Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone – Planning Overview

Written by Dan

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Are you looking to bring the magic of Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone into your classroom?

If so, this blog post is going to be perfect for you! Here, we will go through some planning tips and ideas that can help make your academic unit on this fantastic book even more magical.

We’ll look at fun activities and creative resources and discuss how exploring the themes in the novel helps foster critical thinking skills among students.

So please don’t wait any longer — jump straight into our planning overview of Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone!

Related: For more, check out our article on Holes by Louis Sachar  here.

Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone

Table of Contents

The Storyline of Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone

Harry Potter’s journey begins when he receives his invitation to Hogwarts School, only to be taken away from him by his horrible uncle.

That is quickly followed by Hagrid’s arrival, which forcibly escorts Harry out of his Normal World and into the adventure world of the Second Act.

The First Pinch Point occurs shortly after, as a dangerous troll invades the school’s dungeons, and Harry and Ron bravely face it to rescue Hermione.

This emphasises the power and intent of the antagonistic force within the conflict, setting up the Midpoint in a big set-piece scene, where Hermione sees Snape casting a spell on Harry’s Nimbus 2000 broomstick during a Quidditch match and lights his cloak on fire with her wand, believing he is jinxing Harry.

At the Second Pinch Point, while trying to find out more information on what Fluffy is guarding in the Restricted Section of the library, Harry (wearing an invisibility cloak) witnesses Snape threatening another teacher—Professor Quirrell— paving the way for the Third Plot Point.

While serving detention with Hagrid in Dark Woods, Harry encounters Voldemort—the one who killed his parents and left him scarred. Fortunately for him, an intervening centaur saves him from almost certain death.

Believing that Snape has found a way past Fluffy and onto acquiring the philosopher’s stone, Harry, along with Ron and Hermione, rush towards the final confrontation to stop Snape, only to discover that it was Professor Quirrel who was hosting Voldemort’s remains all along.

After engaging in battle with Quirrel, Harry eventually succeeds in killing him, resulting in Voldemort’s spirit fleeing. The victory leads Gryffindor House -to which Harry and his friends belong – to winning House Cup. As a result, they depart Hogwarts for their summer holidays.

Related: For more, check out our article on Matilda by Roald Dahl here.

1Intro to SeriesIntroduce J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter. Discuss fantasy genre.Read chapter 1. Initial impressions and KWL chart.Discussion and KWL chart.
2Character StudyAnalyze main characters and traits.Create character profiles. Predict actions.Profile presentations. Predictions.
3SettingExplore Hogwarts, Diagon Alley. Discuss world-building.Map settings. Real world comparison.Map detail. Written comparison.
4ThemesIdentify themes like friendship, bravery.Group debates on themes. Reflective journals.Discussion participation. Journal insights.
5Plot & ConflictUnderstand plot structure, conflicts.Plot diagram. Conflict examples.Diagram accuracy. Conflict exercise.
6Narrative ViewExamine narrative perspective.Write scene from another perspective. Narrator reliability discussion.Peer scene assessment. Discussion input.
7SymbolismExplore symbols, motifs.Identify symbols. Motif collage.Symbol explanation. Collage creativity.
8LanguageEnhance vocabulary and language use.Vocabulary quizzes. Rewrite passage.Quiz scores. Passage review.
9Creative WritingEncourage creative writing.Write a short story. Invent magical object/creature.Writing piece. Originality.
10Final ProjectsApply novel knowledge to projects.Group projects. Presentations.Project effectiveness. Presentation skills.
Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone

Key Themes in ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Exploration of Friendship

Throughout the story, Harry is joined on his quest by Ron and Hermione, who both prove to be great loyal friends. Together they face obstacles, figure out solutions and save each other’s lives multiple times.

This serves to demonstrate the power of friendship and camaraderie throughout their journey.

Triumph of Good over Evil

At the end of the story, Harry defeats Voldemort due to his courage and inner strength, demonstrating how good will eventually triumph over evil.

This serves as a reminder that even when faced with formidable opponents with an array of seemingly unbeatable powers, there will still be a way for good to prevail with the right kind of courage and strength.

Growing Up

This book also deals with Harry’s coming-of-age as he accepts more responsibility for himself and his decisions, learning more about life lessons such as standing up for what he believes in even despite overwhelming odds posed before him, being worthy of trust from those around him, making friendships that last through thick and thin, understanding not just physical dangers but also psychological ones – all culminating into him becoming a better person along his journey.

