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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

Playing With Dolls

An original two-minute play by Darby Smith. Revised by Paul Bodin. (NOTE:  Student 1 should be acted by a girl, and Student 2 should be acted by a boy.  Fill in the names of people <inside special brackets> before performing the play.) For information on how to use this play in the classroom, take a look at Pete's ...

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

Subjects: Humanities, Ethics

Themes: Identity, Difference, Choice, Beliefs

Star Trekking

The Philosophy This is one of a themed number of sessions on personal identity. In this session the children will consider, philosophically, a familiar device used in many science-fiction stories in which teleportation is a reality. It is similar to the clone session, Yous On Another Planet, but with a significant difference as it is not left...

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

Subjects: Metaphysics

Themes: Identity

Tadpole's Promises

A tadpole and a caterpillar fall in love. “Promise me you’ll never change” asks the caterpillar. The tadpole says “I promise.” But will he keep his promise? Can he keep his promise? And what will happen if he does change? Task Questions: Did the tadpole break his promise? Did the tadpole change? Is ...

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

Subjects: Ethics

Themes: Identity, Change, Promise keeping

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 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 Cow that laid an egg (book needed)

Marjorie is sad, she doesn’t feel special. And then one day, she wakes up... it looks like she’s laid an egg? But what’s inside? Cow’s don’t usually lay eggs... Stimulus You will need the book 'The Cow That Laid An Egg' by Andy Cutbill. Read the story, getting children to join in with various actio...

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

Subjects: Metaphysics

Themes: Life, Identity

The Philosophical Adventures of Pencil Person

These sessions may well blend into each other as there is a good deal of overlap with the ideas. For instance, if the discussion in Meet Pencil Person turns towards the distinction between types and individual things then run Pencil Person Meets Pencil Person to help focus this. Introducing Pencil Person Props: four (or eight) pencils, a b...

Ages: All | All

Subjects: Metaphysics

Themes: Parts and wholes, Mereology, Identity

The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Ice cream exploration

Eric starts his life as an egg, that hatches into a caterpillar. He’s hungry and eats a lot! Then he’s much bigger. He makes himself a cocoon and then out comes a big beautiful butterfly. Task Questions: Is the egg Eric? Is the little caterpillar Eric? Is the big caterpillar Eric? Is the cocoon Eric? Is the butte...

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

Subjects: Metaphysics

Themes: Change, Identity, Sense