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Ethics and Religious Culture Lesson Plan

Religious Symbols

Lesson Plan Overview


Subject: Ethics and Religious Culture
Cycle/Grade level: Cycle 1, secondary I
Lesson: This 75 minute lesson is situated at the beginning of the course curriculum. Its
purpose is to serve as an introduction to the five major world religions, focusing on their
respective symbols and their meanings.
Learning Objectives

Students will understand what a religious symbol is and why they are used in
different religions.
Students will learn about the main symbols of the five major religions in the
world.
Students will understand the importance of symbols in telling different aspects of
different religions.
Students will be able to identify and differentiate between religious symbols
Students will recognize and acknowledge the similarities and differences across
religions.
Students will recognize the diversity of religious beliefs and perspectives.
Demographics

This particular unit is intended, but not restricted, to a suburban, upper socio-economic
High School in Montreal. There is a strong emphasis on sports, sciences, and
mathematics in this hypothetical high school, and little attention is given to the Ethics and
Religious Culture programs. As such, students tend to be relatively close-minded towards
the few students in the school who exercise different religious practices other than the
Christian norm. Resources in this school are replete; classrooms are equipped with IPads, smart boards, and students are encouraged to use their devices.
Guiding Questions
What is a symbol? Why are symbols used? What are some symbols you see in every day
life? Can the same symbol have different meanings for different people? Do you know
any religious symbols?
Cumulative Assignment
For the last 30 minutes of the lesson, students will be asked to create their own symbol.
Similar to a religious symbol, students symbols are meant to represent their values,
beliefs, history, and interests. Students are encouraged to use the classroom I-Pads to
create their symbols but are also welcome to use construction paper, pencil crayons, and
any other materials that is accessible to them in the classroom. Attached to their symbol
should be a short paragraph explaining their symbol and how it represents different facets
of themselves.

Subject Specific Competencies


1. Reflects on Ethical Questions
a. Key Feature I: Analyze a situation from an ethical point of view
i. Manifestation: Compares points of view: students will understand
that different religions use different symbols to represent different
ideas, beliefs, and values. In group discussions at the beginning of
the lesson, students will compare their own answer and
perspectives with regards to the questions on the online poll.
b. Key Feature II: Examines a variety of cultural, moral, religious,
scientific, or social references.
i. Manifestation: Finds the main references presented in different
points of view: symbols in themselves refer to ideas, beliefs, and
values. The myriad of religious symbols represents different points
of view of different religions and their respective beliefs.
ii. Manifestation: Looks for the role and meaning of these references:
This is one of the main objectives of this lesson. To recognize and
understand the role and meaning of symbols in different religions.
iii. Manifestation: Considers other references: Students culminating
assignment asks them to consider their own beliefs, interests,
histories, and anything else that represents them in their
construction of their own symbol.
iv. Manifestation: Compares the meaning of certain references in
different contexts: One of the guiding questions explores this
manifestation Can a symbol mean something different to different
people?
2. Demonstrates an understanding of the phenomenon of religion
a. Key Feature I: Analyzes forms of religious expression.
i. Manifestation: Describes and puts into context forms of religious
expression: Students will recognize that symbols are a form of
religious expression.
ii. Manifestation: Look for the meaning and role of forms of religious
expression: Students will be informed on the role and meanings of
religious symbols.
iii. Manifestation: Makes connections between these forms of
expression and different religious traditions: Different religions
have different symbols and represent different ideas, values,
beliefs, and traditions.
iv. Manifestation: Reflects on his/her explorations and explanations:
Through group and class discussions, students reflect on their
answers and ideas regarding symbolism in religion.
b. Key Feature II: Makes connections between forms of religious
expression and the social and cultural environment.
i. Manifestation: Identifies forms of religious expression in space
and time: Delving into religious symbols as a form of religious
expression in different religions.

ii. Manifestation: Relates such forms of expression to aspects of the


social and cultural environment both here and elsewhere in the
world: Students will acknowledge the differences of religions and
the different symbols used in these respective religions around the
world.
iii. Looks for the meaning and role of these forms of expression in the
lives of individuals and groups: Exploring the meaning behind
each symbol unearths their respective roles for individuals and
groups in each respective religion.
iv. Reflects on his/her explorations and thoughts: The carminative
assignment, as well as group and class discussions, will cue
students to reflect on their understand of symbolism as a form of
expression. In constructing their own symbols, within the scope of
an Ethics and Religious Culture, students will no doubt incorporate
symbolism in their assignment to represent some of their own
beliefs.
3. Engages in Dialogue (Folded into both competency 1 and 2)
The driving force of this lesson, of teaching really, is dialogue. Though the
teacher will spend part of the class formally informing the class through a
power point, the slides are really meant to stimulate questions and discussion.
The teacher should engage and encourage students to ask questions and share
their opinions and perspectives. Religion is a potent subject peppered with
differences in opinions; I have seldom witnessed boring religious dialogues.
Equity, respect, and a freedom of expression should be paramount in the
classroom.

