If five people are friends, how many friendships are there?

By Jason Buckley | September 17, 2021

If five people are friends, how many friendships are there? New year and perhaps new school, so “make new friends, keep the old” has a special intensity. You might build up to the title question, starting with, “If two people are friends, how many friendships are there?”  Perhaps A’s friendship for B, B’s for A; A&B’s different…

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Thinkers’ Scavenger Hunt

By Jason Buckley | July 31, 2021

For those still at school, or for anyone running a summer school or otherwise wrangling groups of children over the summer, here’s a suggestion for a Thinkers’ Scavenger Hunt to enjoy the outdoors while being creative and puzzling. Split into groups of 4 and give each group one thing at a time to find, then they can go…

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If you free a bee from a web, are you stealing from the spider?

By Jason Buckley | July 23, 2021

Yesterday, I saw a bumble bee stuck in a spider’s web. If you free a bee from a web, are you stealing from the spider? I love bees and, more unusually, I also love spiders: you rather have to if you live on a narrowboat. The bee solved my dilemma by freeing itself, but it turns out…

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Argument Stand-Off and “Got to’s” Revisited

By Jason Buckley | July 15, 2021

This week, an argument game that gets everyone talking about questions of escalating importance. If it’s a nice day, play it outside! Also a topical twist on a tested enquiry about “got-to’s”. Argument Stand-Off Each participant needs a mini-whiteboard with pen and eraser. Stand in a circle and turn to face a partner, then one person in…

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Philosophy Outdoors: Pleased To Eat You

By Jason Buckley | June 1, 2021

I was at Charles Kingsley Primary School in Hampshire last week, on a pop-up overnight camp for Year 6. Literally pop-up in this case, as storm force winds mean the camp retreated inside the school hall with pop-up tents! Learn more about what my colleagues at Outspark and I were doing here. Having made the most of the better weather with scavenger…

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Philosophy and Mythology: The If Odyssey

By Tugce Buyukugurlu | May 14, 2021

This month and probably next, our online classes are using The If Odyssey by Peter Worley, a philosophy-mythology fusion mining the exploits of Odysseus with the Trojan Horse, the Lotus Eaters, the Cyclops and so on for compelling questions.  The book both “give you some fish” in the form of sessions an experienced P4Cer can just pick up and run…

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History-Debate-Philosophy Mash-up

By Jason Buckley | April 30, 2021

This week, an example of an approach that fuses history, philosophy and debating. You start with an in-role debate set at a particular moment in history, with participants on opposing sides, and then switch to a more general, philosophical question with people speaking as their true selves. I’ve experimented with groups from 6-8 up to…

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Victorian Advice for Good Children

By Jason Buckley | April 23, 2021

My homeschooler classes at have restarted, and my Philosophy Explorers (aged 6-8) requested that we time-travel to Victorian times. I used an activity created by Lucy Baker, a teacher at Derby High School, back in 2014 when I did a Victorian Adventure day there. Someone is making a compendium of the advice given to children at that time, and…

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New resource on the ethics of climate change

By Jason Buckley | April 16, 2021

This week, a link to a new resource on the ethics of climate change developed by fellow P4C practitioner Lukasz Krzywon ( with Green-Schools Ireland.  The Ethics of Climate Change Ethics of Climate Change Toolkit – A Classroom Enquiry explores moral problems related to climate change using critical, collaborative, and creative thinking. “The idea behind the…

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P4C from Pandemic to Infodemic

By Jason Buckley | April 8, 2021

Some of us will have touched on the coronavirus pandemic in our P4C. We’ve shared a few thoughts on philosophising about the topic (TLDR: don’t shove it down their throats; let them opt-in instead) and also sent plenty of bulletins about facilitating within the restrictions – find them all on our blog.  Regardless of what we try, it’s super important that children…

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The Attitude to Gratitude: Five Gifts of Hathor

By Jason Buckley | March 30, 2021

This week, a musing on gratitude inspired by an Ancient Egyptian rite called “The Five Gifts of Hathor”. Hathor was a goddess of the sky, fertility and agriculture. To ward off ingratitude, which was seen as the gateway sin to anger and rebellion, initiates were asked to look at their left hand and associate each digit…

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Speedy Question Generators for Lively Dialogue

By Jason Buckley | March 22, 2021

Wellbeing has been much talked about lately, and talk is an important part of wellbeing. It’s more important than ever to overcome the barriers children experience to talk, so it’s a good time to emphasise engagement and participation.  Here are three levels of Argumentators that you can use to create an enormous number of questions. Before…

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Who Owns Ideas: The Case of the Monkey Selfie

By Jason Buckley | March 12, 2021

This week’s theme in my online philosophy classes has been about the ownership of ideas. A particularly compelling example has been that of photographer David Slater and the “monkey selfie”. With my 6-8 yr old Philosophy Explorers we travelled back in time to see the photo being taken! A session plan is attached. Another stimulus included is…

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When is a Question not a Question?

