Teachers may wish to display and/ or discuss with pupils the Law on Freedom of ‘religion or belief’ at some point during the duration of the Learning Unit when they feel it is appropriate.
The following activities can be used within the context of the three Abrahamic religions. They are all designed to promote respect and understanding between people and are valuable resources for other contexts.
This is an activity which introduces the ideas of similarities and differences and valuing uniqueness. The activity works for groups of various sizes
- ‘Lemons Activity’ (PSHE/Citizenship) The Same but Different
Enough lemons are needed for each member of the group
1. Give each member of the group a lemon
2. Ask everyone to look closely at their fruit, examine it for distinctive marks and feel the skin
3. Encourage each person to personalise their lemon by giving it a name
4. Collect all the lemons and place a bowl/basket
5. Spread all the lemons on the floor in front of the group
6. In turn, ask each pupil to come forward and collect their lemon
If there is an argument over whose lemon is whose, try to adjudicate. If pupils still can’t agree, place the lemon to one side as unidentified. If this happens, you should be left with two lemons at the end to reunite, but you should find that most people can somewhat amazingly successfully claim their fruit.
Reflection and Evaluation
Once everyone has been reunited with their lemons, hold a discussion around these questions and statements.
- How sure are they that they have claimed the correct fruit?
- How can they tell? Are they surprised that everyone could find their own and why?
- Encourage them to look at the parallels between this exercise and differentiating between people. E.g. How do you tell the difference between one person and another?
- Examine stereotypes. Are all lemons the same colour? Are they all the same shape? Introduce the word ‘stereotype'. Relate this exercise into the stereotypes that exist between people of different cultures, religions, races and genders
- What does this mean to the group?
Seeing things differently - Why people do not always agree?
This activity supports pupils’ thinking around seeing things from another perspective/viewpoint
Supply each pair of pupils with a lens and/or a mirror
1. Ask the pupils to look at the room in different ways using a mirror or through a selection of lenses and describe to a partner how they see things, what looks different. Discuss as a class the fact that although everyone is looking at the same room they see it differently
2. Can the pupils think of examples when people feel strongly but differently about things?
3. For example - supporting different football teams; different religions have different ‘Sabbath’ days
4. Explain that when people believe different things they sometimes see things differently. How could that present difficulties? How could people overcome those difficulties?
An activity to explore stereotyping further using the thinking skill of sorting by different criteria
- Alike and Different - In which ways are we alike? In which ways are we different?
1. Ask the groups to decide on as many different criteria for sorting people into groups by similarity and put on sticky notes
2. Share criteria with the rest of class and place this on the board
3. Can they group the criteria for example:
- eye colour/hair colour/height = physical appearance
- wears trousers/skirt/trainers/shoes = clothing
- enjoys football/dancing/swimming = physical hobbies
- enjoys reading/painting/play station = static pastimes
- lives in house/bungalow/flat/caravan = living place
- walks/catches the bus/travels by car/cycles to school = transport
- goes to church/synagogue/mosque/no place of worship = beliefs
- is in red/blue/green/yellow group/house at school = family/teaching groups
4. Ask pupils to discuss what they think & feel about grouping people like this
- When is it helpful to group people/when isn’t it?
- Does grouping people make a difference to how you view them, how well you get to know them?
5. Share thoughts with the class
- I never play with X at playtime because he/she always plays football and I don’t, so I don’t know them very well
- I know x really well because we go to the synagogue together but we don’t play together at school
6. Remind the children about the word ‘stereotyping’ – define it together. Look up the word ‘assumption’ and add it to the class Word Wall. Ask the following questions:
a. Do people sometimes make assumptions about you based on groups?
b. Do you sometimes make assumptions about others based upon the groups they are in? What is the result of that?
c. Who do you feel comfortable with and where?
How might the ideas about groups be related to the way different groups in society think and behave towards each other
This activity supports pupils to explore different scenarios and make choices for themselves about what they would do in those situations. The aim of the sessions is for pupils to discuss a range of options in a scenario that can provide the opportunity for them to explore the consequences of their suggested options and their associated feelings and beliefs.
We recommend you go to For Teachers Making Choices, a PSHE activity for guidance on carrying out this activity. There are also more detailed instructions at Making Choices Guide and Making Choices Scenario 1 and Making Choices Scenario 2.
