Being Philosophical with Shapes

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Area: Language Arts and Literature
Grade Level: High School & Beyond, Middle School, Primary/Elementary School
Topics: Communication, Language
Estimated Time Necessary: 30-40 minutes - could be paired down or extended depending on objectives, class size, and extent of the diiscussion
Lesson Attachment: Shapes.jpg

Lesson Plan

Objectives:
Thinking together about communication.
One student will use their partner's directions to draw an unfamiliar shape. Students will compare the shape drawn to the picture of the original shape. Students will discuss what the process was like for them and what questions the activity raised - in particular thinking about the nature of communication.

Lesson Summary:

Students will work with partners to draw an irregular shape described they their partners through writing. Students will raise questions about the process and outcome of this activity for philosophical discussion.

Activity:

  • One student will use their partner’s directions to draw an unfamiliar shape.
  • Students will compare the drawn shape to the picture of the original shape.
  • Students will discuss what the process was like for them and what questions the activity raises.

Materials:

  • 6 images cut out (see Lesson Attachment file above) – Note: The shapes in the images are best suited for high school students. For younger students, use simpler shapes but make sure they are not shapes students can describe simply by naming them (e.g., triangle, square, house, etc.).
  • Loose leaf paper or a document for typing
  • Something to draw on (white board or paper)
  • Something to write or draw with (dry erase marker or pencil)

Steps:

  1. Divide the class into groups with 3-4 members.
  2. Give each group one of the pictures from the image above (or images you have selected yourself).
  3. Note that groups should not see each other’s pictures.
  4. Ask the groups to describe the picture they have in 4-5 sentences on a paper so that a person who hasn’t seen the picture can imagine and draw it.
  5. Change the papers of the description between the groups so that each group will have a new description of a picture to draw.
  6. Ask the groups to draw whatever they understand from the paper.
  7. Compare the drawings with the real pictures. Ask about the process each group went through and why they could/couldn’t draw something similar to the real pictures. What crossed their minds while doing this activity?
  8. See the Discussion Questions tab for suggestions of other questions the group might discuss together.
EXPAND TOOL TEXTCOLLAPSE TOOL TEXT

Discussion Questions

  • Is clear speech important? Why?
  • How do miscommunications happen in conversations?
  • How do we know when we have fully understood something or someone?
  • Are there limits to language? If there are, how do we navigate those limits?
  • How does speech shape our understanding?
This lesson plan was created for PLATO by: Mahsa Poost Foroush Fard, Laurie Grady, and Alaina Gostomski.

This work is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

If you would like to change or adapt any of PLATO's work for public use, please feel free to contact us for permission at info@plato-philosophy.org.