Awareness, Mystery and Value (amv) 2011



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Awareness, Mystery and Value (AMV) 2011


KS2 Unit 6: How do we make moral choices? [Areas of Enquiry A & F]

This unit explores how religious and other beliefs affect approaches to moral issues

About this example: This series of eight lessons is intended to provide a set of learning activities in RE for a Year 5 class. It was written by Sushma Sahajpal, with additional ideas by Anita Compton and Dave Francis. An RE:ONLINE banquet by Sushma Sahajpal is available at: www.reonline.org.uk/learning-inner/?id=17262

The focus here is on developing and encouraging pupils to consider relevant moral issues in their own lives and possible consequences of certain actions. They will also explore Hindu and Christian codes of behaviour and compare and contrast, then make this relevant to their own experiences.



RE Skills covered in this unit: (main in bold)

1) Investigation (asking questions, gathering information); 2) Interpretation (suggest meaning from religious texts and other sources);
3) Reflection; 4) Empathy; 5) Evaluation;
6) Analysis; 7) Synthesis; 8) Application (religious values and link to secular values); 9) Expression (articulate values); 10) Self-understanding.

How this fits into the curriculum:

This example connects with AMV Areas of Enquiry A (Beliefs, teachings and sources) and F (Values and commitments). It makes cross-curricular links with Literacy, PSHE/SEAL, Drama and Art.

The lessons could be used in discrete RE time or as part of a ‘creative curriculum’ approach where RE links with other curriculum around a theme or key question e.g. ‘Our Community’, ‘Right and Wrong’, ‘Powerful Stories’.


Prior Learning:

When pupils reach Yr 5 it is hoped that they have a clear understanding of what it means to belong to a religion. It is also anticipated that they will have a basic knowledge of Christianity and three other main world religions (Judaism, Islam and Hinduism).



Featured Religions / Beliefs

Focus ‘Key Concepts’

Hinduism

AT 1: Learning ABOUT religion

AT 2: Learning FROM religion

Christianity

A. Beliefs, teachings and sources



D. Identity, diversity and belonging







B. Practices and ways of life




E. Meaning, purpose and truth







C. Forms of expressing meaning




F. Values and commitments






Key Question: How do we make moral choices?

Supplementary Questions


  1. What are moral questions?

  2. What are the consequences of the moral choices we make?

  3. What people and organisations help in making moral choices?

  4. What are the most important moral values and teachings?

  5. How do we decide what is right and wrong?

Resources:

Articles about Navratri and pictures of the main Hindu female Deities (Tridevi):



  • http://www.hinduismtoday.com/modules/smartsection/item.php?itemid=3073

  • http://www.religionfacts.com/hinduism/deities/goddesses.htm

  • http://yogadharma.wordpress.com/2008/12/24/devi/#more-72

Some Leicester children’s engaging explanation of the Navratri festival: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/local/leicester/hi/people_and_places/religion_and_ethics/newsid_9084000/9084077.stm

Female Hindu Deities: http://amv.somerset.gov.uk/exemplars/2061-key-stage-2-unit-6-supplementary-resources/

Transcript: http://amv.somerset.gov.uk/exemplars/2061-key-stage-2-unit-6-supplementary-resources/

Navratri Durga Story: http://amv.somerset.gov.uk/exemplars/2061-key-stage-2-unit-6-supplementary-resources/

Jay Lakhani of the Hindu Academy speaks on the deeper meaning of Navratri on You Tube: http://www.hinduacademy.org/videos/latest.php > scroll down to Navratri.

A Hindu young person on being Hindu: http://pof.reonline.org.uk/hindu_1.php

Children Talking on Hinduism and other faiths: www.natre.org.uk/db/profile2a.php


Learning outside the classroom:




Expectations: Focus areas A and F.

By the end of this sequence of learning:

All Pupils:

Level 2

Most Pupils (majority class expectation):

Level 3

Some Pupils:

Level 4

A2 describe the three main Female Deities (Tridevi) featured in Navratri and say some things that Hindus believe.

