The If Machine
The If Machine, by Peter Worley, was published in 2011 and is full of ideas for motivating philosophical conversations with children. The first quarter of the book is an introduction to doing philosophy with young people and contains many useful general suggestions for introducing philosophy in elementary school classrooms. The rest of the book is made up of 25 units that each include a very short story, a description of the philosophical topic involved (justice, fairness, identity, etc.), and a list of questions and various strategies for facilitating a discussion on the topic. The book is well-written, very practical and accessible, and many of the stories raise philosophical issues in appealing and thoughtful ways. I’m going to try out one of the units with a class of fourth grade students next week.