Resources – Pedagogical Guides,
Curricula, and Lesson Plans

SFF Sponsored Curricula

The Squire Family Foundation has funded two curriculum projects: Introduction to Philosophy, written by The Center for Talented Youth (Johns Hopkins University); and the High School Bioethics Project, written by the Center for Bioethics (University of Pennsylvania). All self-contained modules include readings, resources, lesson plans, assessments and suggestions for further study.

Introduction to Philosophy (pre-college)
Developed by:
The Center for Talented Youth
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD

This user-friendly curriculum, developed and tested at CTY, covers all the major topics in philosophy, and is suitable for a high school or advanced middle school class.

Each self-contained module includes lesson plans, suggested readings, discussion questions and study guides so that even teachers even teachers with a limited philosophy background will be able to successfully use it. Five modules are curently available below. Other modules will appear shortly.

High School Bioethics
Developed by:
High School Bioethics Project
University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics
Philadelphia, PA

This curriculum is composed of four comprehensive and self-contained modules that explore four of the most vital areas in bioethics, such as the right to die, and animal rights. Developed by the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Bioethics, it can be used in any high school class.

Each extensively-researched module includes readings, cases, class activities, and references. Even those teachers without a background in this area can use the lessons effectively. Four modules were developed with the support of the Squire Family Foundation:

To learn more visit:

Philosophy Open-Web Resource


This resource for K-12 teachers, developed by the UNC-Chapel Hill philosophy department and School of Education, includes lesson plans, descriptions of areas of philosophy, advice on pedagogy, and much more.

Other Curricula of Note

The curricula below, which teachers have generously agreed to share on this site, use a variety of pedagogical approaches and methods.

Teaching Children Philosphy Book Modules
Developed by:
Dr. Thomas Wartenberg
Mt. Holyoke College

Dr. Tom Wartenberg (Mt. Holyoke College) and his students developed lesson plans to do philosophy with elementary-school aged children using picture books:

The Value of Reflection: A semesterā€long high school philosophy course
Developed by:
Kelley Schiffman (Yale University)
Justin Boucher (Hill Regional Career High School – New Haven CT)

Kelley Schiffman, director of Yale’s graduate philosophy student outreach program, partnered with Justin Boucher, a history teacher at Hill Regional Career HS, to create an introduction to philosophy course that stresses critical thinking and focuses on several philosophers. It includes readings, lesson plans, and assignments.

Philosophy and Ethics
Developed by:
Drs. Alan Tapper and Stephan MillettCurtin University, Perth

This course was developed by Drs. Alan Tapper and Stephan Millett (Curtin University, Perth) and is part of the Western Australian state-mandated curriculum. It’s designed for general high school use.

Winning Words
Developed by:
The Civic Knowledge Project
University of Chicago

This flexible 7 week curriculum is used in elementary and middle schools on Chicago’s South side. To help young students think, speak and act philosophically, the curriculum combines Socratic questioning, debate, discussion, textual study and dramatic reenactment. The goal is to give students the opportunity to express themselves and examine their own beliefs while engaging in rational, civil discourse with others.

Bioethics Course (pre-college)
Developed by:
The Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland, OH

The Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Bioethics, created a distance learning course for middle and high school students to study some of today’s most prevalent issues in bioethics – the use of animals for food and research, obligations to help the hungry, euthanasia, reproductive ethics, stem cell research and cloning.

A History of Western Political Philosophy
Developed by:
Ed Kaufman
Weston High School
Avon, CT

Ed Kaufman taught history and social studies at Weston High School in CT for over 30 years; the course detailed below is an evening seminar he created and taught for many years at Weston High School.

Philosophy for Living
Developed by:
John Sylvia IV
Hattiesburg, Mississippi

John received his M.A. in philosophy from The University of Southern
Mississippi and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in the near future. He has
developed and taught philosophy courses for gifted high school
programs in his state, including Mississippi Governor’s School and the
Francis A. Karnes Saturday Gifted Studies program. One of his main
areas of interest is virtue epistemology and what such a system might
have to say about modern media. He enjoys exploring the practical
implications which philosophic inquiry has on life.

His materials include a course proposal that explores philosophic
issues which touch people’s everyday lives.

