The World’s Most Powerful Animal

I love the way that hyperlinks work. I usually start my day by checking my e-mails and often these have links within them which take me on a journey of discovery.

Today I received an e-mail from The Social Psychology Network that informed me of the following:


Social Psychology Network has just launched a new partner site,, designed to promote “action teaching”—the teaching counterpart to Kurt Lewin’s action research. The new site is packed with free resources, including 40 award-winning classroom activities, field experiences, and student assignments that instructors are welcome to use or adapt. Please stop by for a visit!

So I stopped by for a visit using the link. Once in a new site, you have further links to explore.

I tried the following:


The following looked interesting mainly because of the picture:


I found out that the Humane Education Institute has a number of online resources for teaching important aspects of our humanity to schoolchildren from primary through to the secondary sectors.

One that caught my eye (it is all about selectivity!) was the following:

The World’s Most Powerful Animal

One example of an activity we offer for grade school children is The World’s Most Powerful Animal, in which the teacher enters the classroom with two boxes and a letter, and asks the children to help solve a make-believe mystery:

“As I was on my way here, I passed through a forest. I was deep in thought, not really looking where I was going. Then suddenly, I bumped into a large tree. When I looked at the tree, I saw this Letter From the Universe tucked into a branch. I took it down, and to my surprise, saw that it was addressed to all of us! Under the letter were these two little boxes. I found this all a little puzzling, so I thought I’d bring the letter and boxes here so that we can solve the mystery together.”

The letter explains that one of the boxes contains the most dangerous animal in the world, and the other contains the most powerful animal (each box is carefully labelled and crafted with breathing holes). After reading the letter out loud, the teacher peers into the box labelled “most dangerous animal” and expresses shock before passing the box around to the students. As the children, one by one, open the lid and peer into the box, a mirror on the bottom reflects their own face. After discussing in an age-appropriate way how certain human activities endanger the environment, other animals, and each other, the teacher looks into the second box and breaks into a smile when peering inside. Again the teacher passes the box, and again the children see their own reflection. This time, the teacher explores the concept of using our power to solve problems and make the world a better place, eliciting ideas, examples, and inspiration from the children. (my emphasis).

The last sentence, with words made bold by me. explained why I was so interested in this lesson plan. It got children thinking and allowed them to examine their own lives. It involved them with the rest of humanity and it did not have specific answers that could later be tested.

This, to me, is the best sort of education. I hope that any of my colleagues reading this post will feel the same as I do, and explore this valuable site as well as many of the other links to sites on the Humane Education Resource that I found through a simple early morning exploration of the web!



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