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TOK exhibition objects

The exhibition objects

You need to choose three ‘objects’ for your exhibition, that should relate closely to the IA prompt that you have chosen, and enable you to create a 950-word commentary set within the context of an optional or core theme.
 
Your objects should be connected to you personally, and be things that you have encountered at school, or your life beyond the classroom. This link will keep the exhibition original, and prove your engagement with TOK.

TOK exhibition pages

Rubric

Learn about how the exhibition is marked, and the skills you are expected to demonstrate in order to succeed.

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IA prompts

Find out about the IA prompts used to write your exhibition commentary, and tips on choosing the right one.

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Objects

Find out what ‘exhibition objects’ are, how to choose effective ones, and linking them to a theme and prompt.

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Commentary

Learn about the 950-word exhibition commentary, ways to link it to your IA prompt, and how to set it within a theme.

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Final tips

Get tips on how to set up a TOK exhibition, talking in public, and showing off your TOK knowledge to a public audience

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Choosing your objects

Before you choose your objects, you should have selected an IA prompt, and have a good idea about the context you’ll be exploring this in. You can be a little flexible about this – plans often change when you work on internal assessment – but obviously you don’t want to waste the work you’ve put into an exhibition by changing it after too long.
 
Have a good look at the examples provided in the TOK subject guide, and look at the exemplar exhibitions in ‘MyIB’ – your TOK teacher will be able to provide you with accees to these, and discuss what makes a good object. If your school is a member of theoryofknowledge.net, you’ll also be able to see our example objects to help you get a clear picture of what works and what does not.
 
Remember, you write a 950-word commentary, in which you will identifies your objects, consider its specific real-world context, and justify why you have included it in the exhibition. This should all link (ie answer) the IA prompt. We’ll talk a little more about the commentary here, but just keep that in mind as you choose your objects.

Things to bear in mind as you choose your exhibition objects:

  • Objects can be digital, not physical – such as a photograph of an object, or a Tweet posted by a person
  • Objects should have a specific real-world context, and not be generic examples of something
  • Objects can be something you have created, but not for the exhibition
  • All three objects should link to your IA prompt
  • You may not use the same objects as other members of your class (and it would be wise to extend this to ‘other members of your year group’)
  • You should clearly reference the provenance of your objects when you create your exhibition file
  • Your teacher can give you guidance on choosing your objects: you can discuss your ideas with them, and they can provide you with written feedback on your draft commentary

More support for the TOK exhibition

Make sure that your TOK teacher has given you access to all the documents and online material that support the exhibition. These include the TOK Subject Guide (for the 2022 syllabus) – where you’ll find the IA prompts, and the exhibition rubric – and the exemplar TOK exhibitions (found in ‘MyIB’, which is accessible to teachers).
 
Follow the links above to take you to the three different elements of the TOK exhibition; we’ve also created a page giving some tips on how to put on your exhibition if your school is running a public ‘exhibition day’ which you can visit here. It suggests ways of presenting ideas to an audience.
 
If your school is a member of theoryofknowledge.net, we have designed a series of lessons on the exhibition, with a three practice exhibition tasks. These will familiarize you with the IA prompts, how to select effective objects, and the assessment rubric. If you are signed into the site, you can access these lessons here.
 
You can also find out our thoughts on the TOK exhibition (and the TOK essay) in several webinars that we have delivered. The main one is the TOK Assessment 2022 webinar, but we also consider this form of assessment in our free webinars on the 2022 course. You can see these webinars on this page of the site.

FAQs about the exhibition objects

What are the TOK exhibition objects?

The TOK exhibition is based on three ‘objects’ which should allow you to demonstrate how TOK manifests itself in the real world. It is strongly recommended that you have a personal link to the objects, either from your experiences inside school, or beyond it.

Should the TOK exhibition objects be real, or can they be images of objects?

For the exhibition itself, you should try to present the actual object, although for some objects (a church, for example, or an electron microscope), this won’t be possible, so an image will do. When you upload your exhibition files, you’ll obviously include an image for each of your objects.

Where can I see examples of TOK exhibition objects?

To see examples of the kind of objects students can include, go to ‘MyIB’, and find the exemplar TOK exhibitions. We’ve also provided our own list of example objects, which you’ll find in our new BQ2 unit.

How personal should my TOK exhibition objects be?

The IB recommends that you choose objects that you have come across within your academic studies, or in your life beyond the classroom (or a combination of both). This will ensure the originality of your exhibition.

Links to the core & optional themes

Use the links below to take you to the core and optional themes. You’ll find ideas from influential thinkers, the latest real-life situations, key terms and concepts, and other content to help you create an authoritative and engaging TOK exhibition.

Your exhibition should explore either the core theme or one of the optional themes. Follow the link below to take you to knowledge & the knower.

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Your exhibition should explore either the core theme or one of the optional themes. Follow the link below to take you to indigenous societies.

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Your exhibition should explore either the core theme or one of the optional themes. Follow the link below to take you to knowledge & language.

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Your exhibition should explore either the core theme or one of the optional themes. Follow the link below to take you to knowledge & politics.

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Your exhibition should explore either the core theme or one of the optional themes. Follow the link below to take you to knowledge & religion.

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Technology

Your exhibition should explore either the core theme or one of the optional themes. Follow the link below to take you to knowledge & technology.

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Get real with TOK by subscribing to the newsletter

Step into the real and unpackaged world by subscribing to our unique monthly TOK newsletter. You’ll receive links to great media sources from all over the world that place the TOK themes and areas of knowledge into an authentic context.

You’ll meet great thinkers and ideas, hone your understanding of key TOK concepts, and build up a library of examples for the essay and exhibition. Subscribe HERE!