USF's WebQuest 

Title:   History and Religion: Crossing Over to Understand

Author:    Darlene J. Corcoran            

Date: April 18, 2005

Teacher's Page

Unit Summary Teacher's Resources Day 1 Lesson Day 2 Lesson
Day 3 Lesson Day 4 Lesson Day 5 Lesson Day 6 Lesson
Day 7 Lesson Conclusion Student's Web Quest  

                  

Unit Summary:
    Goals/Objectives: 

1. Students will develop and effectively employ guidelines for inter-religious dialogue in order to gain an understanding of the differences between the perspectives of an insider and an outsider.

2. Students will research one of four major world religions in a group activity that culminates in each group producing a travel brochure for the religion studied.  

3. Students will develop an understanding of religion as history.

NCSS Theme:
Individuals, Groups, and Institutions

Days: 
7 days (50 minute blocks)

Content:
This unit will build on an understanding of what history is.  It can be used at the beginning of the school year or semester in a World Religions class to teach them how to study religion from the academic perspective and show differences between the study of religion and doing religion.  Students learn the difference between studying and doing religion by learning to ask questions of religion in general.  

Students gain an appreciation for the perspectives of the insider and outsider by inventing a religion in group activity and reflecting on the class responses to their invented religion, following this with analysis of their reactions to the responses of their peers. They form a Guide for Inter-religious Dialogue to guide classroom interaction and discussions and which can be useful and applicable in future class discussions.  

The WebQuest guides groups of students to form a Travel Brochure for a world religion.  Students must "get inside the head" of  the insider in order to produce the Travel Brochure from the perspective of the insider.  So students practice crossing over from the outsider perspective to understand the insider perspective and cross back again when presenting to the class.  This helps students internalize the skills necessary for successful dialogue with anyone having differing opinions.  It prepares students to engage in discussion and analysis of events in world history with religion as a major human practice and motivator historically vital to all cultures by dispelling prejudices and providing tools for studying current events and history.

 Methods:
Methods used will be constructive group activity, direct instruction, class discussion, consensus building, Power Point presentation, and Webquest.

WebQuest  Summary:

Goals/Objectives: 
Students will research and analyze a major world religion in order to gain an understanding of an outsiderís perspective and compare it to that of the insider.  By moving between the perspectives of the outsider and insider in the topic of religion, they are preparing to do so with world history.

Days:
3 days

Content:
Content includes information about the religious belief systems, religious institutions, their people, practices, sayings and writings.  

Methods:
Groups of students research one major world religion so that the entire class covers at least five major world religions.  Students gather information about the religion and produce a ìtravel brochureî for the religion.  Groups present their travel brochures to the class.

Teachers Resources

Unit Information:
    

Background Resources

Web-based Subject Matter Content
  Timeline: Origins of Religion http://www.sacred-texts.com/time/origtime.htm

  Religion and Ethics http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/

  Sacred Texts Timeline http://www.sacred-texts.com/time/timeline.htm
  The Worldís Religions and Their Scriptures http://www.unification.net/ws/wsintr4.htm
  Religion http://davidwiley.com/religion.html
  The Internet Sacred Text Archive http://www.sacred-texts.com/index.htm

Web Pedagogy Content
  The Dialogue Decalogue  http://astro.temple.edu/~dialogue/Antho/decalog.htm

 Other Resources
  Guiding Questions: What Do We Know about Religion?
  "Studying Religion" PowerPoint
  Handout: Invent a Religion
  Handout:  Insider and Outsider Perspectives
  Guiding Questions: Insider and Outsider Perspectives in Dialogue
  Media Specialist & Computer Discs


Unit Lesson Sequence
 


Day 1    Back to Top
Lesson Plan Outline

Method (Attention Getter, Lecture, Callout Group, etc)

Content/Key Ideas/Concepts/Facts
 

Materials
(Transparencies, audio, handouts, etc)
Activate Prior Knowledge What We Know about Religion Guiding Questions
PowerPoint Presentation Studying Religion Studying Religion PowerPoint
Group Activity Each group of students invents a religion and answers questions about the religion using the handout. Handout
Group Reports to Class Students share their invented religions with the class.  Allow students to respond at will to the invented religion without commenting on their remarks.   