By Jason Buckley | March 3, 2021

When is a Question not a Question? This is an interesting question for exploring meaning and language, in particular the difference between the literal meaning of what is said and how it is used or understood. Rhetorical questions, sarcastic questions, asking oneself a question are all possible answers. As, often, are utterances finishing with “isn’t it”, “aren’t they” etc.…

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The Baboon on the Moon, Grudge Match, and Room on the Zoom

By Jason Buckley | February 17, 2021

This week, a stimulus that raises some themes that might be of interest, and an argument game that I have found excellent for promoting engagement on Zoom. Also, continued by popular demand, we add new dates for the Zoom for P4C Teachers sessions, please check our online shop for the latest dates. The Baboon on…

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P4C Stimulus: The Wishing Circle

By Jason Buckley | February 4, 2021

This week, a circular story, a philosophical exercise and a few comments that all connect to the stoic practice of negative visualisation, which is a much more positive thing than it sounds! The Story A homeless man sat on the street with his dog. He saw a woman leaving her house and thought, “I wish…

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Philosophy of dogs

By Jason Buckley | January 29, 2021

The other week, we suggested using physical things from around the house to make philosophy on Zoom feel more connected. So to kick off a session this week, we asked students to grab an object that has helped them get through January so far. We had books, cuddly toys, and a fair share of bemused-looking dogs.…

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Lockdown Philosophy-at-home Project

By Jason Buckley | January 22, 2021

David Birch @0davidbirch0 suggested I share an extract from his book, Thinking Beans, which provides a ready-to-go philosophical homework project for lockdown. It is so rich in ideas, you could probably split it into multiple missions over several weeks. A brief intro is below. You can download an extract with plenty to work with and, if you wish,…

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Zoom Philosophy Tips and Events

By Jason Buckley | January 12, 2021

I now do 18-20 hours of student Zoom classes most weeks, lockdown or not. You might find yourself doing more video lessons too as we check back in to phase 4, code red, apocalypse lite or whatever your national designation is. To help, I’m running some mate’s rates Zoom philosophy sessions for teachers on Thursday 14th January, with two sittings,…

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P4C: The Ethics of Time

By Jason Buckley | December 15, 2020

“I wasted time, and now doth time waste me;” Shakespeare, Richard II. (V.5.49) “It’s your own time you’re wasting.” Innumerable teachers (esp. before lunch)  Ten Questions about Time Can your time be someone else’s? If you own your own time, is it yours to waste? Can you buy time? In what ways is and isn’t…

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Philosophy Explorers

By Jason Buckley | December 8, 2020

This week, I wanted to share a scattering of the planets and islands we have been visiting at Philosophy Explorers, my online groups for 6-8 year olds. Some will work perfectly well with older students. You can book the courses at There are both daytime and after-school slots for 9-12 and teens in philosophy, improv and…

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P4C: If you could ask an object a question…

By Thomas Bigglestone | November 30, 2020

Prince Charles once admitted to talking to his plants and comedian Miranda Hart struck a chord with thousands in April when she tweeted that “it is absolutely normal, and to be encouraged, when you find yourself talking to objects. I just said ‘thank you, you are really good at what you do’ to a hoover.” It’s…

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World Philosophy Day: Questions for Anybody?

By Jason Buckley | November 18, 2020

World Philosophy Day is Thursday 19th November. That got me thinking about the idea that philosophy is about ultimate questions that anyone, anywhere in the world might ask at anytime. A common technique used in question generation is to say that a good philosophical question “Would make sense to someone who had just walked into…

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Always Look on the Bright Side of Life?

By Jason Buckley | November 17, 2020

This week’s blogpost is a dialogue between teenagers about the tedium of lockdown. They discuss different approaches to comparing your situation with others, and to “positive thinking”.  The philosophical crux of the dialogue is this exchange (bold in the PDF): TIM        You’re always in charge of yourself. So, it’s up to you how you think.LUCY  …

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Just Deserts

By Jason Buckley | November 11, 2020

Whether you’re waking up to a new lockdown, or having to carry on as if there isn’t one, being marooned on a desert island like the characters in this story is unusually appealing at the moment. I’ve been using it as part of a session about punishments and rewards at this week. There’s a philosophical question…

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No Place Like Utopia

By Jason Buckley | October 30, 2020

This week’s blog post is about the concept of “utopia”. I’ve run this session with youngsters and adults at and it features in the November programme for Here is some context and key questions. A utopia means a perfect world. It comes from the book, Utopia, written in 1516 by Sir Thomas More, who was Lord Chancellor (most important official)…

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P4C: Can you own a river?

By Thomas Bigglestone | October 22, 2020

A mirror, a path, a tree. Born held tight, dying free. …was a riddle featured in last week’s bulletin. Did your students get it? The answer was, “river”. Close up, you can see your reflection in it. Boats can use it as a path. From above, or on a map, the tributaries feed into it…

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Outdoor Stimuli for P4C

By Jason Buckley | October 14, 2020

As well as being a good place to do philosophy for children (especially with COVID in mind), the outdoors is a rich source of stimuli for enquiry. I split my time between philosophy and outdoor education, so this issue contains some suggestions for outdoor enquiries and some invitations to bring outdoor education to your school,…

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P4C: When should we put others’ needs before our own?