Lesson Plan
(Situated in week 1)
Subject: Ethics and Religious Culture
Cycle/Grade level: Cycle 1 Secondary I
Unit: Religious Symbols Unit.
Time: One 75-minutes period
Rationale: This lesson is situated during the first week of twelve-week Ethics and
Religious Culture unit. It is an introductory lesson to the Ethics and Religious Culture
unit. There are not many students in this high school who actively practice a religion, and
since the focus of this school is highly sports/science/math based, there is little time or
effort allotted to the Ethics and Religious Culture programs. As such, this introductory
lesson is meant to introduce students to the five major world religions, without
overwhelming them with information. Religious symbols often present themselves in the
media and are often the first thing that comes to mind when we think of religions.
Delving into these will be an effective/affective way to introduce different religions and
meet the lessons learning objectives.
Material

Smartboard

Writing materials (pen, pencil, paper)

Creative materials (glue, construction paper, pencil crayons)

I-Pads

Students cell-phones

Hook / Pre-Assessment (5 minutes)


Students will log onto polleverywhere.com on their cellphones to answer a series of
questions with regards to symbolism and religious symbols. (See Appendix A)
Development
I. Group Discussion (10 minutes)

Students will get into groups of 4-5 students and discuss/review their poll
answers.

II. Class Discussion (10 minutes)

In their groups, students will use their devices to research and present a symbol to
the class and explain what that symbol represents. This symbol does not
necessarily have to be religious, but should underline students understanding that
symbols can be used to communicate ideas, emotions, values, beliefs, people,
etc

III. Power Point Presentation / Discussion (20 minutes) (See Appendix B)

The Power Point presentation will begin with a series of guiding questions to
stimulate class discussion and recapitulate the questions, ideas, and concepts
presented on the online poll.

Students will then be introduced to the main symbol of the five major world
religions.

A class discussion will culminate the informative stage of the lesson, reiterating
the notions and uses behind religious symbols.

Culmination (30 minutes)

Now that students understand how symbols can be used to represent ideas, values,
and beliefs, they are expected to create their own. Their symbol need not
necessarily be religious in that it solely represents their religious beliefs, but
rather represent their histories, their values, interests, and personal beliefs. Along
with their symbol, students will include a short paragraph explaining their
symbol. Students are given the lesson objectives and evaluation rubric prior to
beginning so as to provide them with a clear understanding of what is expected of
them!

Assessment:

Students will be assessed on their participation during in class and group


discussions. Their cumulative assignment, completed at the end of class, will be
assessed through the evaluation rubric (See Appendix C)

1) What
a.
b.
c.
d.

Appendix A (Online Poll)


emotion does the following picture most closely evoke?
Happiness
Hopefulness
Sympathy
Anger

2) What
a.
b.
c.
d.

word best describes the following picture?


Fear
Courage
Sadness
Joy

3) A symbol is:
a. A weird shape
b. A shape that has to do with religion only
c. Something used to represent something else
(ideas/emotions/people/values/beliefs)
d. Something you hit with drum sticks.
4) Which statement best describes the following pictures
a.
b.

c.

d.

A) a. is the only symbol because it is religious.


B) b. and d. are not symbols because they does not represent
something else
C) c. is not a symbol because it does not represent anything
religious.
D) A) and C)
E) All of the above pictures can be symbols because they can
represent an idea, an emotion, a person, a value, or a belief.
5) Symbols are important in religion because:
a. They help you recognize the specific religion.
b. They communicate ideas, histories, people, values, beliefs of
a specific religion
c. All of the above
Appendix B (Power Point Presentation)

Appendix C (Evaluation Rubric)

Culminating Assignment Rubric


Dont forget to attach your explanatory paragraph to your religious symbol!

Name:
Category

Participation

Actively and often


engaged in class
and group
discussions.
Encouraged and
allowed others to
participate.
All lesson
objectives are met
and
demonstrated. An
excellent depth of
understanding of
the lesson.

Knowledge /
Understanding

Engaged in class
and group
discussions.

Participated in class
and group discussion
but could have been
more involved.

Did not participate in


discussions.

Most lesson
objectives were met.
Minor errors but the
overall ideas are
understood and
manifested.

Some inaccuracies,
some information is
partial, some work
may be incomplete.

Topic and/or main ideas


are absent or very
unclear.

You
sco

Design / Layout

Grammar

The design/layout
is neat, clear, and
visually appealing.

Is attractive in terms
of design, layout and
neatness.

Is acceptably attractive
though it may be a bit
messy.

There are no
grammatical
mistakes.

There is 1
grammatical
mistake.

There are 2
grammatical mistakes.

Is distractingly messy,
unattractive, or very
poorly designed.
There are more than 2
grammatical mistakes.

Total

/4

Learning Objectives

Students will understand what a religious symbol is and why they are used in
different religions.
Students will learn about the main symbols of the five major religions in the
world.
Students will understand the importance of symbols in telling different aspects of
different religions.
Students will be able to identify and differentiate between religious symbols
Students will recognize and acknowledge the similarities and differences across
religions.
Students will recognize the diversity of religious beliefs and perspectives.