Topic: animals

Alive/Not Alive

Materials/Preparation: Before the session, write the names of various beings and things on note cards with one per note card. Examples include: CarrotsFlowersCarsFireDollsWaterDirtA squashed bugRabbits In the session: If the students are in a circle on the rug, place three pieces of paper in the middle of the circle. Write “Alive” on one, “Not Alive” Alive/Not Alive

What Are Your Demands?

Cover of Click, Clack, Moo Cows that type. 3 cows, chickened and duck typing on typewriter

In the book Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin, a group of animals refuse to produce for a farmer until he meets their demands. Read the story together (or watch a read aloud of the book online), then ask the children to make their own list of demands. Give them full freedom What Are Your Demands?

Partly Cloudy

Illustration from the short film "Partly Cloudy" that features a puffy cloud with arms and a smiling face

Plot Summary: In the animated short film “Partly Cloudy,” storks deliver adorable infants of all kinds to homes. We discover that these infants are made by delightful, puffy, and cheerful clouds who work in partnership with their designated delivery stork. One cloud who is less cheerful and “partly cloudy” makes the pricklier infants (alligators, sharks, porcupines, Partly Cloudy

“Hey Little Ant” Lesson Plan

In considering whether it is right or wrong to harm or kill a (non-human) animal or even a bug, people may argue for criteria that distinguish between human beings and animals to justify the difference in treatment, like human beings are bigger, stronger, more intelligent, have language, have the ability to reason, or can manipulate “Hey Little Ant” Lesson Plan

Conflicting Values in Environmental Ethics – The Mountain Goat Dilemma

Mountain goat laying down on mountain side

Mountain goats are not native to Olympic National Park. They were introduced into Olympic Peninsula in the 1930s to encourage an increase of tourism via hunting. Shortly after, Olympic National Park was established. Under Park jurisdiction, hunting of any kind is forbidden, so the mountain goats placed there were protected. Olympic National Park is now Conflicting Values in Environmental Ethics – The Mountain Goat Dilemma

Animal Minds: puzzling over Puppies and Parrots

parrot perched raising wings

For much of modern science, since the Enlightenment, animals were generally thought to be automatons:  materialist robots programmed to behave in certain ways.  Rene Descartes drew a sharp distinction between thinking beings, humans, and everything else, matter.  20th Century behaviorism continued to think of animals in this way but added humans to the mix.  “Mind” Animal Minds: puzzling over Puppies and Parrots

Can animals make music?

3 monkeys playing musical instruments

We all love music.  Some of us sing daily, if just to ourselves.  It could be our favorite tune from Frozen or simply a tune we made up ourselves.  What makes sound music?  Let’s start with ourselves. The teacher/facilitator may wish to share this video and have the children sing along or they may choose Can animals make music?

The Ethics of the Creation of Dual-Species Chimeras

flying bird with pug dog face

On November 6, 2015, NPR aired a story about the very controversial topic of stem cell research. This story can be used as the basis for a philosophical discussion of a variety of topics including what it is to be human and the ethics of medical research. Here is a link to the story: The Ethics of the Creation of Dual-Species Chimeras