The people's bar chart
I began with an introduction to the topic "What values do religious and non-religious people have about the environment?" Students thought about statements such as: "The natural world is a precious gift that we should treasure and protect" and, "It is up to governments and multinationals to protect the environment, not individuals." There was a continuum beneath each statement from one to 10, 1 meaning "agree strongly" and 10 "disagree strongly". Students circled a number that best suited their own view. I had put these numbers up on the wall and students had to go and stand in a line by the numbers they had circled. We then used a visual representation of the views in the class - a human bar chart.
We shared views at each change of statements so students could think about why they had agreed, disagreed or equivocated. At each stage we emphasised that a diversity of views was just as interesting as unanimity, so that those standing apart from the others felt confident in representing their views. When we sat down again, the bar chart was a useful reference point for the rest of the lesson.
Julian Selman, RE teacher, Marlwood School, South Gloucestershire