Understanding significant figures

I'll start with a question - to how many significant figures is the number 500? What does "significant" mean? Consider the number 315 - which digit can you change which would have the least effect on the size of the number? Clearly the 5: increase or decrease it by 1, and 315 changes by 1. But move the 3 up or down 1, and the number will change by 100. So, the 3 is more "significant" than the 5 - and the further ...

Carrying out a good IA project

Have you stated your Internal Assessment(IA) yet? If you are a 'May session' school, this anytime from May of IB1 until December of IB2 seems a likely time that your school will carry this out with you and ask you to write it up. Which means that you need to get some ideas on what types of things you can investigate. However, the aim of this blog post is to give you some ideas for writing and carrying out a good ...

A Human Binary Counter

At the heart of every computer, however complex, are binary numbers - that is, numbers formed only of 0's and 1's. This is because it is easy to represent just two digits electronically: a switch can be on or off; a current can flow one way or the other; a pulse can change a stored digit from one state to the other. How does the binary system work?  When we count up to 9 in the decimal system, we've run out ...

Knowing me…

The next two blogs will focus on the nature of two aspects of personal knowledge, namely, knowledge of oneself and knowledge of others. What the psychologist Howard Gardner described as Intrapersonal and Interpersonal knowledge. Of course, the entreaty to ‘know thyself’ is an ancient one, it can be found first in Egypt and then at the heart of Socratic philosophy as well as, among others, in the writings of the Chinese philosopher, Lao Tze. The latter wrote, “mastering others is ...

Is it fake nature, or is it a story?

First, I'd like to explore the "Is it fake nature" part of my post's title: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMZlr5Gf9yY "The 1958 Disney documentary into lemmings that won the academy award. Footage of lemmings jumping off cliffs was later found out to be faked. Edited version just showing the fake footage." My guess is that most of you reading this post are not old enough to have watched the above television show when it was first broadcast in 1958.  (I will admit that I remember it vividly.  It ...

Expanding the Context – The Often Forgotten Criterion of the Listening Exam Rubric

It's the time of year to carefully plan your listening for the exam!   The often forgotten criterion from the listening paper rubric is Criteria D: Context.  Let's discuss expanding the context of each of your answers.   What is “context”? IB defines context as historical, cultural and stylistic characteristics. Here are types of contextual information: Questions that are cultural in nature are: Function of music – What was this played for? Why was it written? Nationality, location, geography – This is especially important for ...

Changing mortality in England and Wales

Better health care and improved living conditions has led to a continuing fall in mortality in England and Wales since the end of the Second World War. Between 2003 and 2013, life expectancy in England rose by 3 years for men and 2.3 years for women. Deaths among the elderly are expected to push up the mortality rate eventually, but probably not until after 2025, when many of the population reach their late 70s and 80s. However, in 2012 and ...

Last minute Physics revision!

Arguably, this is the most stressful time in the last 2 years for IB students.  Not only are the exams here, but they have a frequency that is quite scary, like dominoes toppling one immediately after the other. In addition of course, there are 6 subjects that all need the revision of 2 years of work in a short period of time.  If that was not enough, the Physics exams are even worse because they are so tough – they ...

To “Me Me Ha Me Fo Sty Co” or Not To “Me Me Ha Me Fo Sty Co?” Is That the Question?

It's the time of the year when many IB music teachers are cramming the acronym Me Me Ha Me Fo Sty Co into their students arsenal of listening paper strategies. IsMe Me Ha Me Fo Sty Co a great idea listening paper strategy or not?  While not from Hamlet's soliloquy, to be or not to be using Me Me Ha Me Fo Sty Co on the approaching IB music exam, is definitely a question worth investigating! A wise IB Music teacher invented Me Me Ha Me ...

How to approach the Philosophy examination

The Self in its Different Dimensions Spiritual Dimension: ‘the Self as Transcendent Entity’ Judeo-Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Zen, Taoism The Inner Self: ‘Who am I?’ Psychological foundations:                                                      Philosophical foundations: The Unconscious (Freud)                                                       ...