Introduction to Philosophy (pre-college)
Developed by:
Bruce Grigsby
Montrose High School
Montrose, Colorado

Bruce Grigsby majored in history at California State University at Northridge, and completed a Master’s Degree in liberal arts at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which is renowned for its distinctive “great books” curriculum. For thirty-seven years, he has been teaching at Montrose High School: he teaches both AP English (for thirteen years) and a general, introductory course in philosophy (for twenty-five years) in which he incorporates as a core technique the use of opening questions and Socratic seminars which he learned at St. John’s.

Bruce Grigsby’s materials include a syllabus with explanatory notes.

The History of Ideas (pre-college)
Developed by:
Clayton Duba
Adlai E. Stevenson High School
Lincolnshire, Illinois

Clayton Duba has been teaching at Adlai E. Stevenson High School since 2002. He has a B.S. in social science education with a political science minor from Illinois State University and has nearly finished his Master’s degree in political theory from Northeastern Illinois University. He has taught Honors Philosophy to seniors since 2006. In addition, he also teaches World History and AP European History; and is the Editor-in-Chief of the “New Scriptor,” a journal for and by Illinois educators.

Clayton Duba’s materials include an ethical dilemma final project, a reading list and a “History of Ideas” final exam review guide.

Guide to Philosophy on the Internet
Although this site hasn’t been updated recently, it remains one of the most comprehensive web resources. Maintained by Peter Suber at Earlham College in Indiana, the site includes primary texts, lesson plans, syllabi, bibliographies, philosophical associations, and much more that will be helpful to anyone planning to teach philosophy.

Big Ideas for Little Kids: Teaching Philosophy
Through Children’s Literatur
by Thomas E. Wartenberg (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009)
More information:

Online Ethics Center at the National Academy of Engineering
by Thomas E. Wartenberg (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009)
This site is addressed to engineers but it has a great deal of useful information for those interested in teaching ethics (click on Education, then Pre-College Materials).

Philosophy for Kids
Featuring the groundbreaking work of Dr. Gareth Matthews, this website explores how teachers can use children’s literature to introduce philosophical issues.

Teach Philosophy 101
Villanova philosophy professor John Immerwahr created a resource-rich page for philosophy teachers: it includes readings, activities, and lesson plans. Though it’s targeted at college teachers, much of the material can be adapted for pre-college use.

NIH Curriculum Supplements Series
The NIH Curriculum Supplements for High School Series has produced a program on bioethics. Students can use a new model for ethical inquiry that helps develop thoughtful positions on complex bioethical issues. The supplement’s six modules each contain three 45-minute class periods of lessons on a specific issue. Read a related article.

APA Teaching Philosophy Online Resource Center
The APA Teaching Philosophy Online Resource Center is a website geared for college students but with information, resources and links for pre-college teachers as well.

General pedagogical suggestions and issues

Winning Paper – Squire-APA Conference Paper 2007
Alain Beauclair
University of Oregon
Department of Philosophy
“But, That’s Only Your Opinion!” Challenging An Adolescent to Engage in Moral Inquiry

Honorable Mention – Squire-APA Conference Paper 2007
Honorable Mention – Squire-APA Conference Paper 2007
Pat Croskery & Mark H. Dixon
Ohio Northern University
Department of Philosophy & Religion
Pre-College Ethics Education: Applying a Tri-Level Model

Honorable Mention – Squire-APA Conference Paper 2007
Gareth B. Matthews
Ohio Northern University
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Thinking about Eudaimonia with Kids

Big Ideas for Little Kids: Teaching PhilosophyThrough Children’s Literature
by Thomas E. Wartenberg (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009)
More information:

Can We Teach Ethics?
by Howard B. Radest ( Praeger, 1989)

American Association of Philosophy Teachers
AAPT has created several sites suggesting works of literature (novels, short stories, poems and essays) that can be used to illustrate philosophical principles and initiatite philosophical discussion.

Teach Philosophy 101
Villanova philosophy professor John Immerwahr created a resource-rich page for philosophy teachers: it includes readings, activities, and lesson plans. Though it’s targeted at college teachers, much of the material can be adapted for pre-college use.