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Pip the Dog

pip the dog app Audience: KS2

Subject: PSHE/English/Science

Topic: Confidence and responsibility, Citizenship, Group discussion and interaction

Question: Should Emma be allowed to keep Pip?

Author: Anne de A’Echevarria




This mystery has been designed particularly with the PSHE/citizenship and English curriculum in mind. However, it also has cross curricular links with the science curriculum in relation to ‘Life processes and living things: Humans and other animals’, and can also be used to foster the development of generic higher order thinking skills.

It has 25 slips all about a young girl called Emma, who finds a dog in the park. Although she is really fond of the dog (Pip), students must consider all aspects of Emma's life and decide whether she should be allowed to keep him or not. Snippets are provided which range from information on Emma's family, her pocket money, friends and the various responsibilities of actually owning and taking care of a dog.

The mystery could be used to stimulate discussion in two particular areas: 

1) Developing confidence and responsibility

Relevant learning objectives might include:

  • to recognise what is fair and unfair, and what is right and wrong
  • to share their opinions on things that matter to them and explain their views
  • to recognise, name and deal with their feelings in a positive way

2) Preparing to play an active role as citizens

Relevant learning objectives might include:

  • to take part in discussions with small groups and the whole class
  • to take part in a simple debate about a topical issue 
  • to recognise choices they can make, and recognise the difference between right and wrong
  • to realise that people and other living things have needs, and that they have responsibilities to meet them


The mystery could also be used to support the development of group discussion and interaction:

Relevant learning objectives might include:

  • To take turns in speaking
  • To relate their contributions to what has gone on before - building on the ideas of others
  • To take different views into account
  • To extend their ideas in the light of discussion


The mystery also has connections with the science curriculum in relation to ‘Life processes and living things: Humans and other animals’.  It could be used to stimulate discussion about animal welfare, particularly ‘how to treat animals with care and sensitivity’.

Thinking skills

Learning objectives relating to the generic thinking skills that the mystery aims to develop might include:

*To justify ideas with reasons
*To form a well-structured explanation
*To speculate and draw inferences from information