February 15-26. The vPlus Festival is an online festival from Potential Plus UK, full of workshops, webinars and discussions for young people with enquiring minds, their families and schools.


Cartoon cloud with a face looking surprised


Can you touch the wind?

A Thunk is a simple question about everyday things designed to stop you in your tracks and to help you to look at the world in a completely different way. Thunks help individuals to develop philosophical thinking, confidence in their own opinions and the ability to listen to others, through open-ended questions where there are no right or wrong answers.

If you expect the unexpected, will the unexpected still be expected?
If there was a magic pill that meant that you could never fail, would you take it?
Are your shadows part of you?

Thunks are great to ponder individually but also benefit hugely from group input. In school they offer a great way to get learners thinking and enable teachers to understand HOW students are thinking and what knowledge they have.  All learners are able to contribute to a class discussion and teachers are able to facilitate this discussion by building on one person’s answer and including all members of the class.

 If we’re all told to be an individual, is there such thing as being ordinary?
If we’ve read the whole dictionary, is every other book a remix?
If you borrow a million dollars does that make you a millionaire
If I ask you if I can steal your pen and you say yes, is that stealing?

The term thunks to describe the use of simple questions to develop thinking comes from Ian Gilbert’s book The Little Book of Thunks: 260 Questions to make your brain go ouch!

Can you be prepared for a surprise?
Can you have too much money?
Would you want to remember everything if you could?
Can you trust anything on the internet?

For a comprehensive source of thunking questions see the website Thunks: Questions to Make Your Brain Go Ouch https://www.independentthinking.co.uk/thunks /   which has over 2000 thunks and nearly 190,000 answers so far.  You can also submit your own thunk questions there.

Is childhood the best time of our lives?
Would life be better without mobile phones?
Does the way we look affect the way we behave?

Get Thunking!

This blog was first published on the Potential Plus UK website in April 2020.  Visit Potential Plus UK’s Blog Page or our Learning Resources Page to find more interesting activities and challenges.