A3 describe what a Hindu believer might learn from thinking about the Hindu Deities and beliefs about the Navratri festival.


A4 discuss links between the beliefs regarding important female figures in other religious groups such as Mary in Christianity and show how they are connected to believers’ lives.

F2 talk about what is important to them and to others with respect to what sort of people should have power and how people in power should treat others and whether their gender matters.

F3 link things that are important to them, e.g. the role of mothers, and Hindus, e.g. the role of the Divine Mother, with the way they think and behave towards mothers and also towards those with less power than them.

F4 ask questions about the moral decisions people make, and suggest what might happen as a result of different decisions, including those made with reference to the qualities of the Hindu deities.




Key Question: How do we make moral choices?

Supplementary Question: (d) What are the most important moral values and teachings?

Learning objectives

Suggested activities for teaching and learning

Outcomes

References and notes

Lesson 1

Pupils will:



  • learn about the nature of God in Hinduism;

  • reflect on the qualities of mothers.

1. Explain that pupils are going to learn about the Festival of Navratri when Hindus celebrate the Divine Power they believe is available to all of us (not just Hindus) in whichever form is best for us, in the way a loving mother helps her children.

Explain that Hindus believe that God is neither male nor female but is everywhere in everything and everyone. Thus they believe God can intervene to support righteous living (meaning for universal good) at anytime in any form including as a man, woman, child, animal, river, etc. Explain the forms that are celebrated at Navratri are three Mothers.

Ask the pupils to think of words they may use to describe a mother. List these up on a board. Now ask them to think of activities/actions that they think mothers do. Again capture these on the board. Now ask the pupils to consider mothers from the animal kingdom (hunting, fighting off predators, etc.), does this bring forth any more adjectives or verbs? Ask pupils to get a good spread of words through as many different ‘forms’ of mothering as possible. Some words like ‘helper’ can be unpacked into types of help.

Ask the pupils to work in groups with three very large pieces of paper per group. Ask the groups to write ‘Provider’ in large letters in the middle of the first sheet, ‘Protector’ in the middle of the 2nd and ‘Teacher’ in the middle of the 3rd. Their task then is to write or draw around the key aspects the ideas, actions, tools and questions they associate with those roles. Encourage the pupils to consider the differences between the three aspects.

You may need a fourth sheet (Other) for characteristics that are either more human than divine such as ‘Cranky’ or ‘Bad-tempered’ or don’t fit into the archetypes. Reviewing the fourth sheets may offer up a potentially very useful broader discussion.


Pupils

  • talk about what is important to them and to others with respect.

Key vocabulary:

Navratri, divine, Hindu, ‘righteous living’, mother, deity.



Notes:

This series of lessons is intended to help pupils explore what people think about types of power in themselves and the world. Pupils will question what role gender plays and what power as a force for good might look like. For Hindus, the three female archetypes – linked to female deities) are:



  1. Provider – supplying material well-being and nourishment: Lakshmi;

  2. Protector/Powerhouse - fighting off predators / pure strength: Durga;

  3. Teacher – teaching / explaining / advising: Saraswati.

Key Question: How do we make moral choices?

Supplementary Questions: (c) What people and organisations help in making moral choices?

(d) What are the most important moral values and teachings?

Learning objectives

Suggested activities for teaching and learning

Outcomes

References and notes

Lesson 2

Pupils will:



  • explore the symbolism and qualities of the three female Devis;


  • learn about literal and metaphorical ways of looking at the Hindu deities.


2. Ask the pupils to sit in pairs, with one of each pair sitting with their back to their partner. The pupil in front should have pencil and paper at the ready. Give one of the images of the three female deities (or ‘Devis’), Lakshmi, Saraswati and Durga, to each pupil sitting behind their partner and ask them to describe the deity in their picture to their partner, whose task is to draw what it described.