By Thomas Bigglestone | October 1, 2020

“Need” feels like a very important concept at the moment. Education, business, the hospitality industry etc. all have competing needs – and how much does society need each of these areas to thrive?   This got me thinking about ethical questions surrounding need. We can divide them into two categories:   Descriptive (on how things are)   When do…

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How to keep P4C fulfilling its purpose

By Jason Buckley | September 23, 2020

This week’s theme is “purpose”: A lesson about purposes from Thinking Beans: A Year of Philosophy Lessons for the Classroom by David Birch, which I’m publishing. You are invited to the online book on Tuesday 6th October, 7 p.m. Click here to book a free ticket Insights on how to achieve the purposes of things we do…

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COVID-Safer Philosophy for Children

By Jason Buckley | September 14, 2020

Readers have requested start-of-term advice on P4Cing in the context of coronavirus, and in a COVID-safe way. These are my thoughts – I appreciate many of you are already back/scarcely left so I’d love to hear yours too.  1.    Do it. 2.    Do it outside. 3.    Use an “invisible ball”. 4.    Don’t shove coronavirus down…

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Plato’s Cave – DIY Allegories

By Jason Buckley | August 7, 2020

  In this week’s Philosophy Wranglers sessions, we were looking at Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. It’s such a provocative story that it might be a useful foil to anyone who doing their own philosophising over this strange, transitional summer. I like to tell the story slowly, asking questions as I go.   In Plato’s…

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Art Or Not Art

By Jason Buckley | July 21, 2020

A session I was having some fun with at Philosophy Wranglers and Philosophy Wranglers LATE which will work very well on Zoom or face-to face. I’ve sent out something similar before but the twist makes this work very well. Warm-up: Elephant Art Start by sharing a still of this video…   …paused at 4:52. Ask the…

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Is it OK to keep a scrollow as a pet?

By Jason Buckley | July 9, 2020

This week, we explore the ethics of keeping pets. First, a (partly true) story to warm up to the theme.   Bigglestone’s Cavies Tom wanted a guinea pig. But guinea pigs like companionship. So, Tom bought two guinea pigs to keep each other company. When one guinea pig died, the other guinea pig was lonely.…

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Making Up for Lost Talk: 114 Sources of Ideas

By Jason Buckley | July 1, 2020

  The theme of this week’s issue is strategies for making up for the lost talk and other experiences children will have missed out on during lockdown. I’ve included a link to a mass of resources, an NYT article and a free ticket to a taster session of my online philosophy classes, and an invitation…

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When you eat a cherry, do you eat its redness?

By Jason Buckley | June 17, 2020

This week, a session from David Birch’s book, “Thinking Beans,” which I am looking forward to publishing later this term. It explores the concept of “Interaction” through a series of engaging experiments and questions. The book is instantly going to be my favourite source for use in philosophy with children, and I’ve loved every session I…

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Are You Free to Lick Your Elbow?

By Jason Buckley | June 11, 2020

This week, I’ve posted a Philosophy Challenge on the theme of freedom. It starts with a question from P4C progenitor Matthew Lipman, “Are you free to lick your elbow?” It’s a brilliant question that catches a key idea. Does freedom just mean nobody is stopping you, or does it require that you actually could do…

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The Sum of Human Happiness?

By Jason Buckley | May 22, 2020

The Sum of Human Happiness? I’m going to give you a bowl of ice cream. Your favourite flavour, served just how you like it in the ideal portion size. As it’s an imaginary bowl of ice cream, add whatever toppings you like. It’s on the house. I’m also throwing in a warm summer’s day so…

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Seagulls, Worm Charming, Lies and Knowledge

By Thomas Bigglestone | March 13, 2020

A few days ago, I saw a seagull hopping from one foot to the other on some grass. It was (I thought) replicating the sound of rainfall, hoping for a fooled worm to breach the surface. Within seconds one did, and was promptly devoured whole. It’s a curious but common sight – captured here.   Questions The sight of seagulls tapping…

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Poetry, Emotions, Philosophy

By Jason Buckley | March 7, 2020

This week, a stimulus that invites creative writing and thinking about emotions, which you can use as a way of generating questions for philosophical enquiry. It uses a very simple form of poem which I’m calling a “Josephine”, my mum’s Sunday best name. Share some of these examples, have the class create their own, and…

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16 Sample Sticky Questions, 7 Days to Buy Your Class Set

By Jason Buckley | February 27, 2020

Today is the start of a 7-day period during which class-sized sets of Sticky Questions are available to buy. If you haven’t already read about them, you can see more here. In a nutshell, kids go home with a different question stuck on their jumper or in their planner each week, talk about it at home…

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Could We Be Wrong About Human Rights?

