40 Lessons to get Children Thinking


"This is the type of book many teachers will keep on their desk and use the exercises very regularly; for me it is up there with Geoff Petty’s ‘Evidence-Based Teaching’ and Paul Ginnis’s ‘The Teacher’s Toolkit’ as an essential resource." 

Francis Gilbert teacher & author 'I'm A Teacher Get Me Out Of Here', 'The Last Day Of Term' & various study guides. 

Peter Worley's new 'If' book is an A4 collection of practical lesson and activity plans to use in the primary classroom to get children thinking philosophically and creatively around different curriculum areas and topics. The sessions use thought experiments, stories and poetry to get children discussing and understanding topics more deeply.

It is a 'pick up and go' resource, with each session explained in a consistent step-by-step format so that they are easy for any primary teacher to implement in the classroom either as a whole lesson or as an activity within another lesson. All the sessions are tried and tested by Peter and his colleagues at the Philosophy Foundation who work with primary schools to implement these sessions on a regular basis.

Buy a copy of '40 Lessons to get Children Thinking' from our online shop for £14.99 

Once Upon an If: The Storythinking Handbook

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Once Upon an If was shortlisted for the Education Resources Award, Educational Book 2014 and was awarded the Bronze Prize for Primary Teacher Update's Annual Awards 2014.

 "The Philosophy Foundation has a track record of producing a kind of book that’s in short supply: truly innovative contemporary guides to teaching critical and creative thinking to children. Peter Worley’s Once Upon an If: The Storythinking Handbook – a companion to The If Machine and The If Odyssey – is a valuable addition to an exemplary series of books. It further equips teachers to facilitate philosophical enquiry in the classroom, using stories as a springboard for exploring challenging ideas."

Michelle Sowey, Co-Founder and Director ofThe Philosophy Club

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“Peter's book almost hijacked my day. Week. I resisted the multiple temptations of the contents pages...Sort of. It was a challenge: sections full of shiny things calling out, "Read me! Try me out! Have a think about me!”

Mike Fleetham, Education consultant and creator of thinkingclassroom.co.uk

  • If you want to tell more stories in the classroom but lack the confidence to do so...
  • If you need guidance finding stories that are good to get students thinking...
  • If you like using stories in your teaching but want to get more from them than the moral at the end...

Once Upon an If, (awarded Bronze in the 2014 Primary Teacher Update awards and Educational Book of the Year Finalist), is the book for you.

Oral storytelling is a powerful medium for inspiring children's imaginations, and using stories for thinking through enquiry encourages their critical engagement with the stories, whilst developing speaking and listening skills.

Once Upon an If is a complete handbook to the art of bringing a story to life and engaging young minds with big ideas through storytelling.

From the award-winning author of The If Machine and The If OdysseyOnce Upon an If draws upon over 10 years of experience as a philosophy teacher, trainer and storyteller to help any teacher place stories and storytelling, both practically and theoretically, back at the heart of teaching. 

Once Upon an If also comprises a treasury of stories, new and old, written especially to get young audiences thinking actively about the deeper issues that lie behind and within the stories. Guidance notes, lesson plans and questions are included with every story, which has been tried and tested in the classroom.

There is also a companion website containing resources for teachers to use on the interactive whiteboard which can be found at www.bloomsbury.com. Additional material to accompany the book can also be found on the links on the left of the screen: Thinking in Pictures is a list of picture books, themes and questions and More Stories to Think With is a list of stories with suggested themes. Both are documents that will grow over time, which is why they are an online resource rather than in the book itself.

“'Tell me a story!' is a perennial plea and we are all of us the richer for that. This book shows clearly why.”

Anne Fine, second Children's Laureate

Order Once Upon an If here for only £17.99 (RRP £19.99)

The If Odyssey

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The If Odyssey was shortlisted for the Education Resources Award, Educational Book 2013 and was awarded the Bronze Prize for Primary Teacher Update's Annual Awards 2013.

"This splendid book by Peter Worley offers excellent material to help teachers introduce philosophical dialogue in their classes. Worley presents a good classic story, adapted to our time while remaining faithful to the original text, and suggests a multitude of activities and didactic orientations. It is one of the most useful books I've ever read."

Félix García Moriyón. President of the International Council of Philosophy with children

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"This imaginative journey through the events of Homer's Odyssey will delight and engage children and adults in a philosophical adventure. Worley offers a masterful guide, providing rich philosophical questions and a clearly outlined method to support teachers in nurturing creative and critical thinking in their students. He has interwoven ethics, theory of knowledge, metaphysics, social philosophy, aesthetics into a narrative 'odyssey', using the iconic story of the human search for truth, beauty and goodness. I can easily see this text being adopted in elementary, secondary and even college level."

Wendy C. Turgeon, Associate Professor of Philosophy, St. Joseph's College, New York, USA

"Anything that inspires people to think and to understand how to think is a great boon. This book is just such a boon, and a great addition to the Worley assault on unthinkingness."

A. C. Grayling, Master of the New College of the Humanities

The If Odyssey: A Philosophical Journey Through Greek Myth and Storytelling for 8 - 16-Year-Olds, uses Homer’s classic Odyssey to introduce children to Philosophy, by drawing out the intellectual puzzles that lie behind many of the episodes in Odysseus’ long voyage home after the Trojan Wars. It is a fantastic way to introduce children not only to these exciting fables but also to that other great Ancient Greek legacy for world culture, Philosophy.

The book, following in the same pattern as its groundbreaking predecessor The If Machine: Philosophical Enquiry in the Classroom [Bloomsbury Education, 2011]), is perfect for teachers wanting to introduce Philosophy into their classroom and to explore Ancient Greek language, myth and culture.

