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From the PLATO Philosopher's Toolkit

Social Contract Theory: Creating a Cooperative Learning Environment

Materials needed John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government, chapters two and eight. An alternative is James Rachels’ The Elements of Moral Philosophy, chapter eleven, “The Idea of a Social Contract” (see full citations below) A questionnaire (see below) Poster board

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What Do We Find Beautiful?

Introduction Students should be given a week to do the following assignment (though it can be revised as needed to fit your time constraints):   Pick as many “beautiful” songs as you are old. So, for example, if you are

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Arguments and Philosophical Reasoning

Materials needed Chalkboard or whiteboard Computer and projector or equipment to watch short video clips from the web   Introduction This lesson can be used at any time in a philosophy course, for a meeting of a philosophy club or

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Logic Charades

Materials needed Props and costumes (not necessary but fun) for enacting any of the skits Construction paper and markers to make signs Copies of the handout (see Supplemental Materials section below).   Description: An argument is a deductive argument when

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Convince your Teacher/Principal

Introduction What is an argument?   An argument consists of a set of reasons that are given with the intention of persuading someone else that a particular action or idea is right or wrong, good or bad, desirable or undesirable,

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On Friendship

Materials needed Index cards Whiteboard and several different colored dry erase markers   Description Pass out one index card to each student. Instruct the students to draw, without using representations of people (including stick figures, faces, and the like), a

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Materials needed Plenty of paper Several sets of 5 different colored pencils or markers Timer   Introduction Ask your students to think about how they define a stereotype. Work in small groups to come up with a basic definition. Have

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Fair or Equal?

Materials needed List of roles and responsibilities (see below) A bag of candy   Description Begin the exercise by holding up the bag of candy (make sure you have enough for at least one piece for every student) and ask,

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What is music? Silence and Sound

Organize a live performance of composer John Cage’s piece 4’33” in the school music room (or watch with your students one of the many online videos of it). Cage’s work, which was composed for any instrument and consists of the

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Activity: What’s Your Reason?

This game involves students writing down claims supported by reasons and then guessing each others’ claims after listening only to the reasons.   Hand out four note cards (or note-card sized pieces of paper) to each student. Ask them to

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