Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Analyzing the Debate on Religion in the Classroom
If students have not scanned the site, they may wish to do so now. Briefly review with students their definitions of religion, distinguishing between the denotations and connotations associated with the word. For instance, a denotation would be "system of faith" and connotations would be "righteousness, godliness, devotion, sanctity, virtue, duty, and obligation." Through discussing the connotations of the term, lead students to recognize the powerful feelings that can be associated with the word "religion".
Outline the Opportunity
Divide the class into groups. Ask each group to choose one of the clips from the topic and to analyze it. For the clip they are analyzing, students should complete the Download Sheet for this activity (Religion in the Classroom: Analyzing the Debate) or create and complete, in their notebooks, a chart with the following topics: Title, Speakers, Purpose, Structure, Summary, Reflections, Connections, Evaluation, Conclusion.
For Purpose, students should identify why the program was created. For Structure, they should identify its format (for example, survey, debate, interview). After students summarize the content of their chosen clip, they should provide their own reflections on and insights into the program. They should then make any connections they can with other things they have heard, read, or thought about the issue. For Evaluation, students should discuss the pros and cons of the viewpoints expressed. In the Conclusion, they should give their own opinion on the views presented.
Revisit and Reflect
Create new groups to include one member from each original group. In the new groups created, each person will be an expert on his or her clip, and summarize it for the others, then lead a discussion on the views expressed in the clip. Encourage students to share their own opinions on the information they have viewed in their clip.
Have pairs of students role-play an interview with one of the key figures in the debate.