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.

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 pupils 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.

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 touch the wind?
  • If you borrow a million pounds does that make you a millionaire
  • If I ask you if I can steal your pen and you say yes, is that stealing?
  • Are you what you eat?
  • Do clothes make people ‘cool’?
  • Is combing your hair an art?


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