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The Philosophy This session goes very well with 'Get Stuffed: Fun With Metaphysics' in The If Machine. Get Stuffed should be run after this one. This may also take a couple of sessions to complete. The aim of this session is to get them to consider whether there is one kind of thing or stuff, or many kinds of thing or stuff. Begin by ...

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

Subjects: Metaphysics

Themes: Categories

Tabby Is A Cat

The Philosophy This session was designed to focus specifically on logic. There was a class who would agree to logically inconsistent statements without realising it (eg. 'Is it possible to think of nothing?' 'No' Did you think of nothing? 'Yes'). So the children are asked to say which sentences are consistent. In ...

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

Subjects: Logic

Themes: Truth & Falsity

The Ant & The Grasshopper

Thinking about work, desert and welfare Session by Peter Worley. This session exemplifies how to critically engage your class with traditional stories that have a clear moral message. You could stop the story before the grasshopper speaks and have two children dramatise the scene, anticipating what they think the characters will say. And/o...

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

Subjects: Ethics

Themes: Rights, Fairness, Deserving , Decision-making, Classification

The Big Number

The Philosophy This session needs a little bit of general knowledge – that is why it is KS2, but half the fun is how the children try to apply their limited general knowledge to solve the problem. There are two basic issues. The first is whether 'facts' about the world expressed in numbers are literally true. The second is wheth...

Ages: Ages 7-11 (KS2)

Subjects: Epistemology

Themes: Numbers, Identity, Evidence

The Big Red Button

Thinking about Risk and Responsibility Session by Peter Worley. The emphasis throughout this lesson plan is on risk and responsibility, however you may want to include a discussion around self control and desire. If so, during the first enquiry (around TQ1) have the class explore how much they want (or would want) to press the button and h...

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

Subjects: Ethics, Epistemology

Themes: Self-control, Responsibility, Knowledge

The Boy and the Traffic Lights

Stimulus 1 The aim of this session is to get the children to consider the conditions under which a causal connection can be said to be the case. Describe a scenario where a boy (or girl) is staring at some traffic lights and when they ask him what he is doing he says that he able to change traffic lights just by staring at them. He says he...

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

Subjects: Metaphysics

Themes: Causation

The Boy With No Name

The story of The Boy With No Name is written to be interactive. The children can be engaged as it goes along so I have placed Task Questions at the points where I generally ask my audience questions. They are only suggestions, so you may not want to ask them all in one telling. This story also includes a joke which even very young children seem ...

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

Themes: Identity

The Butterfly Dream

The Philosophy There is a view in philosophy known as epistemological scepticism in which it is held that we cannot know anything for certain. There are a number of arguments for why this is the case that have issued from sceptical voices over the thousands of years this has been debated. One of these arguments is known as the 'dreaming a...

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

Subjects: Epistemology

Themes: Scepticism, Reality, Knowledge

The Castaway

BACKGROUND This session is about an issue that comes up in the philosophy of law. One problem for philosophers of law is why some bad things are against the law and some are not. So it is bad to invite someone out for a date and then stand them up. But no-one thinks it should be against the law. But if someone invited me out for a date and di...

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

Subjects: RE

The Cat That Barked

Dialogues have a long relationship with thinking. Probably the most famous philosophical dialogues were those written by Plato approximately 2500 years ago, though the genre has been found even earlier with the Sumerian Disputations and the Indian Vedas. Almost all of Plato’s philosophical writing was written in this form. The word dialogu...

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

Subjects: Language and Meaning

Themes: Language, Meaning