Showing posts with label plato. Show all posts
Showing posts with label plato. Show all posts

9.2.21

Digital Teacher Tools: Use Google Forms With a Lesson On Plato's Allegory of the Cave

Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Higher Education, Adult Education, Homeschooler, Not Grade Specific - TeachersPayTeachers.comTeaching Plato's Allegory of the Cave, use our assessment tool to evaluate students' understanding of Plato's theory of realityI was inspired to create this Google Forms resource when I noticed the popularity of my retelling of Plato's storyIn this story, Plato imagines a world where one man wakes up and questions what is real and what is not real. Have your students read this story with you and use my handy dandy comprehension questions and discussion activities to lead your students into an examination of Plato's metaphysical thinking.

Download on TpT, Made by Teachers, and Amazon


This resource is optimized for distance learning. The product includes THREE Google Forms links. Modify this resource for use on Google Classroom and other classroom management sites.


This resource includes the following features:

Essential Question: What is the gist of Plato's Allegory of the Cave?

  • The text of the story is Plato's Allegory of the Cave (Republic VII.514a-520a) 
    • The story is retold from the source material in easy-to-understand English. Great for a class read-and-share. Or, have students pair-read the text and then have a whole-class discussion.
  • THREE Google Forms Assessments
    • Multiple Choice Assessment
      • 5 Multiple Choice Questions
      • Student Self-Reflection Survey
    • Matching Assessment
      • 10 Matching Items
      • 2 Multiple Choice Questions
      • Student Self-Reflection Survey
    • Written Assessment
      • 5 Short Answer Questions
      • 2 Long Answer Questions
      • Student Self-Reflection Survey
  • Bibliography
    • Included is a shortlist of resources related to Plato's Allegory for both teachers and students.

Why Use Google Forms in a Classroom?

Google Forms allows teachers to collect information about students' learning. Google Forms are editable. You can fit these Google Forms assessment to your specific needs. You can modify, delete, or even edit questions. You can also change the points value for the assessment. Also, from a data-collection point of view, Google Forms give teachers a bird's-eye-view of student achievement — you can organize assessment results into amazing charts and graphs. You will then be able to identify what specifically students know and don't know.

Discover More of My Philosophy in the Classroom Series 

6.2.21

Teach Plato’s Allegory of the Cave with a Digital Educational Download from Stones of Erasmus

Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Higher Education, Adult Education, Homeschooler, Not Grade Specific - TeachersPayTeachers.com

If you want to teach philosophy to young people, start with some of Plato's myths, as recounted in his book The Republic. The most potent myth from Plato is the Allegory of the Cave. It's such a vivid metaphor for illustrating a specific type of search for truth  that your students will get it right away and not only enjoy reading the source material with you, but they'll surprise you with their takes on the narratives and connections to the real world.

Plato's Allegory of the Cave Digital Download
Download the digital resource on TpT, Amazon, or Made By Teachers!


If you want to teach philosophy to young people, use this lesson plan that introduces students to Plato’s theory of reality. I was inspired to create this resource when I retold the story of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave (from The Republic) in plain languageIn this story, Plato imagines a world where one man wakes up and questions what is real and not real. Have your students read this story with you, and use my handy dandy comprehension questions and discussion activities to lead your students to examine Plato’s metaphysical thinking. 

*This resource is optimized for distance learning. The product includes an editable Google Docs link. Modify this resource for use on Google Classroom and other classroom management sites*

This resource includes the following features:

Essential Question: How do I know what is really real?

  • The text of the story is included in this resource.

  • The story is retold from the source material in easy-to-understand English. Great for a class read-and-share. Or, have students pair-read the text and then have a whole-class discussion.

  • 15 reading comprehension questions

  • Useful for homework. To flip the classroom — assign the reading before you plan to discuss and have students complete the reading comprehension questions beforehand.

  • 6 Discussion Questions

  • Perfect for group work or a carousel activity — get your kids moving while discussing Plato!

  • 1 Chart to Explain Plato’s Two-World Theory 

  • Useful graphic organizer to understand Plato’s worldview

  • An answer key for both comprehension and discussion questions

  • Suggested Lesson Plan 

  • With more ideas and instructions on how to use this resource

  • Bibliography

  • I use the bibliography as a further reading resource for my students. Assign your curious scholars a research assignment or have students do projects based on books, links, and other material related to Plato they may find interesting or exciting.

