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Socratic Club & Nimble Minds Vocabulary and Debating Workshop at the Wallace Museum - 2nd June



We hugely enjoyed working with Nimble Minds at the Wallace Museum for our vocabulary and debating workshop. 

We began by splitting into groups.

The Senior group started with a game which required each child to act out or explain the meaning of a word randomly chosen from this list:


  • assertive

  • devastating

  • impeccable

  • unruly

  • flawless

  • glum

  • brazen

  • turbulent

  • euphoric

  • inept

  • idyllic

The Junior group started with a paired vocabulary activity, using these words:

  • dense

  • clammy

  • dewy

  • spiteful

  • ecstatic

  • wistful

The groups then took turns to visit the armoury. Each child was given a table with a list of these words. Using a clipboard, they looked carefully at the objects on display, finding things/items and mnemonics to match to these words:

  • deadly

  • miniature

  • intimidating

  • embossed

  • convex

  • concave

  • detachable

  • steel

  • reins

  • sleek

  • chain-mail

  • robust

  • drab

  • flimsy

  • durable

  • spur

  • axe

  • pistol

  • barrel

  • encrusted

  • buckle

  • dagger


The children worked really well individually and with each other. After a brief snack and regroup we then proceeded with the next stage of the day - a guided tour of the Museum. 

Following an exceptional tour taking in many of the treasures of the collection, including paintings featured in 'Frozen', Sherlock Holmes and A Dance to the Music of Time, as well as references to Sun Kings, Ancient Greek Gods, and armour to impress Henry VIII, we ended our session with several debates and debating techniques. The motions here were inspired by the location and included:

'This House would charge entry to museums'; 'Science is more important than Art'; 'This House believes that Art should only be preserved if it is valuable (in monetary terms)'.

We were hugely impressed with the argumentation show on both proposition and opposition benches. In many cases we saw efforts to find a via media or middle ground to these philosophical questions. It was also encouraging to see plenty of POIs (Points of Information) and Active Listening. 

In addition, it was very impressive to hear the groups imbed their discourse with vocabulary from the morning workshop as well as examples from the collection. Very well done all!


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