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Last term, Year 3 began an inquiry-based learning project into religious celebrations. This term, they presented their very own religious artefacts, poems and information reports at a spectacular showcase in the Piazza.
It all started with a ‘See, Think, Wonder’ exercise based on five of the world’s major religions - Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism. And it led to some fantastic research, discussion and inquiry, which helped to develop the students’ conceptual understanding of world religions and belief systems, as well as the different celebrations within their own lives.
Over an eight-week period, Ms Smith and Ms Ridehalgh’s students delved into the different ways that people around the world explore, express and celebrate their beliefs. This included reading books and poetry with a religious theme in their English lessons.
They were then given ‘carte blanche’ to unleash their imagination and create a religious artefact of their choosing. They were also tasked with composing a poem about it – which could be anything from a religious ballad, to an elegy, to a rhyme, to free verse - as well as devising an information report with interesting facts.
It was evident from the variety of religious artefacts on display at their showcase, that the students had developed a wide understanding about the diversity of world religions and belief systems.
There were prayer beads, menorahs, mangers and Lotus flowers. There were candles, Easter baskets, crucifixes and bonfires.
But even more impressive still was the fact that the students were able to talk productively and meaningfully about the religious celebrations they’d chosen to focus on.
They were able to explain the significance of Diwali, Ramadan, Holi and Passover. They spoke powerfully and eloquently about the symbolism of the Lotus flower in Buddhism or the reason why Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah.
Some had used their graphic design skills to produce highly engaging PowerPoint presentations, while others relied on their drawing skills to design colourful and informative posters, with lots of interesting facts about their artefact and chosen celebration.
In the words of Joan Didion, “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” Through this inquiry-based project, Year 3 have discovered that religious celebrations are a powerful force for shaping and energising a community, providing groups of people with a narrative about who they are.
Religious celebrations, rituals and beliefs speak to the need we all share for stories that give shape and significance to our lives. Learning about the different ways people choose to celebrate their religion or their beliefs has helped to develop Year 3’s cultural awareness and foster their appreciation for those who lead very different lives to their own.
Bravo to Deputy Principal (Teaching and Learning), Ms Drummond, Year 3 teachers, Ms Smith and Ms Ridehalgh, and all those who helped to bring this amazing learning to life!