Few feel comfortable telling the stories of Greek myth in their unexpurgated form, arguing that they express values at odds with our own. But this unique teaching resource sets out to prove their value and relevance as a rich source of philosophical ideas. Concepts explored in The If Odyssey include the value of happiness, just-war theory, non-existent entities, moral dilemmas, what is prophecy, the nature of love, free-will, heroism, personal identity, and more besides. The book sets out session plans and includes tips on storytelling skills to bring The Odyssey to life and stimulate independent, critical thinking with children (8-16). The book also has workshops on the Ancient Greek language and how it relates to our own. An online section enhances the book with dialogues that help the children explore the philosophy behind the sessions themselves, maps of Odysseus’ journey, a poem called ‘The Words of Tiresias’ that offers clues to Odysseus’ progress and Ancient Greek language worksheets.

Invaluable as a resource for Matthew Lipman’s P4C ‘Community of Enquiry’ method trained teachers, as well as for teachers or Philosophers trained in The Philosophy Foundations proprietary PhiE teaching method, the book is also perfect for teachers who want to introduce some Philosophy in to their classroom and for intellectually curious youngsters everywhere.

“Brilliantly thought-provoking, The If Odyssey hooks you from the start and draws you in as cleverly, compellingly and seemingly effortlessly as if it had been put together by the ‘wily’ Odysseus himself. This is philosophy at its most approachable.”

David Stuttard, writer and classical historian, author of Power Games

“Using the adventures of Odysseus as the basis for my classes' exploration of philosophy was a masterstroke. From the first session exploring the language of Ancient Greece through to the last, my class were engaged and motivated during debates. The children have no doubt benefited from immersing themselves in the myths, language and history of this bygone culture.”

Tom Weddell, Year 5 teacher John Ball Primary School, Lewisham, South London

Order The If Odyssey here for a discounted rate of £15.99 (RRP £17.99)

The If Machine: Philosophical Enquiry in the Classroom

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Bestselling book, The If Machine is a rich resource of ‘guided philosophy sessions’ containing many stories, both original and classic, aimed at developing higher-order thinking through the activity of philosophy. Many of the stories are based on classic philosophical thought experiments but have been re-written in order to make them accessible to children in primary and early secondary school. The stories have a series of accompanying questions that have been tried and tested in the classroom with a wide variety of age groups. There is also instruction and guidance on how to approach doing philosophy in the classroom based on years of experience of running and devising philosophy sessions.

The overall aim of the book is to provide teachers with a thorough list of strategies for encouraging higher-order thinking in their students that can be used in any education setting, and to realise the philosophical potential of primary school age children introducing them to the practice of real philosophy and the kind of thinking that philosophy engenders.

Download free sample chapters

Order The If Machine here for a discounted rate of £16.99 (RRP £18.99)

The Numberverse

The Numberverse

"A ‘How To’ guide with a difference. This book allows me as an experienced teacher a fascinating insight into the world of maths and practical ways to help children truly understand the abstract nature of this subject."

Kirstin Fisher, Assistant Head Teacher, Ravenscroft Primary School

The Numberverse addresses the conceptual development of number and shows how to build firm foundations in maths - ideal for use by primary and secondary teachers (of children aged 7-13 years old) or parents who want to inspire their children, but perhaps never enjoyed maths themselves.

"This book reminds us that it is not enough to teach the basic of mathematics, but also to ask why it exists and what a world without it may be like. I believe that by understanding why something exists or was created, we are further drawn into a subject. It is not just a case of knowing your times tables, but understanding the needs that led to their creation. The more we understand why, the more we are drawn into the adventure of learning."

Foreword by Robin Ince, comedian, actor, writer and co-presenter of The Infinite Monkey Cage

Read more about The Numberverse here.

Buy a copy of The Numberverse from our online shop for £14.99

Provocations, Philosophy in Secondary Schools


"Beautifully written, clearly presented, and drawing from a wide and rich range of original sources, this is a superb resource for secondary school teachers keen to encourage independent, bold and creative thinking from their students (and perhaps give their own critical faculties a tickle, while they’re at it...)."

Reviewed by Helen Mulley, Editor, Teach Secondary Magazine

"This book is a superb provocation to philosophy itself...It should be in every schoolroom, and every teacher’s hands, as an instrument that will transform students’ interest and capacity across the whole range not just of their studies but their lives."

From the Foreword by AC Grayling

Read more about Provocations here

Buy Provocations here for only £14.99

The Philosophy Shop


"The Philosophy Shop is on a mission to bring philosophy into our schools. This book brilliantly shows how accessible philosophy is, and how fun and mind-expanding it can be, for any ages."

Jules Evans, author of Philosophy for Life and Other Dangerous Situations.


Find out more about The Philosophy Shop 

Order The Philosophy Shop at a discounted rate of £19.99 (RRP £22.99)

Thoughtings: Puzzles, Problems and Paradoxes in Poetry to Think With


"This may look like a book - but in fact, it's a portal; a gateway into the boundless possibilities of the mind's perspectives, and stepping through it in the company of your pupils could enrich both your experience of their learning and theirs immeasurably."

Helen Mulley, Teach Primary Magazine, Issue 6.8

"This collection of poems is very, very irritating. It's irritating like having toast crumbs in your bed. It's irritating like having toast crumbs in your brain..."

Michael Rosenpoet and former Children's Laureate writes in the Foreword.

Find out more about Thoughtings

Order Thoughtings: Puzzles, Problems and Paradoxes in Poetry to Think With for a discounted rate of £12.99 (RRP £14.99)