By Jason Buckley | February 21, 2020

Prompted by a question from a reader, this post is about human rights. Schools often cover this subject but it can be more of a celebration than enquiry, since human rights are generally considered A Very Good Thing. There are many philosophically interesting questions about human rights, but you generally need to find “some salt to…

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Late Debates

By Thomas Bigglestone | February 13, 2020

Why are you late? Why is your homework late? Why do parents evenings always run late?   This week, how to get students talking about something we teachers tend to talk about an awful lot. Late Debates Yesterday, a colleague and I were waiting for someone who was late to our meeting. With nothing else…

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P4C Enquiry Plan: What Sets Humans Apart?

By Jason Buckley | January 31, 2020

This is a follow-up from “A Dark Horse? Three Philosophical Enquiries About The Unusual” blog post, putting into the practice the technique of defining something by the kind of thing it is (genus) and what makes it different to other things of that kind.   Working at Wayland Junior Academy Watton in Norfolk yesterday [Ed…

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A Dark Horse? Three Philosophical Enquiries About the Unusual

By Jason Buckley | January 24, 2020

What is this? The answer, as you may have already seen, is a zebra with spots Your class will almost certainly work it out, and then you can show them the other photo in this article. There are three philosophical areas you can explore here: truth, definitions, and induction. Truth Which of these statements are true (and…

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Human 2.0?

By Jason Buckley | January 16, 2020

This enquiry is a classroom-friendly version of one I ran for a Philosophy Wranglers online seminar. It introduces students to the beautifully ugly naked mole rat, a burrowing rodent that lives in a colony, rather as bees or ants do. These are all “eusocial” animals that make sacrifices for the good of the colony as…

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Is Disability in the Body, or in Society?

By Jason Buckley | December 8, 2019

In this post, a thought experiment about disability. It invites children to imagine a world in which a few people can fly, but not them; then to imagine a world in which most people can fly, and they are in a small, non-flying minority. In the first world, they are not disabled. In the second,…

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The Game of Power

By Jason Buckley | November 21, 2019

This week, a powerful stimulus for discussing power. It’s taken from Augusto Boal’s “Games for Actors and Non-Actors”, one of the best books ever written for doing thoughtful work with groups. Warm-up: This is Not a Spoon This is an excellent activity to get people thinking about what an object can represent, ready for the…

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Alien Invasion

By Jason Buckley | November 21, 2019

This week, a special edition ready for World Philosophy Day on 21st November 2020. It explores the relationship between humans and non-human animals via an alien invasion scenario. Some of the aliens are farmers, who want to breed us to make us more flavoursome and succulent. Some are hunters who want to preserve our man-made…

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Christmas Present Disarmament Treaty

By Jason Buckley | November 18, 2019

Shopping for presents takes an average of ten hours and £300 in the UK, and the recipient of a gift typically values it at between 10% and 30% less than it cost to buy. Add to that the estimated 83 square kilometres of wrapping paper (the area of Brighton), the tower of wear-once Christmas jumpers and general…

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International Talk Like A Pirate Day

By Jason Buckley | September 19, 2019

September 19th is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. So here is a recording of me talking like a pirate which you can use for inspiration for a philosophy-in-role pirating session. Enjoy!

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Primary School Resource Compendium

By Jason Buckley | July 11, 2019

Primary School Compendium Rebecca-Jo Schwetz, a Masters student at Sacred Heart University, has compiled a huge pic’n’mix of resources from a variety of contributors, all suitable for use in primary schools. What I particularly like is that she has collected together lots of resources on metaphysics (the nature of reality), aesthetics and epistemology (the study…

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Free P4C Resources from the US

By Thomas Bigglestone | July 10, 2019

Primary School Compendium Rebecca-Jo Schwetz, a Masters student at Sacred Heart University, has compiled a huge pic’n’mix of resources from a variety of contributors, all suitable for use in primary schools. What I particularly like is that she has collected together lots of resources on metaphysics (the nature of reality), aesthetics and epistemology (the study…

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P4C Activity: Question Tennis

By Thomas Bigglestone | July 8, 2019

This week, a challenging activity to encourage learners to question each other. . Question Tennis . We’re not claiming to have invented this one. The playful game of answering a question with a question has been a staple of family car journeys for a long time. The basic premise is beautifully simple: . Each player…

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Reduce Homework Hassle and Get Kids and Parents Talking

By Thomas Bigglestone | June 27, 2019

Here’s a letter you could be sending to your class or school in September… r Primary Sticky Questions r You can buy a class set of 40 questions, with at least 32 stickers of each question, enough to last one class the whole year, for just £30+VAT. Typically they are printed 12 to a page, sometimes 8…

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Using “Scale Models” for Philosophy

By Thomas Bigglestone | May 22, 2019

This week, an idea for making big philosophical issues from history accessible to young children, inspired by the work of teachers at Beech Green School, Quedgeley, during a session where were planning philosophy into the curriculum. r The example is from World War Two, but the approach is flexible. The idea is to have two…

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Confessions of a Modern Ancient Egyptian

By Thomas Bigglestone | May 14, 2019

The Ancient Egyptians are a mainstay of primary school topics, with the gruesome rituals of mummification and the colourful cast of gods such as the jackal-headed Anubis, who famously weighs the heart of the deceased against a feather to see if it is free from sin. r r In a previous issue, Tom shared an enquiry…

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Should Justice Be Blind?