Related: For more, check out our article on The Witches by Roald Dahl here.

Characters in ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry Potter

Harry is the protagonist of this story and comes from a magical family. He has been living with his Muggle (non-magical) uncle and aunt, who have tried to prevent him from discovering his magical heritage.

Most of the adventure occurs at Hogwarts School, where he meets Hermione and Ron, quickly becoming lifelong friends. His journey is filled with unexpected twists and turns as he works hard to protect himself and his friends from Voldemort.

Hermione Granger

Hermione is an intelligent and determined witch who quickly bonds with Harry and Ron. She is more educated than either of them but proves invaluable by providing knowledge when they need it most.

She helps them complete tasks that are sometimes too difficult for any one of them alone, such as when she sets Snape’s robes on fire during a Quidditch match.

Ron Weasley

Ron is Harry’s red-haired best friend who stands by him throughout their adventures.

He makes up for what he lacks in intelligence with loyalty and bravery, such as when he voluntarily steps onto a chessboard full of pieces that move independently to save Harry from danger during their attempt to stop Snape from stealing the philosopher’s stone.

Severus Snape

Snape is often depicted as a villain due to his unhelpful attitude towards Harry. Still, later on, it becomes clear that he has hidden motivations for protecting him against Voldemort without giving away his identity too soon.

Albus Dumbledore

Dumbledore acts like an all-knowing mentor throughout the story, seemingly answering every question before him and watching for any potential danger posed towards Harry or anyone else under his watchful gaze.

He manipulates events so that Harry can prepare himself properly for the ultimate battle against Voldemort without ever revealing too much information at once.


Voldemort serves as one of the primary antagonists in this book–a powerful dark wizard who was responsible for murdering Harry’s parents as well as countless other victims over time.

He seeks immortality through various dangerous methods and plots against both wizards and Muggles (non-magical people). Harry has no choice but to confront Voldemort head-on to save everyone around them for good to triumph over evil.

Teaching Opportunities From ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Building teamwork and collaboration – the story of Harry, Hermione, and Ron emphasises the importance of working together on a common goal.

Understanding personal identity –the novel explores identity as Harry discovers more about his magical family heritage and his strengths and weaknesses in intimate relationships.

Analysing complex problems – The trio often needs creative thinking to solve puzzles or outwit opponents when their direct approach fails them.

Conflict resolution- throughout their journey, the characters must learn how to manage disagreements between themselves and other characters without resorting to violence.

Learning about ethical decisions – the themes of good versus evil bring up important questions about morality, justice, and loyalty that students can explore further through meaningful conversations or discussions.

Two Lesson Plans for ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Lesson Plan 1: Building Teamwork and Collaboration


Students will learn how to work together as a team to achieve a common goal.


Introduce the concept of teamwork and collaboration with a brief overview. Explain how it is an essential problem-solving skill that can help students solve conflicts and understand complex problems. Introduce the characters of Harry, Hermione, and Ron about this problem-solving skill.

Main Teaching Points

  1. Interdependence – Show examples of how Harry, Hermione, and Ron needed each other to succeed. Focus on how they relied on each other’s strengths while working towards their common goal.
  2. Communication – Discuss how communication between team members is essential to successful collaboration. Ask students what communication tactics would be most effective for different scenarios – e.g., brainstorming solutions versus carrying out tasks.
  3. Critical Thinking – Encourage students to practice necessary thinking skills such as analysing evidence, considering all angles before concluding, and asking questions of themselves and others during problem-solving activity stages.
  4. Problem-Solving – Demonstrate the importance of creative thinking when faced with a lack of immediate solutions by discussing moments during which the trio has outwitted opponents or solved puzzles through unconventional means.
  5. Motivation – Discuss how motivation among team members can be used as an additional driving force for success in completing tasks or overcoming obstacles. Encourage discussion about strategies for encouraging team motivation (e .g., recognising individual contributions).

Reflection & Key Questions

Discuss the benefits of working together collaboratively and moments where individual contributions may have been overlooked due to group dynamics. Pose questions such as “How does teamwork help us reach our goals?” or “How can we ensure everyone’s contribution is valued?”

Lesson Plan 2: Understanding Personal Identity


Students will explore their identity by reflecting on Hogwarts School characters in the story of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.


