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Here and Elsewhere

Thought Adventure 41 This is not only a curriculum topic (at the time of writing), it is also a topical topic, and, in my experience in schools in South East London, one that has special significance for the children I have run this session with, many of them being immigrants – or the children of immigrants – themselves. Equ...

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

Subjects: Humanities

Themes: Tourism, Migration, Identity, Holidays

Here's a Thought

Write the following question on a piece of paper, whiteboard or IWB (interactive whiteboard): Is there a thought on this piece of paper [or whiteboard or IWB etc.]? Nested Questions: What is a thought? Where are thoughts? How are thoughts created? Where do thoughts that aren’t being thought about go? Where is William Sh...

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

Subjects: Metaphysics

Themes: Thinking, Mind/Brain


Edward Colston 120 years ago, a statue of Edward Colston was erected in Bristol. Underneath there was an inscription: “Erected by citizens of Bristol as a memorial of one of the most virtuous and wise sons of their city.”  Colston was a wealthy man and he gave a lot of money away to build schools, hospitals and houses for t...

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

Subjects: Ethics, Epistemology, Aesthetics

Themes: Politics, Justice, Black History Month, Art

Honest Sa'id

Before beginning Honest Sa’id it is a good idea to ask the class what the five senses are and whether they can list them. It is sometimes thought that a sixth sense, which Avicenna had overlooked, is proprioception (relative position), and possibly a seventh, interoception (awareness of such things as pain, hunger and the movement of inter...

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

Themes: Knowledge, Thinking

Identity and Expression

This session was created by Tanga Wanda, for use with older groups.  Exploring themes to do with trans- identities, the first section is on gender, the second section is on race.  Motivated by thoughts on when something is or is not a hate crime.   hate crime (noun): a crime motivated by racial, sexual, or other prejudi...

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

Subjects: Metaphysics, Language and Meaning, Ethics

Themes: Identity, Choice, Change

In another class - thinking about identity, vagueness and sets

This session began life as an extension activity to The Ship of Theseus session (see The If Machine p. 86) but has now developed into a session in it’s own right. It’s a good get-up-and-do session. Equipment needed and preparation: space, a class of children Starting age: 8 years Key concepts / vocabulary: change, identity, ...

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

Subjects: Metaphysics

Themes: Identity, Difference, Change, Borderline, Black-and-White-Thinking, At what point

Inbetweeny Bits

From The Numberverse by Andy Day Do: Put a number line on the floor. Or you could lay it out on tables and all gather round. Just make sure there are some big spaces between the numbers. Children may have comments before you even start, just from what they have seen so far. Hear them out in case you can use them as a starting point. Before...

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

Subjects: Maths

Themes: Number line, Fractions

Is it a Lie?

Stimulus: By Steven Hoggins Jeff (the children chose the names) is playing ball outside and kicks it through a window. The owner comes out and says: "Did you break my window?" Jeff responds with, “no." Task Questions:  Did Jeff lie? What makes it a lie/not a lie? The children talked abo...

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

Subjects: Metaphysics

Themes: Truth & Falsity, Memory, Meaning, Language

Is it wrong to...

Here's a shockingly simple way, thought up by David Birch to generate some intriguing and unusual ethical questions for a provocative discussion - created by chance.   Method Take two hats and put six cards with nouns in one hat, six verbs in another.  Then place something on the floor with the following written ...

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

Subjects: Language and Meaning, Ethics

Themes: Rights, Freedom, Defence, Choice, Beliefs

Joan of Arc

Stimulus Hundreds of years ago, there was a thing called the Hundred Years War. It was a struggle between two countries: England and France. The English had land in France that they wanted to keep, and they wanted to take more land, maybe even the whole of France. The French fought to win back the land that the English. Over the hundred ...

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

Subjects: RE