The Discovery -Ism Project

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Photo Credit: **Thomas Hawk**


I want you to know who you are, completely. I want you to be able to stand up to people who disagree with you, and I want you to know that you are right. I want you to enter high school with an absolute confidence that no one will be able tear down or cut through. More than anything else, I want your voice to be clear as crystal when you say, “I am me.”

I suppose that these are rather lofty goals, but I don’t believe that they are unattainable. Some of you may think that you already possess such traits: confidence, infinite knowledge of self, and well-defined principles. I don’t doubt that some of you have thought long and hard about who you are. It seems almost natural, an effortless trait that comes along with being identified Gifted and Talented. I wonder, in an ironic way, if you could be so simple-minded and devoid of personality that you find yourself with no other conclusions to come to or with no more beliefs left untested. Do you know yourself so well that your –ism is already followed as a universal life plan incapable of being refuted? If so, my apologies for having to go through this monotonous exercise of definition. I bow to your superior powers of life experience and self-knowledge.

Others of you may believe that all of your personality and life-long aspirations will just take care of themselves as time goes by. I say to you naysayers what Socrates said to a jury in Athens around 2400 years ago, “the unexamined life is not worth living.” In defending his life from the charges of heresy and sedition, Socrates told his peers that he would rather die than not think for himself and know himself. He said that if he could not do these things, the world around him was unknowable and not worth being a part of. At the very least, we should pay homage to this act of courage. This project will help you to decide which beliefs you hold so dear that you would die for them (or at least fight to keep them).

Now, lets figure out how you can live up to such a legacy.


  • The students will use the discussion tab in order to debate their ideas and the history tab to see the evolution of their ideas.
    • At least five questions will be asked of other's belief structures.
  • They will embed media to show their -Ism in different ways.
  • They will answer all of the questions in the Belief Structure (-Ism) Template.
    • You can answer them in any format you wish (podcast, text, powerpoint, standpoint belief statements, etc.), so long as the answers are clear and well labeled.
  • They will link to one another, creating a web of ideas.
    • At least three links to others' belief structures (Thus commenting on these other belief structures).
  • They will add pages explaining their thoughts, coming together and splitting from one another at times.
    • You can organize your -Ism in any way, so long as you have all of the requirements fleshed out.
  • They will adhere to the Discovery Blogging Rules, and our remixing and creative commons rules. (Use the Seal Generator in order to describe how you want your content to be used.)

Real-Time Aggregator of Discovery Beliefs

-Isms Gabbly Chat

If you would like to see a full transcript of these discussions to get some great ideas, you can go here.

Questions, Collaboration, and Support

If you have any questions about the -Isms project specifically or Mr. Wilkoff's classes in general please contact Ben Wilkoff at

We are also looking to collaborate with schools in other countries/states in future iterations of this project. We are interested in how beliefs change depending on place you call home. If you live in another country and are interested in collaborating on this project, please e-mail Ben Wilkoff at

If, on the other hand, you are interested in supporting the -Isms project in another way, I encourage you to please visit The Academy of Discovery homepage to find out more about the pedagogy behind this project.