Introduce the concept of self-identity by explaining why understanding ourselves is crucial in relationships, decision-making, and confidently living authentically.
Move into introducing Harry and his journey within Hogwarts School with an emphasis on challenging his existing beliefs around himself while learning more about his magical family heritage at the same time.

Main Teaching Points:

  1. Self-Awareness – discuss how exploring one’s identity helps them gain insight into who they are and what makes them unique from others. Emphasise that this is about stories and being honest about feelings, interests, and values to live more authentically.
  2. Difficult Decisions – demonstrate how choices made around identity can be difficult but necessary depending on the context by discussing tough decisions that were made by Harry throughout his journey, whether deciding between loyalty towards Snape or Dumbledore or even him choosing friendships over ambition.
  3. Personal Growth stresses that understanding identity allows us room to grow because it allows us to see our potential while also giving us tools for reflective dialogue when processing our experiences positively or negatively throughout life’s journey.
  4. Express Yourself – encourage students to express themselves creatively, whether through writing, art, or other forms, so they can share who they are without judgement from others.
  5. Self-Love – discuss methods for maintaining healthy relationships with ourselves, such as self-care activities like journaling, meditation, or physical exercise.
Feel free to connect this topic back to any characters from Hogwarts who may have struggled with self-love at times, including Harry himself, internalising blame after challenging certain norms within school settings, especially those imposed on him due to being found before Voldemort kills him off entirely towards the end book series overall.

Reflections & Key Questions :

Ask students to reflect on their thoughts, feelings, and personal identity experiences. They should consider questions like:
  • What motivates me?
  • What am I passionate about?
  • What do I want out of life?
  • Who do I want to become?
  • How do I express myself?
Check to see if any patterns arise among learners’ similarities and differences. Also, ask them what tips give another person looking to figure out their identity.

10 Books with Themes Similar to ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’

  1. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
  2. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  3. Eragon by Christopher Paolini
  4. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
  5. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
  6. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
  7. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
  8. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
  9. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
  10. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K Le Guin


Q1: Why should I consider using “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” in my teaching?

A1: An excellent question! Remember, literature provides a wealth of opportunities for learning. J.K.Rowling’s enchanting tale is rich with themes, characters, and situations that can spark discussions, inspire creative thinking, and enhance comprehension skills. Can’t you just imagine the excitement this could bring to your classroom?

Q2: How can I use this book to teach thematic analysis?

A2: Ah, thematic analysis – a cornerstone of literary studies! “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” presents various universal themes like friendship, bravery, and the struggle between good and evil. By analyzing these, students can gain a deeper understanding of the narrative and relate it to their own experiences. Doesn’t that sound like an engaging way to explore literature?

Q3: Can this book be used to teach character development?

A3: Absolutely! The book offers a wide array of characters, each with their unique traits and arcs. Students can chart these developments throughout the story, enhancing their comprehension and analytical skills. Can you envision how this could foster a more profound appreciation for character dynamics?

Q4: How can I incorporate this book into creative writing exercises?

A4: Isn’t it exciting to think about the potential here? You could encourage students to write alternate endings, create new adventures for the characters, or even invent their magical creatures. Such exercises can stimulate imagination, enhance writing skills, and foster a love for storytelling. Can you imagine the creative masterpieces your students could produce?

Q5: Can I use “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” to teach moral lessons?

A5: Indeed, you can! The book is replete with moral lessons, from the importance of loyalty and courage to the value of friendship and self-sacrifice. Discussing these can help students develop their moral compass and cultivate empathy. Isn’t it amazing how literature can contribute to character building?

Q6: How can I use this book to enhance vocabulary and language skills?

A6: The beauty of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” lies in its rich, imaginative language. By studying the book, students can learn new words, understand their usage, and appreciate the power of language in storytelling. Can you see how this could boost their linguistic prowess?


Teachwire  offers a comprehensive KS2 Book Topic focused on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, including activities, worksheets, videos and additional materials to teach the novel.

TES provides a whole scheme of work and a set of resources designed to help teachers introduce the characters, themes, and plot points from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in the classroom setting.

Reading Is Fundamental provides free resources to bring the classic story of Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone alive in classrooms or other educational environments with activities such as book reviews, writing projects and movie adaptations that can be used to supplement central text reading or comprehension tasks.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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