Suggested Uses:

  1. Humanities Course on Ancient Greece

  2. World History Course on the History of Ideas 

  3. Literature Course

  4. Ethics Course — See how I used this resource in an Ethics class with 8th graders!

  5. Introduction to Philosophy Course

  6. Student Advisory Course on Drug and Alcohol Abuse 

  7. A Lesson on Truth

  8. A lesson on Appearance and Reality

    Discover More of My Philosophy in the Classroom Series 

    24.6.19

    Philosophy in the Classroom: Sample Student Work on Plato's Allegory of the Cave (With Thirteen and Fourteen-Year-Old Kids)


    Student sample work of an annotated representation of Plato's cave
    Sample Work from Mr. Roselli's 8th Grade Ethics Class
    Planning an Eighth Grade Ethics Curriculum at a Private School in Queens
    I taught the 8th Graders every Tuesday as part of my teaching load this past school year. I teach at a private, independent school in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens. The kids are receptive to learning - albeit a rowdy bunch. The class was split into two. So basically I saw each group every other week. The class was PASS/FAIL and I put a lot of emphasis on student participation, talking, and group work. I uploaded content for them to read and view on Google Classroom so I did not have to spend a lot of time going over the material in class. Here is a short overview of one particular lesson I did (with some student work).

    Reading Plato's Allegory of the Cave in a Middle School Ethics Class
    We read Plato's cave in class - using a lesson I had created (and which you can access here). The kids were in eighth grade - so they would be thirteen or fourteen years old.

    Kids' Understanding of Plato's Ideas
    A sample students' work representing Plato's Cave
    Students jot down their summary ideas to get the gist.
    The one takeaway I noticed with this age group is that they totally "got" the idea of most people's inability to change a mindset and think through a different perspective. I feel like that is indicative of the age group - most kids that age have difficulty understanding and processing different points of view. They recognize others' points of view, but since they are often self-focused and not other-focused, they spend a lot of energy and anxiety over whether or not people "get" their point of view. They desperately want to be understood (which is human). In this example, from student work, I had the kids present their own visual representation of Plato's cave. These three students, Isabel, Ryan, and Hayden, were very much fixated on the idea that enlightenment is pretty much impossible. Notice how they put an exit sign in the cave with the label "unachievable".

    Getting Students to Jot Down Their Ideas

    The lingo teachers use is "getting the gist". You are not looking for kids to pen a dissertation. But you want students to produce something written in the course of the lesson. The comments they made were original, and I liked how they understood Plato's dual reality theory. It is not an easy concept to get, but they really appreciated it. From a writing perspective, it is vital to get students to jot down their ideas - even if it is a few sentences or even a list of words. It helps the kids solidify their thoughts. And also it helps me, the teacher, to scan for student understanding.

    Using Visual Imagery to Make Connections with Students
    A teen boy wears a virtual reality headset seated in a dingy room.
    After exploring the ideas of the lesson, students can talk about the above image. What do they notice? What do they wonder? Collect the students' responses.

    Class: Eighth Grade Ethics / 90 Minute Lesson (you can break it down into two separate 45-minute lessons)
    Materials: paper, pencils, pen, handouts of the Allegory of the Cave, Comprehension Questions, Discussion Questions, Entrance, and Exit Tickets
    Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Higher Education, Adult Education, Homeschooler, Not Grade Specific - TeachersPayTeachers.com
    My TpT store has resources for
    middle and high school English teachers


    14.8.18

    Why I like Fifth Century Thinkers like Socrates and Confucius

    Confucius and Socrates Represent a Renaissance of Thought
    I was trained to begin with Socrates. But what about Confucius standing next to Socrates? Confucius was Socrates’s contemporary. "They probably never met," you say. A Queens taxi cab driver told me their meeting was possible – how could there have been such a confluence of ideas in both East and West without either Socrates or Confucius never having met? The fifth century before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth was a renaissance of thought. It was a time of emerging thought, of dynamic ideas that would forever change the course of human history.