Ask them to compare their results with the originals and notice any differences. Explain that each picture represents a different form of Divine Mother and that Hindus believe that all the power needed to succeed comes to human beings through Divine Mothers providing the three lists of things already discussed, that is, Knowledge (Power of Understanding), Personal Strength (Raw Transformation Power) or Material Abundance (Power of Physical Well-Being).

Give the pupils a chance to examine carefully for themselves the symbols and colours of each picture and see if they can suggest which image goes with which of the archetypes they have defined.

Now go through each deity engaging the pupils’ questions and ideas about what each deity is sitting on, holding and wearing. Explain that it is possible to take these definitions literally, i.e., as supernatural beings that may manifest in the world, and also apply them metaphorically to our lives here and now, e.g., in wanting more of the resources the Mothers offer to be in our lives. Clarify, that just like a human mother, the Divine Mothers do not ‘take over’ and simply do things ‘for us’. Hindus believe that they assist us in finding the skills and strengths we need inside ourselves.

Put the Lists of words about mothers that the pupils have already compiled on the board below each Deity and ask them to add some more words to their sheets that they think Hindus would associate with each of the key aspects.


Pupils

  • describe the three main Female Deities (Tridevi) featured in Navratri and say some things that Hindus believe;


  • talk about what is important to them and to others with respect;

  • describe what a Hindu believer might learn from thinking about the Hindu Deities.

Key vocabulary:

Devis, deities, divine mother, transformation, literal, metaphorical,



Notes:

See Resources above for links to pictures of the three Devis: Lakshmi, Saraswati and Durga.



Key Question: How do we make moral choices?

Supplementary Questions: (a) What are moral questions? (b) What are the consequences of the moral choices we make?

(e) How do we decide what is right and wrong?

Learning objectives

Suggested activities for teaching and learning

Outcomes

References and notes

Lesson 3

Pupils will:



  • consider practical examples of when people might need wealth, wisdom or strength;

  • reflect on why Hindus might pray to the Devis.

3. Ask the pupils if they know what a moral dilemma is. [When you have to choose to do one of two things, each of which may have unpleasant consequences.] Give some examples and ask the pupils to work in pairs to come up with their own, e.g., they were given £5 but lost it on the way to school. At break time they see a £10 note caught in a hedge. What should they do? What might be the consequences of each decision?

Remind pupils of their work on the three Devis and ask them to describe some situations where might people feel the need for (a) well-being, (b) wisdom and (c) strength. Aim for concrete examples of each of these in their own lives and list them on the board. How many of these involve moral dilemmas? For example, when someone is poor or starving, how should they go about getting food? Should they steal to survive? When a friend does something bad to you, how should you respond? In a game where a person lacks the strength needed to win, should they break the rules to give themselves an advantage?

Ask the pupils to consider such dilemmas in relation to the Devis. Which one might Hindus pray to for help with each dilemma? Go through each ‘need’ and ask, How might a Hindu feel their prayers might be answered? Does strength have to be physical? Does physical well-being have to mean money?



Pupils

  • describe what a believer might learn from thinking about the Hindu Deities;

  • ask questions about the moral decisions people make, and suggest what might happen as a result of different decisions, including those made with reference to the qualities of the Hindu deities.

Key vocabulary:

moral dilemma, consequences, prayer, material and spiritual.



Notes:

Search for ‘Kohlberg’s moral dilemmas’ to find more examples of moral and ethical dilemmas.



Key Question: How do we make moral choices?

Supplementary Questions: (b) What are the consequences of the moral choices we make?

(c) What people and organisations help in making moral choices?

Learning objectives

Suggested activities for teaching and learning

Outcomes

References and notes

Lesson 4

Pupils will:



  • consider why some people seek divine help for their problems;

  • reflect on the differences between Hindu deities and Christian saints;

  • explore different types of help and support that people need and can give.

4. Explain that many followers of religions look for divine help in solving moral dilemmas. Sometimes the help looked for is set in male terms and sometimes female. In the Christian Bible, for example, God is often presented as a ‘Father’ figure (although there are some female metaphors) and that, for many Christians, prayer for help in times of trouble is often directed to holy people called ‘saints’ and there are many male and female saints. Ask pupils to consider how this may be different from how Hindus relate to the Devis. [Highlight how the female figures in Christian traditions are loving intercessors with God rather than God themselves.]