By Jason Buckley | May 5, 2019

I was running a cluster meeting for RE teachers, held at Hurlingham School in London, and we were looking within popular topics for “Y-Questions”, the contestable questions that are at the heart of P4C. One of the teachers, Amanda Freeman, talked about how she had used as a stimulus an image of “blind justice”, a common…

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What Makes Soup Soup? Free P4C Day for Heads, and Events for Young Philosophers

By Thomas Bigglestone | April 27, 2019

This issue has three parts. The first is a brilliant short video from BBC Scotland on the vexed question of “What makes soup soup?” – though comic, it’s a splendid way in to a variety of philosophical questions. r Then there’s an invitation to Headteachers, Deputy Heads and high-ups in groups of schools to attend a…

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Living Our Best Life: Resources for Stephen Lawrence Day

By Thomas Bigglestone | April 18, 2019

This week, I’d like to direct you to a set of resources on ethical dilemmas from The Philosophy Foundation, commissioned by the Stephen Lawrence Trust. There is a how-to guide and specific resources on ethical dilemmas for every phase of school from 4-18, and the topics range from “Living Our Best Life” to “Goals, Success and Failure” to…

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P4C from Oz: Short and Curly Podcast

By Thomas Bigglestone | April 11, 2019

This week, as most readers are on holiday, a link to a great podcast series for children about philosophy. It’s Short and Curly from the Australian Broadcasting Network, one of my favourite media outlets: r r r Their Harry Potter episode explores an interesting question in the context of Severus Snape – Do you have to…

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What Shape is Time?

By Thomas Bigglestone | March 28, 2019

What shape is time? This might seem like the sort of question that gives philosophy a bad name. But it goes quite deeply towards the heart of disagreements within and between cultures. r I suggest running this enquiry as a “Starting Positions” session, with the participants first in pairs, then fours, then eights as you…

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Can you be good or bad if there’s just you?

By Thomas Bigglestone | March 21, 2019

This week, a very simple starting point that can lead off in many directions. It’s this question: r If you lived completely alone on an island, would there still be a difference between being good and being bad? r Or, more abstractly: r Can you be good or bad if there’s just you? r You…

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The Pyramid of Hate

By Jason Buckley | March 16, 2019

“Hate-fuelled attack on values that unite us all” It shows zero self-awareness that Daily Express ran this headline the day after the white terrorist attack on a mosque in Christchurch,. This is a newspaper that, when its front page is not about Madeleine McCann or Lady Di, create headlines at random from “Muslim”, “immigrant”, “scrounger”,…

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Was That Music? – and Why Summer Term Is Best for P4C Training

By Thomas Bigglestone | March 14, 2019

This week, a musical (perhaps) stimulus, and then some reasons for your school to move away from the tradition of having professional development in the autumn term and do it in the summer term instead. r On a return visit to Beech Green Primary, Quedgeley, there happened to be a piano in the room. I…

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Philosophy Out of Thin Air

By Thomas Bigglestone | March 7, 2019

Doing more with less is one way to progress in P4C. This week, an example of an enquiry with Year 5, starting from absolutely nothing, which provides a structure you can use over and over again to explore important concepts. There are three stages: r Choose a concept Identify its ingredients Explore their relations r…

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The World Cup of Every Idea

By Jason Buckley | February 28, 2019

Hello from Tom this week, sharing a debating game that whittles any list of potential answers to one. The World Cup of Every Idea It’s a more serious version of Richard Osman’s “World Cup of Everything”, which I played with family on New Year’s Eve. In the original game, participants choose a category of 16 “things”…

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P4C Stimulus: Evacuees from Past to Present

By Thomas Bigglestone | February 14, 2019

If you’re coming here from the bulletin, the Powerpoint can be downloaded here. This week’s theme is “evacuees”, a common topic in connection with The Second World War or books such as, “Goodnight, Mr. Tom”. 2.5 million children were evacuated from major cities into the countryside to be safer from the expected bombing. As with…

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Who Should We Be to Each Other?

By Thomas Bigglestone | February 5, 2019

Here’s a brief Powerpoint to help with this session: The Five Relationships This week’s theme is relationships, focusing on some ideas from Chinese philosophy. Relationships are very important in Ruism (“Confucianism”). Very broadly, Western philosophy emphasises the separateness and independence of individuals, whereas in Ruism, relationships help make you who you are, and their proper…

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‘We Are Inventions’. Discuss.

By Thomas Bigglestone | January 30, 2019

This week, a provocative starting point for an inquiry on the theme of inventions. r As a warm-up, you might ask what these things have in common: r A clothes peg A wheel A computer A gun r The answer being that they are all inventions. r Follow that up by displaying this statement. r…

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P4C Stimuli: The What, The What Else, and The How…

By Thomas Bigglestone | January 23, 2019

This week, a video clip stimulus initially spotted by Eugenio Echeverria and posted by Pat Hannam in the P4C Exchange Facebook group (well worth joining). r It’s from an old US TV show, “The Munsters”, and features Herman giving his son, Eddie, some homespun advice (don’t mention the names if they occur in your register!). Normally, I’m…

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P4C Sequel Story: What Colour Are the Feathers on the Top of My Head?

