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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

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

Kant's Box

Stimulus: Imagine a box. Now imagine emptying the box. The aim is to have nothing in it at all. Task Question: Do you think this would be possible? The methodology of the facilitator is that whenever someone introduces something that is still there you anchor them by saying ‘ok, lets remove that to, have we finally emptied it ...

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

Subjects: Metaphysics

Themes: Space & Time, Kant, A priori concepts

Lucy Looks for a Real Number

Stimulus: It’s Lucy’s birthday and today she has turned 10. She has finally reached the age of her favourite number: the number 10. She has decided that she wants to try and find a real number 10 so that she can keep it forever. Lucy thinks to herself ‘… Mmm, where am I going to find a number 10?’ She think...

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

Subjects: Metaphysics

Themes: Numbers

Nobody's Home (The Cyclops)

Philosophy On first glance, this story appears to be the least yielding when it comes to finding philosophy for discussion. But take a closer look and the philosophy starts to materialise from nothing. I say 'materialise from nothing' because I have found the most successful philosophical discussion emerging from this session to be ab...

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

Subjects: Metaphysics

Themes: Sense and reference, Non-existent entities, Existence, Categories

None the number

The Hueys are counting things, but when they realise that the number of pieces of cheese over there is ‘none’, they start to wonder, if none is a number or not? Task Questions: Is none a number? Is zero a number? Is zero the same as none? Is nothing, something or nothing? Is none the same as nothing? Extensi...

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

Subjects: Language and Meaning, Metaphysics

Themes: Existence, Identity, Numbers

Pen Person

Resources 4 pens (pen person’s arms) A small sandwich box (pen person’s body) A ball (pen person’s head) Key controversies What makes you a person? Can you be a person without certain things (limbs, for example) Starter sit children in a circle One by one draw the objects out of a bag and ask a c...

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

Subjects: Metaphysics

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

Phunny Phone?

Phunny Phone? Take a smart phone with an ‘intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator’ function such as ‘Siri’. Ask Siri to tell a joke. You could do this more than once. Task Question: Is Siri funny? Nested Questions What is ‘funny’? What makes someone funny? Can or co...

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

Subjects: Metaphysics

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

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