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STIMULUS There was once a poor farmer. He was always struggling to get enough food. One winter, he was left with just one chicken. If the chicken laid an egg the farmer would eat that day, and if it didn’t, he went hungry. Desperate, he went to a neighbour who was very religious and asked for advice. The neighbour told him: ‘Do...

Ages: Ages 14-16 (KS4), Ages 11-14 (KS3), Ages 7-11 (KS2)

Subjects: RE

Promises Promises

By Oliver Leech The Philosophy This session introduces an old chestnut from the repertoire of ethical problems. Traditionally, the story draws attention to the distinction between a deontological response (there is a duty to keep promises no matter what the consequences) and a utilitarian approach (the right course of action is that which ...

Ages: Ages 7-11 (KS2)

Subjects: Ethics

Themes: Utilitarianism, Deontology

Recipe for 1 Human: Ingredients

By Tim Beardmore-Gray Background to session This enquiry was written for a Yr5 class that had lead a previous enquiry into exploring the EQ: “What features would a robot have to have in order to be a real human?” They had expressed a desire to explore this further the following week. Engagement was a given and we could dive qui...

Ages: Ages 11-14 (KS3), Ages 7-11 (KS2)

Subjects: Metaphysics, Humanities, Ethics, Epistemology

Themes: Knowledge, Existence, Classification , Being/non-being

Republic Island - Economics

Designed by Melina Lafirenze This enquiry was written as an extension activity for the Republic Island enquiry (from The If Machine) but it was easily long enough for a full session and could possibly run over two sessions for younger groups. Stimulus On the island there is a lake full of fish. Though they are plentiful the fish are rea...

Ages: Ages 16-18 (KS5), Ages 14-16 (KS4), Ages 11-14 (KS3), Ages 7-11 (KS2), Ages 5-7 (KS1)

Subjects: Ethics

Themes: Politics

Rulers - thinking about knowledge and stealing

Thought Adventure no. 20 Equipment needed and preparation: A standard classroom ruler and a less standard, more unique looking item(s). Starting age: 5 years Key concepts / vocabulary: steal, find, borrow, know, intention, property, ownership, permission Subject links: PSHE and all knowledge-based subjects Key controversies: Wh...

Ages: Ages 7-11 (KS2), Ages 5-7 (KS1)

Subjects: Science , RE, Maths, Ethics, Epistemology, English

Themes: Knowledge

Saving Yourself

The Philosophy The question philosophers are interested in when it comes to time travel stories is whether or not time travel is possible. There are two sides to this question: the scientific and the logical. The scientific side is about whether the technology will one day allow for time travel, in the same way that technology has allowed for...

Ages: Ages 16-18 (KS5), Ages 14-16 (KS4), Ages 11-14 (KS3), Ages 7-11 (KS2)

Subjects: Metaphysics

Themes: Space & Time, Change

Ship of Friends

The aim of this lesson is for the children to practise their thinking using the topic of friendship. Perhaps most importantly, friendship is an important concept for all young people. They think a lot about who their friends really are and what being a friend means. So this poem works well to get a discussion going that includes everyone, regard...

Ages: Ages 7-11 (KS2)

Subjects: English

Themes: Language, Friendship


Warm up question: What is an apology? Make a concept map around the word ‘apology’  Zidane Read the following extract from BBC Sport: Zinedine Zidane has apologized for his headbutt on Italian defender Marco Materazzi in Sunday’s World Cup final But the French legend does not regret his actions, alleging on ...

Ages: Ages 14-16 (KS4), Ages 11-14 (KS3), Ages 7-11 (KS2)

Subjects: Ethics

Spiders and Perseverance

Key ideas Perseverance - is it a good thing?   Stimulus This version is for younger years, Reception to year 3 or thereabouts Tell the children the story of Incy Wincy spider (they should know it and will probably start joining in) Incy the spider climbed up the water spout and nearly got to the top when all of a sudden, t...

Ages: Ages 7-11 (KS2), Ages 5-7 (KS1), Ages 3-5 (EYFS)

Subjects: Ethics

Themes: Self-control, Decision-making


Session This session will invite the children to devise their own storytelling techniques and will explore the concept of ‘story’ itself. Explain to the children that that they will be given a special task this week: to tell a story to someone else (works well for National Storytelling Week, usually end of January). Explain that t...

Ages: Ages 14-16 (KS4), Ages 11-14 (KS3), Ages 7-11 (KS2)

Subjects: English

Themes: Storytelling, Literacy