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The Diary

Do: Begin by reading the following scenario to the class: Your best friend visits you and asks you to look after their personal diary for one week because they are going away and they don’t want anyone to read it. You are asked not to read it yourself. ‘Do you promise?’ your friend asks. Task Question Will you take ...

Ages: Ages 7-11 (KS2)

Subjects: Ethics

Themes: Self-control, Promise keeping, Free will

The Donkey

BACKGROUND There are many versions of this story throughout history and across the world. It may go back as far as the Greeks in one for or another. The first version we have is from the 13th C poet scholar Ibn Said. The story was picked up and circulated by Europeans over the centuries. All the different versions involve a man (and usuall...

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

Subjects: RE

The Experience Machine

Stimulus: Imagine there is a machine that you can attach to your head and it makes you have an experience of whatever you want so that it seems real. It’s like having a dream which you can choose that seems like real life. When you are having the experience, however, you think it’s real. The machine is called ‘the experience...

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

Subjects: Ethics, Epistemology

Themes: Well being, Self, Future, Choice, Autonomy

The Fair Well

This story takes what I call a Twilight Zone approach, inspired by the 1960s television series of the same name that delivered – what were then – popular short stories of the kind that were being published in pulp science fiction and fantasy magazines. This kind of story is often characterised by ending surpris- ingly, either with a ...

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

Themes: Fairness

The Holy Man

  BACKGROUND The belief in heaven, where we are rewarded for what we do on Earth is widespread and powerful. These days, beliefs in the afterlife vary widely. Some believe literally in what the Bible, Koran, or other holy book says heaven will be like. Others have a more vague idea that their spirit will somehow live on. Whatever the ...

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

Subjects: RE

The Lucky Necklace

Philosophy This session can either lead to the session here on causation and the post-hoc fallacy (this is a fallacy where someone has a mistaken view of what makes something happen), or you could follow the first stimulus with the Truth and Falsity session, depending on what the class say. Stimulus 1 "I can make clocks move round ...

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

Subjects: Metaphysics

Themes: Post-hoc fallacy, Causation

The Magician's Tricks Part 2: The Flying Man & The Falling Man

The Philosophy This is a slightly different session in that we are asking the children to consider an argument directly, and it is a continuation of the first Magician's Tricks stories. It is important that the first story is run so that the children are prepared for this argument. To find out more about Avicenna you can hear podcast o...

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

Subjects: Epistemology

Themes: Sense and reference, Sense, Knowledge

The Magician's Tricks: Honest Sa'id and The Magician

The Philosophy You can hear an 'In Our Time' and 'Philosophy Bites' about Avicenna here: http://philosophybites.com/2007/09/peter-adamson-o.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00855lt In a colourful career Avicenna proved the existence of god, amalgamated all known medical knowledge into one big book and establish...

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

Subjects: Epistemology

Themes: Sense and reference, Sense, Knowledge, Behaviour

The Matches

The session around this story invites the children to devise their own story- telling techniques and will allow them to explore the concept of ‘story’ itself. Explain to the children that they will be given a special task this week: to tell a story to someone else. Explain that they could tell whichever story they like but, to mak...

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

Themes: Storytelling

The Missing Etude

Stimulus Get hold of some sheet music (e.g. an Etude by Fernando Sor or a famous song) Show the class the sheet music. [Optional] Play or sing them the piece of music [if you can play an instrument or sing]. [Optional] Play them the song from an MP3 player. [Optional] If the class know the song, have them sing it. Task Question W...

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

Subjects: Metaphysics