Can a robot be kind? Can you touch the wind? Is there more future than past?
Since publishing The Little Book of Thunks over a decade ago, Ian Gilbert’s ‘beguilingly simple-looking questions’ have caused brain ache across the world in children, young people and the wider school community. Born out of Ian’s work in Philosophy for Children, questions like those posed above leave everyone thinking new thoughts about everyday life, love, the things around us and the world beyond.
Whereas a right answer is a thinking cul-de-sac, a Thunk has no one right answer. And without that – and without the fear that many people have of coming up with wrong answers – all that remains is the opportunity for thinking, reflecting, philosophising, debating, thinking new thoughts and rethinking old ones.
Such is the power of a Thunk. Now, for the first time, 50 of these probing provocations are presented in a brand new format – on a specially designed set of cards for use in a range of fun and innovative ways, both inside and outside the classroom.
Caution: Reported side effects of Thunks include thinking, creativity, talking, arguing, changing your mind and brain ache.
A complete downloadable list of suggested activities comes with the card set – here are a select few:
• Stick a Thunk on a wall/board/large piece of paper and get the class to write their responses and why they think that way around it.
• Allocate a ‘Yes’, ‘No’ or ‘Other’ response to individuals or groups before the Thunk is revealed. They then have to argue their case accordingly.
• Give each pupil a random card. Give them 15 minutes to produce an artistic interpretation of the dilemma covered by their Thunk. Make a class Thunks display for use in future lessons.
• Find some space, read out a Thunk and give the class the choice of standing on one side if they think ‘Yes’, the opposite side if they think ‘No’ and in the middle if they think ‘Other’. Get each faction to come up with the reasons why the others are wrong, in order to persuade them to defect to their side.