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Lesson Plan: For Teachers: The Pope and His Peers

History, Religious Studies
3 lessons
To understand world religions and their leaders in comparison to one another
Using a variety of Web-based resources, students will research a leader of a world religion of their choice, then compare their findings.

Lesson Plan


Students will research and prepare a presentation about the leader of one of the world's major religions. This activity is suitable for all grades. Be sure that students choose their sources carefully, and that they are respectful of the information they gather.

The Task

Have each group choose a current religious leader (including Pope John Paul II) whom they would like to investigate. (You may want to approve these choices before work begins.) Once each group has chosen a leader they should do research to prepare a presentation that includes the following elements:

Biography of the leader
Information about his/her religion and its central beliefs
An outline of his/her beliefs
How this person has impacted their society and the world

The Process

Students will work in groups. They may wish to assign roles within the group, or to assign specific research areas to different group members. Students' research focus should be web-based, but students may use other sources as well. Students should be sure to cite all sources used. Students can use any format they wish for their presentation, but all group members must take part in the preparation of the final product.



Have students present their findings to the class. As groups present, other students can keep a list of the basic tenets of each religion. After each presentation, encourage questions from the other students.

When all presentations are complete, students can compare and contrast the information they have gathered about each religion. You may wish to extend the class discussion to compare and contrast the impact on society of each person researched.

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