Example Whole Class Lesson Plan – Making Choices
- Small discussion groups and a system of scribing will need to be identified
- The skill the pupils will be developing is that of ‘Managing one’s moral and social development.’
- Introduce the objective
- Objectives - I can explain why I believe in something, giving a variety of reasons
“This is because we need to be clear in our own minds not only what we would do or say in different circumstances but why”
The success criteria is for pupils to think and make decisions about what they would do or say in different circumstances. Tell the pupils that as a group they are going to explore a scenario or problem that they could encounter (it can be outside school as well as school focused).
Introduce the scenario
Your teacher says you are going to work in a group with people you would not choose to work with doing something you have never done before.
t this point, teachers could also draw pupils’ attention to the ‘I can’ statement – ‘I can sustain friendships over a period of time and join other friendship groups without hurting (upsetting) others’.
Teachers or learning support assistants could map the problem, solutions and consequences on the board. For examples see Making Choices Scenario 1 and Making Choices Scenario 2.
Ask the pupils to go into their small discussion groups and brainstorm as many possible options as they can think of. Explain that you are thinking of all possible options, good or not so good. At this stage only the options should be discussed (the consequences of these options will come later in the session). Allow 5 minutes for discussion and bring back to the whole class. Each group’s scribe should feedback their ideas and the teacher/learning support assistant could scribe on the large board. It may be necessary for another adult or the teacher to feed in more negative options as pupils may at first give what they think the teacher wants to hear! You may also encounter some bravado! Accept all suggestions without comment.
Next, if there are a large number of possible options, identify a couple of positive or negative ones or group them. Then ask pupils to return to their small discussion groups to talk about the consequences of these options. Once again, the group scribe should feedback to the class and their ideas be scribed on the board. All thoughts and ideas should again be accepted without comment other than asking ‘How do you think the person/you would feel if they/you did that?’. Accepting pupil’s negative reactions without comment is important. Often bravado will lead to negative statements which are designed to challenge the teacher/adult – be prepared to accept all suggestions by perhaps using a phrase such as ‘You might do that’. The aim of the session is for pupils to think about and come to their own decisions, not reiterate the ‘right answer’ for the teacher.
Finally, as a class, discuss the options. Sometimes, in order to help teachers avoid the temptation to be judgemental, pupils could be asked just to raise their hand if they now are clear what choice they would make in that scenario and why – but not necessarily explain themselves to the class.
The following could be displayed and provide a useful strategy /prompt for children to consider when faced with a difficult decision:
Discuss with pupils when and how they might use this strategy
- THINK (what are the possible options, what are the consequences of those options)
Use the same activity as in Phase two but change the scenario
Brush up on respect
For this activity, you need a toothbrush, a tube of toothpaste, a piece of A4 card, a marker and a lolly stick
1. Tell pupils that today everyone is going to ‘brush up’ on respect. Start by asking them to discuss some or all of these questions:
- What does ‘showing respect’ for others mean?
- Who do you respect? How do you show it?
- What does respect look like?
- What does respect sound like?
- How does respect feel?
Allow for five to ten minutes to share/collect ideas
2. Using the marker, draw a big “R” on the card. Tell the pupils that the “R” represents “respect”. Use their previous ideas to talk about what respect looks like when it comes out of our mouths - the words, the tone, the facial expressions and even the body language people use to show respect.
3. Tell pupils they are going to freshen their words by covering that “R” with toothpaste. A volunteer takes the tube and squeezes paste out of it to paint the “R”. As your volunteer is making sure it’s completely covered, help students make a connection between fresh breath and speaking good words, using good manners and maintaining a friendly tone of voice (Enquiring with Respect).
4. Then tell the students you’ve made a terrible mistake. You’ve just realized that this “R” is the wrong “R” and actually stands for “rude.” Invite your volunteer to help you take the word back.
5. Challenge your volunteer to put the toothpaste back into the tube. On the first attempt, your volunteer may try to retrace with the tube itself, hoping that the toothpaste will go back in. When that doesn’t work, offer your volunteer a lolly stick to keep trying, all the while discussing how it’s impossible to take “disrespectful, hurtful” words back. This serves as an excellent visual demonstration of the power of words because in the end, it’s very messy. Use that as a springboard to discuss the mess that ugly words can cause.
Phase Four and Five
Making Choices – perhaps have two sessions during these phases with different scenarios
Use the same activity as in Phase Two but change the scenario.