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Scientific American Discussion Club

Weekly Critical Thinking & Philosophy Discussion Class for Children (8-12 Yrs)

Ronda Baker, B.Ed
Star Educator
Average rating:4.9Number of reviews:(376)
In each weekly class, students will learn about a new topic ranging from nature to technology, and then engage in philosophical discussions related to that topic. Join during any week! The topics repeat in 24 week cycles.

Class experience

 Students will . . .
~think critically and philosophically
~use inquiry skills to ask questions
~share their thoughts and ideas through class discussion
~give reasons and examples that support their thinking
~actively listen to various viewpoints
~practice diplomatic discussions
~be exposed to new and emerging ideas and technologies
~have their minds challenged and stimulated!
I have been trained in the P4C Hawaii approach to P4C through my former school district as well as through a professional development college credit course in P4C Hawaii.  As a classroom teacher, I used P4C in my classes daily with a variety of student ages for the past 3 years.  I have observed and participated in P4C discussions with students from Kindergarten through High School. 

I am not affiliated with P4C Hawaii or P4C.com, nor do I use any copyright protected material, curriculum, or names.  P4C is just an abbreviated form of the longer title. 
Homework Offered
Students should visit the classroom page prior to class each week to watch a short video about the week's topic. They are encouraged to post comments or questions in response to the post, to stimulate class ideas in anticipation of the class discussion.
Assessments Offered
Grades Offered
 1 file available upon enrollment
Students may benefit from keeping a P4C journal to record topics, thoughts, and questions about ideas shared in class.
Learners will not need to use any apps or websites beyond the standard Outschool tools.
To stimulate topic questions for discussion, an image, news article, or video clip may be used.   This is an important part of rich philosophical discussion and provides the platform for student created questions rather than predetermined teacher made questions.  The stimuli are selected to stimulate thinking, NOT incite an emotional response. Because I want the students to create questions based on their reactions to the stimuli,  it is impossible to predict what questions students will generate and what question the class will vote to discuss.   

Rest assured that stimuli I provide will never be pornographic, obscene, or overly graphic, however there is potential for it to be upsetting to some.  

I WILL NOT show stimuli specific to controversial topics such as race, gender identity, abortion, politics, or religion.  The stimuli will be primarily about science and nature, weather related events, pollution, climate change, or emerging scientific discoveries such as robotics and automation.  BUT, please be aware that the topics presented may lead to discussions that touch on the above by peers in the group. 

In all situations, I will be facilitating healthy discussions that cultivate open mindedness and tolerance to opposing views.  If the discourse begins to veer into inappropriate content, or begins to produce significant emotional disturbance, I will terminate the topic or redirect the conversation.  If specific students become inappropriate they will first be moved to the waiting room and given a warning via messaging. If it continues they will be removed from the group.  Intellectual and emotional safety is of utmost importance to the success of our discussions.   The purpose here is to develop rational thinkers that apply philosophical reasoning rather than emotion and assumptions to help them think about, and understand, the world. 

When in doubt, please reach out!  I would be happy to share the stimuli with you prior to the class start. 
Star Educator
Average rating:4.9Number of reviews:(376)
I have been a licensed elementary school teacher since 2012.  I taught grades K, 1, 4, 5, and 6 in the public education system in Hawaii.  During 2020, when schools moved to distance learning as a safety precaution, I learned that I enjoyed... 
Group Class


1x per week
55 min

Completed by 183 learners
Live video meetings
Ages: 9-12
2-8 learners per class

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