    26.3.13

    Photograph: "Plato's Cave"

    "Plato's Cave"

    © 2013 Greig Roselli

    23.12.12

    Poem: Thrasymachus Blushing

    thrasymachus blushing
    blushing belies betrayal
    betrayal of the body 
    the body belied

    so says socrates
    not blushing
    but catching thrasymachus in a blush

    a crucial catch of the passage
    says the professor
    a critical juncture blushing
    is

    for in it
    socrates 
    calls thrasymachus out

    for is it not true
    that one cannot
    forfeit an argument?
    even if one knows forfeiting is the right thing to do
    our body forfeits for us
    turning rouge
    in a crowd of philosophers
    vying for truth

    to get the answer wrong is an admission of failure
    of not getting it

    and we want to get it

    so we plow on regardless
    but our body -
    it sees our flaw
    and quickens -
    blood flows more fully 
    and all can see our less than comfortable
    feeling of resting with a certain unjustified truth
    Greig Roselli ® 2012

    13.8.12

    Quotation: Socrates On Perplexing Others (And His Own Perplexity)

    Socrates.jpg
    Socrates with folks in Athens in Raphael's painting "The School of Athens"
    A quote from Socrates on perplexing others . . .
    For I perplex others, not because I am clear, but because I am utterly perplexed myself. 
    οὐ γὰρ εὐπορῶν αὐτὸς τοὺς ἄλλους ποιῶ ἀπορεῖν, ἀλλὰ παντὸς μᾶλλον αὐτὸς ἀπορῶν οὕτως καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους ποιῶ ἀπορεῖν.

    Socrates, 5th century B.C.
    from the Meno by Plato (section 80c-d)
    PDF Copy for Printing

    26.6.11

    Are Philosophers Inspired by the Figure of the Child?

    In this post, I discuss one of my favorite topics: how have thinkers, writers, and philosophers been inspired by the figure of the child?

    I am stuck on this topic of the child as a figure of philosophical thought or inspiration. The question writ large is this: how can the child be both a muse and tabula rasa? In other words, how can the child be a figure of inspiration, yet at the same time, not capable of the label philosopher? The philosopher, artist, thinker, writer, goes to the child for their inspiration, but the paradox is this: the child is seldom seen as a locus of philosophical import. How can it be both? Both muse and empty of content? We call the child innocence but what we mean is empty, according to Kincaid. And i agree. The label of innocence creates a bind. A problem. Innocence maintains the status of muse but creates a problem by which the child is only able to miraculously appear through nostalgia and leaves whence she came. William Blake trumpets the child as a muse. Blake writes of a poet/piper in the introductory verse of the Songs of Innocence who is visited by a child on a cloud who commands him to write: "Piper sit thee down and write / In a book that all may read." Is the child merely an apparition for the romantic poet? Notice it is the poet and not the lofty nude boy cherub who puts words onto paper. How can it be that the child inspires the poet to write but is bereft of his own song?
    I can name three famous instances where a child appears in the margins of the history of philosophy. In Plato’s Meno, Socrates employs a slave child to demonstrate to Meno that learning is recollection. Meno assures Socrates that the boy has no previous knowledge of geometry. The question is if the child has no prior knowledge of geometry can she still learn it? Socrates asks the slave boy questions. He does not supply him with answers as if his mind were an empty vessel. Socrates is notorious for asserting that we come upon the quest for knowledge at an instance of nothing. We know nothing. Nothing is a starting point. Just by the guidance of a question, the slave boy is able to come up with the solution to the problem of halving a square. Plato does not indicate the child's age. I would guess he is no older than sixteen. No younger than seven. Is it a coincidence that Socrates uses him as an example? To use a child to illustrate a philosophical point suggests something about the status of a child. In this case a slave child. To be a slave and a child at the time of Socrates was to be afforded little political privilege. Neither the child or the slave were properly thought of as citizens of the state. Philosophy is adult business. Citizen business. So to demonstrate the boy's ability to know, to recollect knowledge, as a priori to learning itself, is to present the child as exemplar, but still leaves us to question the concept of child as philosopher.
    Nietzsche famously invokes the figure child in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, in tandem with the lion and the camel, as the third stage in the metamorphosis of philosophical progress.
    Augustine in the Confessions opens a random selection of sacred scripture whereby he is inspired by Saint Paul’s words to put on the person of Christ and rid himself of wanton desires. When the child enters the scene of philosophical history she becomes an example, as we can see in Socrates’s use of the boy, or as metaphor for something “new” and “fresh” as in Nietzsche. Or simply inspiration as in Augustine’s anecdotal story of his conversion.
    For the most part children are excluded from the annals of Western Philosophy in the main along with discussions of sex, the body, and anything related to our finitude. Philosophers in the main have traditionally been more fond of loftier topics such as mind, reason, and clear and distinct ideas. Children are far from such sophisticated concepts being as they are undeveloped intellectually. While we can grant the child her own special status as philosopher who has not heard a child ask why? it is still fairly common to assume philosophy is meant for grown-ups. The long-standing view of children is that they are extensions of adults. Thomas Hobbes excludes the child as having the status of person in the Leviathan. Along with madmen and fools, the child is a brute beast, with no claim to the law or sovereignty. For Hobbes, the child is not a person. According to Phillip Aries, the concept of the child as independent from an adult only recently became adopted in the West in the nineteenth century. For centuries children were seen as diminutive versions of adults. Homunculi. The great modern revelation, it is said, is that children embody a consciousness that is temporally defined and authentic to childhood itself. How far have we come from Hobbes? But how uneasy it is for us to ask the child muse to speak her own voice. Children grow up. They become adults. And it is usually adults who provide the child's voice. The word "infant" means "without voice." The Romantic view of childhood, as seen in the Blake poems, and also with Rousseau, privileged the child as possessing a unique access to experience that becomes lost after the emergence of puberty. What Freud would later call the stage of latency, the period after infancy leading up to adolescence, becomes a period in the development of the human person infused with a new sense of interest and curiosity. Jean-Jacques Rousseau breaks the silence and places the figure of the child front and center, but he too retains a nostalgia for something lost. We vacillate, I conjecture, from positing the child as an empty slate to embodying all truths, but in each event, we are foreclosed to the child qua child.

