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Kids Philosophy Slamcomes to Lanesboro


Sun, Jan 7th, 2001
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Monday, January 8, 2001

When John Davis created The Great American Think-Off in 1993, a philosophy essay contest for the everyday person, he wondered how the concept could be targeted specifically for kids.

The Great American Think-Off was started in 1993 in New York Mills, Minnesota where Davis was the Director of the Regional Cultural Center. The Think-Off was designed to make philosophy accessible to the everyday person in a fun sports type format. The contest asks contestants to answer a philosophical question in a 750 word essay. This year’s question is “Should assisted suicide be legal?”

The Think-Off has attracted national media attention, including The Today Show, CNN, NPR, USA Today and the New York Times. In 1998, C-SPAN covered the Think-Off live. The winner is designated “America’s Greatest Thinker”.

This past summer Davis became the Executive Director of Cornucopia Art Center in Lanesboro, and brought his idea for a kid’s philosophy contest with him.

After several months of planning, Davis and Cornucopia have launched The Kids Philosophy Slam, a contest designed to make philosophy fun and accessible for kids and teens around the country.

This year The Kids Philosophy Slam will tackle the big question: “Which is More Powerful, Love or Hate?

“My grandfather taught philosophy to kids - 6th, 7th and 8th graders - which got me wondering how we could get today’s kids thinking,” Davis said. “By targeting schools we hope that teachers will use the Slam to integrate philosophy with other subjects.”

There are three categories of entries for the Slam. Grades 1-4 are encouraged to use a range of creative ways to address the topic of “Love or Hate”.

“They can draw a picture or use a combination of words and pictures to tell their story,” Davis said. “Entries in this category will be judged more on creativity.”

Entries from grades 5-8 will be required to write a 500 word essay and grades 9-12 a 700 word essay.

“With middle school kids were looking for personal experiences and feelings,” Davis said. “While with the older kids were looking for concepts, issues and the use of logic.”

Davis said that they want the focus of the philosophy contest to be on children’s own life experiences.

“We’re not really interested in ‘Well, Hitler was bad therefore...’ ,” Davis explained. “We want the kids to draw from their own experiences and observations in their life .....
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Fresh start or stalemate

Sun, Jan 7th, 2001
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Monday, January 8, 2001

For many, the start of the New Year brings little change when they return to work after the holidays. For the Fillmore County Board, change was a dominant theme at the first meeting of the Year 2001.

In a mood t ..... 
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A talk with the Senator

Sun, Jan 7th, 2001
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Monday, January 8, 2001

Prior to the opening session of the 2001 Minnesota Legislature on January 3, the Journal invited State Representative Greg Davids in to discuss the legislative session and what he expects to be its highlights and iss ..... 
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Election 2000:

Sun, Jan 7th, 2001
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One for the history booksBy Al MathisonMonday, November 13, 2000

Fillmore County voters turned out in large numbers last Tuesday, November 7. The auditor’s department reported that as of 7 a.m. on Election Day there were1 ..... 
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Sam goes visiting

Sun, Jan 7th, 2001
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Monday, January 1, 2001

People have been telling me about how much the residents of nursing homes love to see pets such as dogs and cats, so I thought that it would be nice if Sam and I paid them a visit. It was a couple of days after Christma ..... 
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The Gift of Life

Sun, Jan 7th, 2001
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Monday, December 18, 2000

When the phone rang at three a.m. last Monday morning, my husband Joe sat straight up out of a deep sleep, "Baby time," he said.

With one foot on the floor, he then heard me saying, "Yes, you can dry ginger a ..... 
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Where is Technology Headed?

Sun, Jan 7th, 2001
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Monday, January 8, 2001

No one is really exactly sure where technology is headed. But one thing is for sure. Some day I'll be telling my grandkids amazing, unbelievable stories about a time before the internet. Maybe they will be in awe at tal ..... 
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Simply to be trusted by a shy wild creature enhances one's self-respect. -Alexander Skutch

Sun, Jan 7th, 2001
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Monday, Decmber 25, 2000

Alexander Skutch is one of the great naturalists of our time. Almost seventy years ago, he went to Central America to study plants, but the tropical birds there quickly captured most of his attention. For ten years, he ..... 
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What’s In A Name?

Sun, Jan 7th, 2001
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Monday, January 8, 2001

While it may not have mattered much to Romeo’s Juliet, names are of paramount importance to those working in the biological sciences. Naturally, in the absence of names a discussion on virtually any topic would prove at ..... 
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