Seeing businessmen sleeping in what looks like an up-market battery hen house can certainly make children think about the human condition and why we are on this planet.
How important is somebody's job in relation to the other commitments they have: to family, friends, community, recreation and leisure? Can work affect your health? (dangerous jobs, stress in the workplace). Would you take a job that involved travel? Being away from home for long periods? Night or weekend work? Is it worth making sacrifices for a big salary? If so, how far would you go?
How long do people sleep? (adults seven to eight hours, children often nine hours or more, babies 15 to 16 hours). What happens in sleep? (a repeated pattern - we sleep for about 70 to 90 minutes and then have a REM (rapid eye movements) period lasting five to 15 minutes). REM periods are often when we dream and are very important for proper rest. Why do we need sleep? For rest and recovery; people woken up during their REM periods, like parents of small babies, can become extremely irritable.
The human condition
How do you feel about people being in numbered cubicles? What about battery hens? Is it undignified? Demeaning? Or just practical?
Write a story about (a) "my most interesting dream", or (b) imagine you fell asleep for 100 years: what was the world like when you woke up?
* Ted Wragg is professor of education at Exeter University.