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Curriculum - PSHE - Lesson Plan - Pilgrims' progress

Primary: Exploring holy journeys across a range of faiths can deepen pupils' understanding of the religious significance of these special trips

Primary: Exploring holy journeys across a range of faiths can deepen pupils' understanding of the religious significance of these special trips

What the lesson is about

This, the first in a series of three lessons on pilgrimage, introduces the idea of pilgrimage. The second explores the Muslim hajj and the third looks at Jerusalem as a sacred place for Christians, Muslims and Jews. These lessons also have links to citizenship and RE and are aimed at Year 4 pupils.

Aims: pupils will understand:

- the difference between a pilgrimage and a holiday;

- the reasons for going on a pilgrimage;

- that for some pilgrims, the journey itself is as important as the destination.

Getting started

Show pupils the PowerPoint on pilgrimages, available on the link below. The first slide lists memorable journeys, such as a special holiday to visit relatives or moving house. Ask pupils if they have ever been on a memorable journey. How did they prepare? How did they feel? What obstacles might there be to such a journey, such as saving the money needed for the trip, organising transport or weather problems?

Show the second slide, which gives reasons for going on pilgrimages, such as renewing faith in God and to feel part of a larger family. Give pupils a couple of minutes to talk to their partners about what each reason might mean. Which do they think is the most important? Ask them to explain their decisions to the class.

Now show the third slide, which offers some examples of special journeys, such as a football fan travelling for a match or a widow visiting a war grave. For each one, ask pupils to think about the differences between them. Why are they making the journey? What would they pack? Would they bring anything home?

Taking it further

Present slides four, five and six, which show examples of pilgrimage sites: Lourdes in France, the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, and Masada in Israel. Explain the reasons they attract pilgrims and what they do when they arrive. For example, Christians go to Lourdes to be healed in the holy waters, to help sick pilgrims, to feel part of a community and to ask Mary to pray for them. While they are there, they visit the grotto where they believe Mary appeared to St Bernadette. They also bathe in the holy waters, take part in a torchlight procession and go to mass.

Project the worksheet about special journeys, available on the link below, on to the board and ask the pupils to work in pairs to think about why people make special journeys, what they would pack and how they would feel about their trips. Ask the pairs to give their responses to the class, then ask pupils to fill in their worksheets.

Where to find it

The three-lesson plan, plus PowerPoints, worksheets and supporting resources, were originally uploaded by gemma77 and can be found at

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