Ask pupils to list some words that a Christian might use to describe God as Father. What words might they use to describe Mary? Ask pupils to compare her qualities to the three Hindu Deities we have looked at [Highlight similarities, e.g., loved as a mother, as well as differences, e.g. ‘holy not divine’] and to say how they are each thought to make a difference to believers’ lives.

Invite pupils to link things that are important to them, e.g. who helps them, with the way we might offer to help other people, and different kinds of help; physical and mental / spiritual. Encourage them to think about who they might turn to in their own lives. What sort of skills would the person they turn to, need to help them and what form would that help take? How might they help someone who was confused, for example unable to do their homework? or had less money or was physically weaker and being bullied?

[This could be a very worthwhile drama lesson with some interesting role-play activities about what they feel is appropriate assistance / relationship with someone with less power / advantages than themselves.]




Pupils

  • link things that are important to them, e.g. the role of mothers, and Hindus, e.g. the role of the Divine Mother, with the way they think and behave towards mothers and also towards those with less power than them;

  • discuss links between the beliefs regarding important female figures in other religious groups such as Mary in Christianity and show how they are connected to believers’ lives.

Key vocabulary:

moral dilemma, consequences. saints, holy, intercessors, prayer, divine, spiritual.



Notes:

Christians do not say that the saints are divine or equal to God, but that they lived such good lives that they are very close to God. Saints are therefore believed to have power to ask God to help those who pray to them.

Many Christians in the Orthodox, Catholic and Anglican traditions pray to Mary, who, as the mother of Jesus (who is believed to be ‘God and man’), is in the best position to intercede with God to request his help.


Key Question: How do we make moral choices?

Supplementary Questions: (b) What are the consequences of the moral choices we make?

(c) What people and organisations help in making moral choices? (e) How do we decide what is right and wrong?


Learning objectives

Suggested activities for teaching and learning

Outcomes

References and notes

Lesson 5

Pupils will:



  • reflect on how a religious festival can help people learn lessons in life;

  • learn from the experiences of children who celebrate Navratri.

5. Remind pupils that they are investigating moral dilemmas by looking at how Hindus and others reflect on the choices that are open to them.

By now the children should have a good understanding of the three Devis. Explain that Hindus remind themselves of this relationship with female divinity twice a year during Navratri and that they are going to find out about this festival and how may help Hindus ‘do the right thing’ and make good moral choices.

Play the recording of the Leicester children talking about Navratri and put the transcript up on the board [See Res1 ] What questions would pupils like to ask if they could meet the children in this recording? What answers do they think the children might give?

Explain that during Navratri many Hindus fast during the day and then feast and dance in the evening time on traditional festival food. During the fast Hindus only eat foods that can be eaten very simply and with minimal process such as fruit, nuts etc. This is to encourage them to take time out from focussing on their material appetites and wishes but instead to focus on their spiritual goals of personal discipline and following divine guidance.

Ask pupils to identify what it might be good for them to give up for a week even though they might find it difficult to (such as a television program or chocolate) and give reasons.

Consider asking them actually to try doing this for parts of the day (or a week!) and perhaps be sponsored for each day they succeed in doing so as a charity fundraiser. Journal their thoughts and feelings if they do it or make up an imaginary journal of someone their age trying to do so. Ask them to focus on moral dilemmas they may face during the fast and to consider some Hindu perspectives.



Pupils

  • link things that are important to them, with the way they think and behave;

  • ask questions about the moral decisions people make, and suggest what might happen as a result of different decisions, including those made with reference to the qualities of the Hindu deities.

Key vocabulary:

Navratri, fast, festival, self-discipline.



Notes:

See ‘2061 Supplementary Resources’ for the transcript of the Leicester Children Talking about Navratri.



