P4C Activity: The Eatometer

To follow last week’s “Freedom?” poem, here’s a P4C activity exploring the connected concept of “control” in relation to food – The Eatometer. If you used the poem, you may find they reference that discussion – a community of enquiry noticing its own “history”.

The Stimulus

Like all –ometers, pupils arrange cards in an order. This time, it’s from what they can control the most, to what they can control the least. To download, click the image below.




I designed this during a two-day stay at Elmwood Primary School in Oldham. The Year 3 topic was the superbly named ‘Scrumdiddlyumptious!’ and I wanted to demonstrate an –ometer to complement it. This could be used for any topic or unit of work involving food. The feast scene in the first Harry Potter book, for example!

Facilitation tips

Put pupils into groups of 3-4 and give each a set of the Eatometer, ideally with each set being a different colour, as pictured below. Encourage groups to think about one card at a time and to what extent they can control it. This leads to more thoughtful reflection than if they scatter cards and arrange them all at once.

Encourage them to talk about ‘situations’ from their everyday experiences. This helps them practise giving examples and counter-examples and may lead to changing of minds and departures from their initial thinking.

Ask groups to ensure that everyone’s views are considered. For example, if one member has a dietary requirement which means they don’t feel in control of something, that something may need to be moved down the control spectrum.

One of their challenges is to work out if there is anything they feel they all have control over. It’s likely to cause disagreement and can form the beginning of a longer enquiry. For example, at Elmwood, pupils discussed the extent to which they controlled how they eat in the school canteen, citing personal freedom, societal norms and threat of teacher sanctions among their reasons.

Where next?

You might wish to explore wider questions prompted by the cards. For example:

How much can we control what we like?
Can we control what we give more than what we take?
When is it OK to refuse food?

We always enjoy reading ‘match-reports’ of how your enquiries went, and often use them to advise others in future. If you give this one a go and have five minutes to share your class’ experience, just reply to this email to give us feedback.

Best wishes,



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