 


Day 2    Back to Top
Lesson Plan Outline

Method (Attention Getter, Lecture, Callout Group, etc)

Content/Key Ideas/Concepts/Facts
 

Materials
(Transparencies, audio, handouts, etc)
Group Work 
Class reconvenes in the same groups as in Day 2.  Distribute Insider and Outsider Handout for group reflection and discussion. Handout
Class Discussion Using the list of guiding questions, ask the class what they discovered about the differences in perspective between the insider and outsider.  Write class suggestions on the board or on the overhead.  Keeping in mind The Dialogue Decalogue, condense the suggestions into a list of simple rules and label it "Guide for Inter-religious Dialogue." Guiding Questions
Group Discussion Student Groups discuss possible revisions to the  "Guide for Inter-religious Dialogue."  
Groups Report to the Class Ask for a spokesperson from each group to convey the suggested revisions and look to the class for consensus. Record the suggestions on the board or overhead. Use your judgment and instructorís prerogative as the classroom leader to suggest an important component that may be missing when the students are finished revising the guide.  Record the final guide and post it in the classroom. Distribute copies at the next class meeting or make it available online.  
Homework Students write journal reflections on today's class activity.  

Day 3    Back to Top
Lesson Plan Outline

Method (Attention Getter, Lecture, Callout Group, etc)

Content/Key Ideas/Concepts/Facts
 

Materials
(Transparencies, audio, handouts, etc)
WebQuest In groups of four, students begin the WebQuest.  Computer Lab

Day 4    Back to Top
Lesson Plan Outline

Method (Attention Getter, Lecture, Callout Group, etc)

Content/Key Ideas/Concepts/Facts
 

Materials
(Transparencies, audio, handouts, etc)
Tutorial Microsoft Publisher Tutorial  Computer Lab & Media Specialist
WebQuest Groups decide what information to include and begin working on their Travel Brochures.  Conputer Discs for saving each group's document

Day 5    Back to Top
Lesson Plan Outline

Method (Attention Getter, Lecture, Callout Group, etc)

Content/Key Ideas/Concepts/Facts
 

Materials
(Transparencies, audio, handouts, etc)
WebQuest Groups continue working on their Travel Brochures.  Computer Lab
     

Day 6    Back to Top
Lesson Plan Outline

Method (Attention Getter, Lecture, Callout Group, etc)

Content/Key Ideas/Concepts/Facts
 

Materials
(Transparencies, audio, handouts, etc)
WebQuest Groups complete their Travel Brochures. Computer Lab
     

Day 7    Back to Top
 

Lesson Plan Outline

Method (Attention Getter, Lecture, Callout Group, etc)

Content/Key Ideas/Concepts/Facts
 

Materials
(Transparencies, audio, handouts, etc)
Group Presentations Groups present their Travel Brochures to the class. Rubric

 

Conclusion:  
Some teachers may hesitate to spend seven days on this topic.  I challenge these teachers to cover religion in World History classes. By beginning with the personal and diffusing potential problems caused by self-bias, prejudices toward this U.S. culture, and suspicion of other cultures, the learning experience can be more enriching and students will take away with them tools for evaluating life experience.

 

Credits/References:

Other than the websites used, I must credit Mr. Dell deChant, Instructor at the University of South Florida. It was he who introduced me to the work of Leonard Swidler in Inter-religious Dialogue.  Through participating in inter-religious dialogue events while working on my B.A. in Religious Studies, I learned the value of being receptive to the values of others and suspending judgment for a time while hearing what the other had to say about his or her experience.  

 

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