    18.6.11

    Will I Shine Among the Shades in Hades Like Tiresias?

    Henry Fuseli, Tiresias appears to 
    Ulysses during the sacrificing (1780-1785) 

    Yesterday I was at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for my bi-monthly one hour visit. I go to the museum immediately after psychoanalysis. I'm sure there is a connection to that somehow. Reliving painful experience followed by the need to be absorbed by beauty seems like a rational explanation. Also: proximity. Dr. X's office is on the Upper East Side so it is not too far of a walk to attend a visit to one of the world's most voluminous holders of art. I checked in my bags. Bag attendant: "Do you have any electronic devices?" I answer a laconic "no." "Do you mind if we inspect your bag, sir?" I am secretly relieved my latest issue of Wet and Wild is absent. Just kidding. This is a kid-friendly blog. So I will say, "just kidding." Although I am sure there are a few number of kids who do read this blog. And if they do and they are scandalized then I am sure I can rightly join the ranks of Socrates's who was charged with "corruption of the youth." In fact, I just had a conversation about Socrates's trial in class last Thursday. Most students agree that Socrates is a cool cat. But, I wonder if they would have liked him if they had actually met him. I too think Socrates is a cool cat but I have a suspicion that I would not like him very much. I think it is the passage in the Meno that compares him to a stingray. Meno tells him that his frequent and accumulating questions without answers numb him like a sting ray's sting (or a jellyfish?). Why be so numbing Socrates? It goes against educational practice today. We are not supposed to overload our students with too many questions. Socrates asks Meno one question after another. Without answer. And more complicated. Can virtue be taught? He does not like Meno's answer so he asks him more questions. How can we get at the heart of virtue? Do we even know what virtue is in its essence? I don't think Socrates is satisfied that strength tells us anything about courage as a whole or that healthy bones tell us anything about health. Socrates wants to get at the heart of the matter. We don't know anything about the essence of a virtue. In fact we know nothing for certain about wholes in of themselves. We know via recollection. We remember knowledge. Since we existed before this life (our souls are immortal) we come into corporeal existences with the memory of our past existence buried deep within us. Knowledge is memory recall. The puzzle is the access to our soul's knowledge is not an open flood way. It is more like a dam with tiny holes allowing a minuscule of seepage to pass through. Damn transmigration of souls. How can I know anything if I do not even know that I must remember to know? That is the stingray part. At least for me. How do I access the treasure trove of knowledge from above? Do I look at beautiful things to stimulate my mind to recollect? Socrates suggests it is all by mere chance. So remember and some don't. The son of a wise man is not necessarily wise. The key is the tether. When you got it — hold it down. Don't let a morsel of knowledge get away and be able to distinguish the dross from the good stuff. I like how the Meno ends. Odysseus was able to identify Tiresias among the shades in Hell because Tiresias shone with a special light. He was a flitter of glory among shadows. In other words who knows when we will "get it"; maybe never, but the thing is, when we do in fact see it, we will know it.