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Is it alive?

By Steve Hoggins The idea for the characters of Critu and Aris is taken from David Birch’s entries in 'The Philosophy Shop', edited by peter Worley. Ed Weijers and his colleague Eef Cornelisson, who I met through the SOPHIA network, inspired the ‘alive or not alive?’ question. Set up Gather some objects and/...

Ages: Ages 3-5 (EYFS)

Subjects: Science

Themes: Life, Classification

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


  If an alien came down and saw a box of funny coloured paper with a ribbon tied around it, would they think its special? Why when we look at these boxes do we think there must be something inside? And why do we get excited? Task Questions: Is this a present? Is this piece of rubbish I found a present? If you give me thi...

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

Subjects: Language and Meaning

Themes: Meaning, Knowledge, Classification

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

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

This is not a book!

Bring in a rectangular object, and on the front it says ‘This is not a book’. The thing is called ‘This is not a book’. So what could it be? Could it be a book? Or must it be something else? How can we find out? Task Questions: Is it a book? If it’s got pages, is it a book? If it’s not got any...

Ages: Ages 5-7 (KS1)

Subjects: Metaphysics

Themes: Classification , Reality