Key Question: How do we make moral choices?

Supplementary Questions: (b) What are the consequences of the moral choices we make? (c) What people and organisations help in making moral choices? (d) What are the most important moral values and teachings? (e) How do we decide what is right and wrong?

Learning objectives

Suggested activities for teaching and learning

Outcomes

References and notes

Lesson 6

Pupils will:



  • learn about the Hindu festival of Navratri;

  • consider female images in religious belief;

  • consider traditional male and female roles in a family;

  • begin to explore the symbolism of Hindu deities.

6. Explain that once the fasting days and dancing nights are completed (this varies across regions and families, but typically on the 8th or 9th day), a special feast is prepared and offered to young girls. This is to celebrate and reflect on the Divine Contribution of females in families as Mothers, Sisters and Daughters, Creators of Life, Bringers of Love and Good fortune into men’s lives. The nine nights are dedicated as three nights for each of the three divine forms. Thus femaleness has a very special place in Hindu Spiritual life. Can the pupils think of other religions that have special female images [e.g., Christian Saints, Mary, Mother of Jesus, etc]; Are there any powerful females that you look up to or turn to in times of trouble? Why might it be important for some people to turn to women for help?

Ask pupils whether Hindus would traditionally think men or women are more powerful in the family? [No right or wrong answer to this – just a discussion point about who if anyone, might be ‘in charge’?] Who has most ‘say’ in the home? What do the pupils think themselves? Does it matter if it’s Father or Mother? Ask pupils to give reasons for their answers and compare across the class.
Provide pupils with a printed version of the Deities [Res1]. Ask them to work in pairs / small groups to recall aspects of each Deity, labelling the different items with key points about what Hindus believe is being illustrated / symbolised.

Encourage pupils to discuss the details of the pictures in their pairs / groups and then to share ideas on the most important aspects for them. Prompt their thinking by asking whether they can tell which figure represents what sort of Divine Maternal help and whether they can work out why each Hindu Deity is sitting on such a different symbol?

Ask pupils to then add their own labels saying what they think is good about each of the Female Deities symbolic gifts, e.g. ‘The lute plays music’, ‘The sword is powerful’, ‘The book is for wisdom’. Provide pupils with some of these words to help them.


Pupils:

  • talk about what is important to them and to others with respect to what sort of people should have power and how people in power should treat others and whether their gender matters;

  • link things that are important to them and other people with the way they think and behave;

  • describe the Tridevi featured in Navratri and say some things that people believe;

  • talk about what is important to them and to others with respect for their feelings.

Key vocabulary:

Devis, deities, divine mother, transformation, literal, metaphorical, symbolism.


Notes:

See ‘2061 Supplementary Resources’ for the Female Hindu Deities.

The symbolism of Hindu deities goes deeper than might be suggested here; the idea is to start pupils thinking about how worshipping the different Female Deities helps believers in a variety of ways.


Key Question: How do we make moral choices?

Supplementary Questions: (b) What are the consequences of the moral choices we make? (c) What people and organisations help in making moral choices? (d) What are the most important moral values and teachings? (e) How do we decide what is right and wrong?

Learning objectives

Suggested activities for teaching and learning

Outcomes

References and notes

Lesson 7

Pupils will:



  • explore further the meaning of the female Hindu deities;

  • consider how the practical value of the characteristics of the Hindu deities might be seen.

7. Now divide the class into three groups. Assign a deity to each group. Ask each group to note what form of ‘Blessing’ their Female Deity represents (Protection / Strength, Provider / Well-being, Wisdom / Understanding). Ask pupils to imagine three (or more) situations that a child or adult might find themselves in when being blessed by their Deity would help. Have one example prepared for each Deity in case they get stuck! Pupils can work out their ideas in smaller groups, type them up on a computer as three separate sheets, then compare across the group. Ensure that the deity’s name is NOT on any of the papers! Collect in all nine situation sheets, shuffle them up and number them 1 to 9. Hang onto these for the next activity (below).