By Thomas Bigglestone | January 17, 2019

This week, a “Sequel Story” initially created with 4-5 year olds at Manorfield Infants School, Long Stratton. Their curriculum is built around texts, and their book of the moment was, “How Big is a Million?” by Anna Milbourne. In the original story, Pipkin the penguin tries to find a million of something, and eventually sees a…

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Philosophy for Spies

By Thomas Bigglestone | January 9, 2019

Inspired by a visit to Castercliffe Primary Academy where they had a great cross-curricular topic – spies – here are three dilemmas from the world of espionage. Moral dilemmas can be an efficient and engaging route to discussion, and espionage is an interesting test-bed for arguments that “the end justifies the means”. It’s also very…

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P4C and The Good Place

By Thomas Bigglestone | January 3, 2019

With a nod to the tradition of New Year’s resolutions, this week, a philosophical experiment in “trying to be good.” It’s inspired by “The Good Place”, an imaginative comedy about the afterlife that features a myriad of philosophical problems. r A central premise of the show is that the positive and negative things you do…

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P4C Christmas Stimulus and Games

By Thomas Bigglestone | December 13, 2018

This issue is the Christmas special – if it’s too late for you, apologies, but lucky you for breaking up early. In contrast to previous years, this year’s stimulus is rather melancholy, exploring the changing nature of Christmas and childhood as seen by a Christmas Angel on top of a tree. It’s pasted below and downloadable…

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Deceitful Jelly and the Gift of Colours

By Thomas Bigglestone | December 6, 2018

Christmas is imminent, and one of the stimuli in this week’s issue is of reactions to an unusual gift – glasses that allow people with a form of colour-blindness to perceive some colours for the first time. The other stimulus is also on the theme of perception, involving tricking the senses with servings of jelly…

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The Obstacle Course of Providing for More Able Children

By Jason Buckley | November 30, 2018

This week, a stimulus on educational ethics that can be used either with children or for professional development. It’s a dialogue between Scout Leaders, trying to plan an obstacle course that will challenge children of different ages and abilities. It raises the question of what sort of equality we should be aiming at in education,…

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Snowball Warm-ups

By Jason Buckley | November 22, 2018

P4C needs both individual boldness to create ideas and group collaboration to explore them. This week, three “snowball warm-ups” to choose from, which develop both those aspects. Snowball Statues “5, 4, 3, 2, 1… pose!” – on “pose!”, each person poses his body into a unique statue, different to everyone else’s. Do this a few…

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Are We Nowist? A New Word for World Philosophy Day

By Thomas Bigglestone | November 13, 2018

Happy World Philosophy Day! Or instead of “happy” should that be “perplexing”, “wise”… perhaps there’s a warm-up question in there? This year WPD is Thursday 15th November. I’d like to mark it by inviting your classes to consider a brand-new philosophical word, “nowism”. I’m using it in analogy to racism or sexism, as “acting or thinking as…

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Remembrance Assembly Special: Is it Ever Right to Force Someone to Fight?

By Thomas Bigglestone | November 6, 2018

This week, a Powerpoint and accompanying script that can be used as a class session or assembly in the approach to the 100th anniversary of World War I. I’ve referred to it as “The Great War”, as I always find it rather poignant that those involved thought of it in such a definitive way. r It’s…

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Always, Sometimes, Never

By Thomas Bigglestone | October 22, 2018

This week, a simple activity to elevate thinking beyond specific examples to a more conceptual level. r Always, Sometimes, Never… r …is a versatile technique to define complex concepts. Often, when faced with such concepts, children’s first instinct is to give examples familiar and personal to them, such as defining ‘Importance’ by talking about what’s important…

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Using Ignorance in P4C: Facilitator-in-Role

By Thomas Bigglestone | September 22, 2018

This week, an theatrical idea from the chalk-face that promotes careful thinking and clear speaking.   Facilitation-in-Role You might have read about Philosophy-in-Role in previous bulletins – putting children into a dramatic narrative where they make decisions and judgments as characters within the story, rather than as pupils within a classroom. Earlier this summer, we…

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The Philosophical Human Bar Chart

By Thomas Bigglestone | September 8, 2018

In this back-to-school issue (in the UK at least), an idea from Wednesday’s INSET at Winterbourne Junior School for Girls – a new Thinkers’ Game that makes the thinking physical – and doubles up as maths revision! I’ll give the “match report” of this discussion, and then some suggestions for how you could use it…

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P4C Activity: Talking About Holidays

By Thomas Bigglestone | July 16, 2018

Starting Positions is our go-to way to getting everyone quickly engaged. It’s simple to set up: Get everyone standing in pairs, with two clear sides, and give a fun, low-stakes question for each side to argue. Then raise the stakes by going from pairs (1v1), to fours (2v2), to eights (4v4), keeping one side arguing…

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P4C Polo Poser: Deeper Thinking for the Summer Term

By Thomas Bigglestone | July 7, 2018

Is the hole in the polo part of the polo? r …is one of our favourite questions. Humorous and whimsical, it also provokes deeper thinking about identities, properties, and necessities. r For children, a question like this is a wonderful antidote to a year of phonics and feedback. It’s particularly good in the midst of…

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P4C Assembly Guide: Humans vs Computers

By Thomas Bigglestone | June 28, 2018

This week, a guide for a philosophical assembly, developed from recent visits to Finton House School, London and St. Francis’ School, Wiltshire. r Philosophy Assembly Guide: Humans vs. Computers  r Below is a plan that has a background for the teacher’s benefit, and a suggested script in italics, followed by some tips for facilitation. r…

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P4C Stimulus: Chance or Choice?

