas of brilliant and influential thinkers to understand TOK, and create fantastic exhibitions and essays.

The TOK newsletter enables you and your students to explore the very latest events and issues going on around the world, and connect them to the TOK course.

Teachers can use the newsletter real-life situations to create an alternative pathway of TOK lessons, use the stories to augment the lessons found within this and other BQ units, or share the newsletter with non-TOK teachers to integrate the course with the rest of the DP.

The 12 concepts are: certainty, culture, evidence, explanation, interpretation, justification, objectivity, perspective, power, responsibility, truth, and values. Using them to articulate your understanding of the course will help you to create a great TOK exhibition and essay.

Access our 12 different documents looking at how the 12 key concepts link to the course, and to this Big Question here.

The Exploration Points enable students to develop a deeper understanding of the themes and areas of knowledge via articles, videos, talks, and notes on how TOK concepts manifest in the real world.

You’ll find the Exploration Points documents on the TOK Course section of the site – look for the blue section of each page!

Knowledge heroes allows you to draw on the ideas of over 100 of the most influential thinkers from the past and present, many of whom discuss ideas related to this BQ.

There’s a brief bio for each thinker, a key quote, and an explanation about how this relates to TOK. We’ve also indicated related thinkers, and provided a link provided to the relevant BQ lesson, and other media sources. Access the resource here.

TOK via TED unpacks over 100 of the most TOK-friendly TED talks, enabling you and your students to draw on these incredibly rich sources of knowledge to explore the course.

We’ve linked the talks to the different elements of the course, to this and other Big Questions, provided suggested questions (and indicated the timing of the answers), and included further activities and research targets.

Investigating Issues offers you a completely new way to plan and teach TOK, integrate it with the rest of the DP, and support students as they search for real-life situations to support their essays and exhibition commentaries.

The resource gathers together over 120 major global issues, provides a great collection of media sources to explore each one, and suggests ways to link them to the different elements of the TOK course.