Musical Activity


This session is further practice at the focusing and listening skills (in relation to music) practised in Block 1.

Before the session choose two pieces of music – a piece of Tchaikovsky (or Liszt) and a piece of Bach. Allow children to hear enough to stretch their attention time, but not to the point of boredom. This may be from five to fifteen minutes, depending on the individuals.

  1. Practise the focusing
  1. Ask children what they noticed after thinking about the theme of last week’s story. Were they flattered by anything anyone had said to them? Did they believe everything they were told? Did anyone have any other observation?
  1. Introduce the session by asking the children to just listen to the first (It doesn’t matter which one.)
  1. Ask the children what they had observed about the listening Where was their attention? Were there any ideas in mind? What were they? Was it difficult to focus on the music? Were they only able to listen to it?
  1. Now listen to the second piece – with the same
  1. In groups, let the children discuss the pieces. What were their emotional responses? Did they like one better than the other? Why? If they didn’t like them, why not? Why is it hard to just listen?
  1. Introduce the ‘Thought for the Week’.

Philosophy 29: David Livingstone

  1. Practise the calming and focusing
  1. What have children noticed about their thoughts during the week? Is it easy or difficult to observe them? Can they be controlled? Why? Why not?
  1. Read ‘David Livingstone’, then arrange the pupils into groups of four or five. In the same manner as the previous pair work, one child should begin to articulate the meaning of the story – what is it saying? Next, the other three briefly say what they agree or disagree with, before the second pupil gives their opinion and reasoning. Again, the other three evaluate, and so the process is repeated until each child has had a
  1. Ask each group to choose, through discussion, the opinion and reasoning they enjoyed the most. These should then be reported back to the class, and a list made on the board.
  1. Draw everyone’s attention to the points on the board, then move to the dialogue through the ‘Questions for Thinking’.
  1. Ensure children understand the ‘Thought for the Week’

David Livingstone

Missionary and Explorer (1813-1873)

The air was still and hot. David could feel the sweat soaking his clothes, brought on by the humid climate and his malaria. He was tired. So tired. His work, however, wasn’t finished yet. There were still the slave traders out there. Only a few days ago he had come across a village where many people had been slaughtered, while the rest had been taken as slaves. The young and fit ones.

Now even he was treated with suspicion by many natives he met. Many of his own followers had deserted him and his medicines had been stolen.

Just a few days rest in this village of Ujiji and he would be on his way again. He would find the source of the Nile River if it was the last thing he did. It had taken him years to get this far.

David was just drifting off into a doze again when he suddenly heard shouting outside his hut. It was one of his faithfuls, Susi. She burst in through the doorway.

‘A white man is coming’, she said, panting and pointing up the track.David rose slowly from his bed and walked to the doorway, shading his eyes against the strong sun.

Sure enough a stranger was approaching the village and had already attracted much attention from the children.

The stranger walked straight up to David, his hand outstretched. ‘Dr Livingstone, I presume’, he said, with a smile.

David grasped the man’s hand and nodded.

‘I’m Stanley from the New York Tribune,’ said the man. ‘My, I’m glad to find you! It’s taken a year. The whole world is concerned about you – you’ve been gone six years.’

Was it that long? David thought. Six years trekking across Africa, mapping this great continent and spreading the word of God. Six years away from Scotland and his wife and children.

‘I’ve brought you supplies and medicine,’ said Stanley. ‘You look as though you could use them.’

Soon the two men became good friends and when it was time for Stanley to leave, he tried to persuade David Livingstone to return with him to England, or at least go to the coast where he might have some medical attention.

However Livingstone would not go. For two more years he carried on until he was too weak to walk and the natives had to carry him on a litter. He never did find the source of the Nile, but his exploration made it easier for others who followed later. He was the first European to cross Africa from west to east, and he discovered the Victoria Falls, amongst other important features.


1.  David Livingstone was trying to do several things. What were they?

2.  What qualities did David show? (Discuss the concept of qualities first, if necessary.)

3.  David kept trying and trying – even though he faced great difficulties. What were the difficulties? What was the consequence of this attitude of persevering? (Explain perseverance if necessary.)

4.   What qualities do you have? What evidence or examples do you have?

5.  Where did you get them from?

6.  What are the consequences of having them?

7.   Can you get new qualities? How? From where?

8.  Do you persevere with tasks or give up easily? Why?