“Big Ideas by Little Philosophers” (BiLP) – Fall 2019

“Big Ideas by Little Philosophers” (BiLP) is a dynamic, philosophy-inspired television-classroom series designed to help youth share their big ideas with the world.  A collaborative venture with Helena Civic Television and Cottonwood School, the program combines classroom and one-on-one mentorship, pedagogy, philosophy, and theater.  A mash-up of Mr. Rogers, Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, and Socrates, the BiLP program aims to highlight the joy and fun of doing philosophy and the rich philosophical terrain available to and present in our youth.

About Our Fall “Film & Philosophy” Project

During our Fall session we dove into the world of film & philosophy via the Twilight ZoneOur group watched a series of selected short films & Twilight Zone episodes, followed by youth-led, facilitated classroom discussions.  Young thinkers were asked to identify, reflect and respond to various philosophical elements and themes present in the films, as well as make comparisons to experiences in their own communities and lives.  Then, in preparation for our Winter session script creation and filming, we began a series of story creation endeavors inspired by our classroom discussions and a little game we called “And the Moral of the Story Is…”  The Fall session culminated in a studio visit to Helena Civic Television where our young thinkers shared their ideas with the Helena community.


Why films?

  • Fun to watch
  • Spark imagination
  • Great mediums for exploring by way of reflecting upon and discussing things that come up in the movies

Why Twilight Zone?

  • They are awesome and timeless
  • Rod Serling was kind of like a modern day Socrates!

Learning Objectives 

  • Introduction to various modes of expression/ideas through film
  • Learning how to watch films with an eye for their philosophical content
  • Critical analysis & discussion about philosophical issues presented in various episodes
  • Introduction and reflection about/on key philosophical themes and topics
  • Application of philosophical thinking to specific group-selected topic through self-directed/written/performed film


WHAT’S NEXT?  The Winter session of our BiLP “Film & Philosophy” project is in progress and consists of a hands-on, creative endeavor incorporating work explored in the Fall session.  Students are working together to create a Twilight Zone & philosophy-inspired film.  


Thank You’s

Thank you to Cottonwood ALC & Helena Civic Television for embarking on this fun journey with us & to Philosophy Learning & Teaching Organization, Humanities Montana, and Montana Internet for helping to fund our 2019 Fall & Winter BiLP program!

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