Worksheets for young people

These worksheets have been designed to introduce two of Mary Midgley's most important ideas: Philosophical Plumbing and Gaia theory. Both cover themes that are relevant to the pandemic and the broader environmental crisis.

This project aims to encourage more and different kinds of thinking. For more information about our work visit Women In Parenthesis.

Once you have completed the worksheets download your certificate!


Download the worksheets

These worksheets are aimed at children aged 6 - 13.
See the Notes for parents carers and teachers for more details.

Mary was interested in the way that our thinking can go wrong. She thought that philosophy (the kind of thinking that philosophers do) was a bit like plumbing. Download a worksheet and find out why!

Mary Midgley cared deeply about the natural world and was a pioneering environmental philosopher. She embraced Gaia theory, the idea of the earth as a living organism like a plant or animal.

Notes for teachers and parents

For more information about how these worksheets align with national curricula in England & Wales, Scotland and Ireland, and USA grades, see Notes for Parents and Teachers.

Keep in touch

One of the aims of Women In Parenthesis is to encourage more and different kinds of thinking. A crucial part of this is encouraging women and girls to see themselves as thinkers, creators and philosophers. Sign up to our newsletter to keep in touch and hear more about our projects and activities.


You can download and print your own certificates when you have completed the worksheets.


We would be extremely grateful if parents, guardians & teachers could help us by completing a brief (5 minute) survey which will help inform and improve our practice. As a thank you for your time and thoughts, we will send you an electronic copy of Mary Midgley’s unpublished radio talk, ‘Rings and Books’. This talk was written in 1953 and reflects on family life and philosophy.

Further ideas

Further ideas

Become a Young Poet

What do philosophy and poetry have in common? Once you have completed the worksheets have a look at Young Poets. Are you inspired to become a Midgley Young Poet? Send us a poem to be added to the Midgley Archive in Durham University's Special Collections.

Download our animal font

Visit the Philosophy by Postcard website to find out more and download the font.