By Thomas Bigglestone | June 13, 2018

This week, another episode of “Teacher Soap”. Download it here, or read below. This time, the conversation behind the closed door of the staffroom is about elections for the school council. Is it better to vote for representatives, or, Ancient Athenian style, trust to chance? You could ask that question and explore the nature and purpose…

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5 Minutes to 5 Years: What to Aim for in P4C

By Thomas Bigglestone | June 12, 2018

This week, a resource to get you thinking about what to aim for in P4C, from short segments within a single enquiry to thinking strategically over five years about whole-school P4C. It’s not intended to be an authoritative or comprehensive resource, just a starting point for your thinking. This attachment – click to download – contains both black…

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P4C Stimulus: What Would You Uninvent?

By Thomas Bigglestone | June 5, 2018

You may have seen a recent viral story picked up by the BBC about a class of second grade students who were asked, “Which invention do you wish had never been created?” – several said the mobile phone, as it distracted their parents from playing with them. r r You could ask the same question of your…

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Philosophy and the Fronted Adverbial

By Thomas Bigglestone | May 24, 2018

This week, a dialogue between a teacher and her class, as they strive to ‘improve’ a passage of text. While it might draw a grimace of recognition from UK teachers wrangling fronted adverbials, it raises questions of what language is for, and whether the best language to use is purely a question of taste. It’s…

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P4C Royal Wedding Edition

By Thomas Bigglestone | May 17, 2018

This week, a message from Her Majesty the Queen. Last time we heard from HMQ, she was wondering whether Prince Charles would make a suitable monarch, or if some of her younger subjects might like to audition for the part. r In this royal wedding edition, she wonders if Prince Harry and Meghan Markle should forgo Saturday’sextravagant…

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This is Your Queen Speaking: Choosing A Successor

By Thomas Bigglestone | May 16, 2018

Download the message from Her Majesty here: r r You could do the suggested task, perhaps with enlarged postcards, or use the message as a stimulus for our Philosophy Circles enquiry plan – download here. r As it happens, and people are often surprised when I say so, I’m personally rather an ardent monarchist. If…

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P4C Stimulus: Who’s The Boss of You?

By Thomas Bigglestone | May 8, 2018

This week’s bulletin features a “Staff Soap Opera’” dialogue about jobs and responsibilities. It came about through a Philosophic Topic Workshop, for a Year 2 unit on ‘Jobs’ during a recent INSET.  r One of the concepts we thought we could focus on was Responsibility. That led to the question, “In a job, who is your…

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Using Stories in P4C: Losing The Plot

By Thomas Bigglestone | May 1, 2018

Stories are a powerful stimulus for P4C, especially for younger children. Their story-talk is often much more sophisticated and motivated than their other speech. You can develop the foundational skills of sharing of reasons, listening, agreeing and disagreeing by evaluating a character’s choices, or deciding what you would do in their place. But if children…

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P4C Stimulus: Is Money Real?

By Thomas Bigglestone | April 25, 2018

This week, a freshly-written P4C stimulus that explores what makes something real via the surprisingly problematic concept of money. And for those nervous about the Santa Reality Question arising, a Spot and Stripe video also on the theme of money. r For older children: Is money real?  r This stimulus – download it here –…

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P4C Resource: Guilt: A Riddle, A Story, and Questions

By Jason Buckley | April 18, 2018

Guilt is an interesting concept in ethics, in particular the difference between “feeling guilty” versus “being guilty”. The riddle, story and questions on this theme below are also attached, with a few extra teacher tips. r Riddle r Riddles are great warm-up activity for P4C. Solving them requires intellectual risk-taking and collaborative thinking. The answer to…

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P4C Facilitation: Parking the Facts

By Thomas Bigglestone | March 27, 2018

What would the world be like if men gave birth? If there was no religion, would people behave better, worse, or the same? If you could alter one thing about the human species, what would it be? r These far-fetched questions raise interesting issues around gender, moral motivation and human nature respectively. But in response…

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P4C for EYFS: How Impossible Arguments Lead to Real Thinking

By Jason Buckley | March 27, 2018

One approach to real issues is via unreal examples. Tackling real situations straight away can be intimidating for some younger participants. They may feel they know less about the issue than others, and have nothing to contribute. In an imaginary world, nobody is the expert. You can explore ideas in a safe place where everyone…

