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 that will be set with the context of an optional or core theme.
Your objects should be connected to you personally, and be things that you have encountered during your studies in school, or your life beyond the classroom. This personal link will keep the exhibition original, and prove your engagement with the course.
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.
Here are a few tips on how to choose, and how to use, effective TOK 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.
Ask a question
We’ll also be happy to respond to questions you might have on the TOK exhibition. We can’t, unfortunately, reply to all of these, but we will try our best to offer answers to the most frequently asked, and post them here. Use the contact form to get in touch.