Titanic Dog


  1. Do the calming
  1. Discuss what ‘day-dreaming’ is, and whether children had noticed if they were dreaming during the exercise. Which seems more real – the dreaming state or the focused one?
  1. Explain to the children they are going to use a true story as a stimulus this They will be trying to identify any philosophical issues in the story, and then make some philosophical questions. Read ‘Titanic Dog’.
  1. Ask two or three questions to ensure the pupils have understood the content of the
  1. Discuss the nature of philosophical (Refer to glossary if unsure.) Get children to spend time on their own, thinking of what they think is a good theme. They should have reasons for their choice.
  1. In pairs, children should discuss their theme and discuss together how the themes could be turned into a philosophical question.
  1. Each pair should join together with another pair, and through discussion decide on the best (most interesting) question.
  1. Write each group’s question on the Review the range of questions provided and ask the children to consider the question they would most like to investigate through enquiry. Take a vote to determine the chosen question.
  1. Ask the person who originally put forward the question to begin the dialogue by re- stating their question and putting forward their own view on
  1. In building the enquiry, remember to use a variety of questions and encourage the children to do the same. Use ideas from ‘The Importance of Skilful Questioning’ section, if
  1. If the dialogue runs out, move to the second favourite question, and so
  1. Let the children discuss and formulate a ‘Thought for the Week’. 

Titanic Dog 

Have you heard of the Titanic? It was a big ship which hit an iceberg and sank in 1912. I expect many of you have seen a film about it. Many people drowned, but in amongst the tragedy there were many stories of great bravery and sacrifice.

One story of bravery was not about a person but about an animal – a dog called Rigel.

Rigel was a Newfoundland, which is a very big dog. He belonged to the First Officer. It was the officer’s duty to try to get as many people as possible into the lifeboats. There was chaos on board ship. People had thought the Titanic was unsinkable and didn’t believe that it could be sinking. The First Officer tried to calm the panic and get the lifeboats filled with people and safely lowered into the sea.

Suddenly the ship tipped up and sank very quickly with many people still on board. The First Officer and his dog, Rigel were amongst them.

Rigel did not drown but after the ship had sunk he swam round and round in the freezing water looking for his master. He never found him.

Some time later another ship arrived to search for survivors. It was called the SS Car- pathia.

One of the lifeboats full of people was right in its path but as it was night they couldn’t be seen. The people were too cold and weak now to shout or wave their arms and the Carpathia steamed towards them.

Rigel was cold and weak too but he saw what was happening. He swam between the lifeboat and the approaching ship and barked continuously. The Captain saw him just in time and ordered the engines to be stopped. Then he saw the lifeboat full of people they had almost run down.

The people were taken on board as well as Rigel. While they were taken below to put on warm clothes and to have some hot food, he refused to leave the deck and stood with his paws on the rail still searching the black cold sea for his master. It was a long time before the crew were able to take him below for some hot food.

Throughout this long horrible night, Rigel never once thought about his own safety and comfort. His first thought was to save his master, and then to save the people in the boat.