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P4C Resource for International Happiness Day

By Thomas Bigglestone | March 20, 2018

Tuesday 20th of March is International Happiness Day. You can get some interesting practical resources for children at r Happiness is an important concept in philosophy. Here are some suggestions for questions and an attached stimulus for exploring the idea. r Warm-up- “Hello As If” r 1.    Walk around a space at a normal pace, not…

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Phalanx Philosophy: Safety in Numbers

By Thomas Bigglestone | March 13, 2018

Imagine it’s your weekly staff meeting. The Head starts talking about a contentious new dyslexia initiative mooted on the TV that morning. She turns to you for an opinion.  Your colleagues swivel to you. You don’t really want to give your own thoughts before you hear both sides of the issue. You haven’t had a…

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5 Minutes to 5 Years: What to Aim for in P4C

June 12, 2018

P4C Stimulus: What Would You Uninvent?

June 5, 2018

Philosophy and the Fronted Adverbial

May 24, 2018

P4C Royal Wedding Edition

May 17, 2018

This is Your Queen Speaking: Choosing A Successor

May 16, 2018

P4C Stimulus: Who’s The Boss of You?

May 8, 2018

Using Stories in P4C: Losing The Plot

May 1, 2018

P4C Stimulus: Is Money Real?

April 25, 2018

P4C Resource: Guilt: A Riddle, A Story, and Questions

April 18, 2018

P4C Facilitation: Parking the Facts

March 27, 2018

P4C for EYFS: How Impossible Arguments Lead to Real Thinking

March 27, 2018

P4C Resource for International Happiness Day

March 20, 2018

Phalanx Philosophy: Safety in Numbers

March 13, 2018

P4C Games: Turn-Taking Tasks, Lifting Listening Levels

March 6, 2018

The Fairest Queen of All: P4C & Talk for Writing

February 20, 2018

P4C and Maths: Stimulus, Question and Match Report

February 13, 2018

P4C Revolution Poem: Gold and Chains

February 6, 2018

P4C and Parents: Talk at Home, at Home With Talk

January 25, 2018

Philosophical Activities: 3 Philosophical Twists for Everyday Teaching

January 18, 2018

Six Weeks of P4C CPD & Six Video Stimuli

January 12, 2018

P4C Activity: Philosophy for Readers – Zebra Striped Texts

January 5, 2018

URNE1 and Let Toys Be Toys – Philosophy for Christmas

December 13, 2017

P4C Christmas Special: Rudolph’s Revenge

December 6, 2017

P4C Stimulus about Charity: Questions and Activities

November 29, 2017

P4C & Film: Three Themes for Philosophy with Films

November 22, 2017

World Philosophy Day 2017 Challenge: What’s Your Constitution?

November 15, 2017

“The Lost Thing” and Things About “Lost”

November 13, 2017

Jason delivering P4C training in South Africa

November 3, 2017

7 Ways to Use Objects and a Two-for-One Training Offer

October 13, 2017

P4C Poem on Freedom for National Poetry Day

October 10, 2017

P4C Activity: The Eatometer

October 6, 2017

P4C Video Stimulus: One-ness, and The “Greyest Example”

September 23, 2017

P4C Stimulus: Memories and Photographs

September 13, 2017

P4C Concept Activity: Sort It Out!

September 11, 2017

P4C Back to School Activity: Who Believes What?

August 29, 2017

P4C Concept-Cake: Traditional Tales Resource

July 19, 2017

P4C Deep Thinking Activity: 45 Questions to Push Pair Thinking Deeper

July 17, 2017

P4C Game: Could a Robot Replace…

June 30, 2017

Philosophy Assemblies

June 15, 2017

P4C Thought Experiment: The Us

June 6, 2017

“Types” of Facilitation

May 11, 2017

Post SATS Activities: P4C Thinking Treats

May 9, 2017

P4C Philosophy Circles Plans: Easter

May 5, 2017


  1. Sue Warburton on October 20, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    My granddaughter is 8 and home schooled. My daughter does not have much spare money but would love to invest in teaching P4c. Which books do you recommend for us to use. Thank you .

    • Thomas Bigglestone on October 24, 2017 at 9:33 am

      Hi Sue, thank you for your message. To get started, and at low-cost, we’d recommend our two minibooks:

      Thinkers Games
      Philosophy Circles: Embed P4C in Your Curriculum

      Each can be found in our shop at £2.50 each, and we feel help teachers make an immediate start with P4c in their lessons. I’ve no doubt your daughter would find them highly useful on a daily basis.

      Do let us know if you’ve any further questions.

      Tom and Jason

  2. Jessica on April 4, 2019 at 10:36 am

    Hi, I got started loving P4C once I heard about it last year. I am very interested in books in your shop but as I am in China, is it possible to buy and send to Shanghai, China? Is it a very high expense?

    • Jason Buckley on March 23, 2020 at 12:18 pm

      So sorry I missed this. We rarely used to get comments on the site and I’ve only noticed it with the recent flurry. Yes, we do send to Shanghai and have sent an order to a colleague of yours back in 2018.

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