Explain that you would now like them to work out the role and meaning of the Female Deities in a range of situations. Divide the class into nine groups. Provide each group with one situation sheet made earlier. Ask each group to read the situation and to record their answer of which Deity’s power would be most helpful on a piece of paper next to each Situation number – give each group just 3 or 4 minutes for each situation. They then pass their situation on to the next group and so on till all groups have considered all the situations. This might be easier to share electronically so pupils can all consider all the situations at their own pace in pairs on computers. Share and discuss the answers across the class. What advice might pupils give if they were being appealed to for advice about these situations?


Pupils:

  • describe what a Hindu believer might learn from thinking about the Hindu Deities.

Key vocabulary:

Deity, qualities, characteristics.



Notes:





Key Question: How do we make moral choices?

Supplementary Questions: (c) What people and organisations help in making moral choices? (d) What are the most important moral values and teachings? (e) How do we decide what is right and wrong?

Learning objectives

Suggested activities for teaching and learning

Outcomes

References and notes

Lesson 8

Pupils will:



  • learn about the story at the heart of the Navratri festival;

  • write their own metaphorical stories;

  • learn the Dandiya or Garba dances;

  • know that the dances are symbolic of the Durga story told in some Hindu communities at Navratri.

8. Tell pupils the story of how Durga vanquished the Demon [Res3 >> Navratri Durga Story] that is the central story of Navratri. Deepen their understanding with questions such as: Where did the Demon’s power come from? [Divine blessing of Brahma.] Why Brahma? [Ability to Create form.] Why did Divine power have to destroy him? [He misused the divine gift for personal greed instead of using it for righteous living.]

Ask pupils to write their own ‘metaphorical’ story with a character needing to call upon each of the three Deities turn by turn to help him or her through the challenges within the story. The challenges need to be such that each needs the particular blessing of each Deity to overcome the problem. The story should include questions that the main character asks about their dilemmas and how what the consequences might be of following or ignoring the help of the Deities.

If possible, learning the Dandiya or Garba dances that are traditional and specific to this festival are great fun and reinforce some key concepts of this learning. Firstly regarding the Hindu idea of time (and therefore everything, is cyclical and rhythmic) with the Divine Mother as a central unchanging constant in the centre of the dancing circle.

Secondly the Dandiya (stick dance) is a representation of the nine day Dual that Durga fought with the Demon and triumphantly won (symbolising how her divine power crushes the enemies of ignorance and personal ambition).


Pupils

  • describe what a Hindu believer might learn from the story of Durga vanquishing the demon;

  • ask questions about the moral decisions people make, and suggest what might happen as a result of different decisions, including those made with reference to the qualities of the Hindu deities.

Key vocabulary:

Devis, deities, divine



Notes:

See ‘2061 Supplementary Resources’ for the Durga story.

BBC Learning Zone clip 6224 shows Hindus celebrating Navratri with the traditional dances and talking about the cultural aspect of the festival. There is a step by step text description at eHow > learn dandiya dance.


RECORD OF ATTAINMENT


KS2 Unit 6: How do we make moral choices? (A&F) Year 5

All Pupils:

(Level 2)

Most Pupils - majority class expectation:

(Level 3)

Some Pupils:

(Level 4)

A2 describe the three main Female Deities (Tridevi) featured in Navratri and say some things that Hindus believe

A3 describe what a Hindu believer might learn from thinking about the Hindu Deities and beliefs about the Navratri festival.


A4 discuss links between the beliefs regarding important female figures in other religious groups such as Mary in Christianity and show how they are connected to believers’ lives.

F2 talk about what is important to them and to others with respect to what sort of people should have power and how people in power should treat others and whether their gender matters.

F3 link things that are important to them, e.g. the role of mothers, and Hindus, e.g. the role of the Divine Mother, with the way they think and behave towards mothers and also towards those with less power than them.

F4 ask questions about the moral decisions people make, and suggest what might happen as a result of different decisions, including those made with reference to the qualities of the Hindu deities.










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