Investigate the Buddha's early life

Investigate the Buddha's early life

NEW 2018 AQA Religious Studies Specification ‘A’ lesson on ‘Buddhist Beliefs and Teachings’ following the 1-9 grading criteria. The lesson includes differentiated tasks for every activity, designed to stretch and challenge all students. The initial task recounts the birth of the Buddha and students are asked to re-tell it in a creative way. Students then respond to 'sacred writing' from the Anguttara Nikaya, to highlight the luxurious upbringing the Buddha had. Students then consider the Four Sights and what impression these might have left on the Buddha and how they informed his decision to leave the palace. Students self-reflect on their learning through De-Bono's hats.
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Explore the meaning of the Three Marks of Existence for Buddhists

Explore the meaning of the Three Marks of Existence for Buddhists

NEW 2018 AQA Religious Studies Specification ‘A’ lesson on ‘Buddhist Beliefs and Teachings’ following the 1-9 grading criteria. The lesson includes differentiated tasks for every activity, designed to stretch and challenge all students. The first task gets students to explore the definitions of the three marks of existence, before completing a specific task on each mark of existence; dukkha, anicca and anatta. For dukkha, students investigate different causes of suffering. For anicca, students consider ways in which humans change over time in different ways. This is extended during the anatta task, to include specific elements of a person and what makes someone who they are. Students then respond to 'sacred writing' through the story of Kisa Gotami and link it to all three marks of existence. As a plenary, students complete a 'why-tree' based on the key question: why does suffering happen?
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Christian and Buddhist attitudes to the use and abuse of animals and the environment

Christian and Buddhist attitudes to the use and abuse of animals and the environment

NEW 2018 AQA Religious Studies Specification ‘A’ lesson on ‘Buddhist Beliefs and Teachings’ following the 1-9 grading criteria. The lesson includes differentiated tasks for every activity, designed to stretch and challenge all students. Students identify different uses and abuses of animals and the environment and which are acceptable, as well as suggesting possible solutions to unacceptable treatment. Students reflect on their learning so far with a progress bridge linked to the learning outcomes. A YouTube video by Al Gore introduces global warming and students identify areas of pollution. Students then respond to sacred writing from both Christianity and Buddhism, followed by another progress bridge linked to the learning outcomes. Lastly, students respond creatively to case studies and information from Catholic Christianity, the Parable of the Talents and Buddhism and the Holy Isle project.
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AQA GCSE Religious Studies 2018 Assessment Criteria

AQA GCSE Religious Studies 2018 Assessment Criteria

NEW AQA GCSE Religious Studies 2018 assessment criteria. A PPT with templates for the new GCSE style questions (1, 2, 3, 4 and 5) for use during lessons or assessments with students at KS4. There is a clear and student friendly breakdown of the new question types, including tips for how to answer each question as well as sentence starters. There is also a student friendly mark scheme for each question, perfect for use as peer- or self-assessment. There are also basic instructions for how to write in PEE paragraphs as well as a student friendly overview of the requirement for both AO1 and AO2. Also included is an information sheet with the assessment criteria, brief instructions for how to answer each question (1, 2, 3, 4 and 5) and a breakdown of marks for every question, which has been extremely useful for students to use either as revision, during an assessment, or as a self- or peer-marking sheet.
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Investigate Christian and Buddhist views towards abortion

Investigate Christian and Buddhist views towards abortion

NEW 2018 AQA Religious Studies Specification ‘A’ lesson on ‘Buddhist Beliefs and Teachings’ following the 1-9 grading criteria. The lesson includes differentiated tasks for every activity, designed to stretch and challenge all students. Start with a class discussion about why abortion is a contentious issue, using statements about abortion on the board (this could be done as paired work or an individual task if necessary). Students respond to 'sacred writing' from Buddhism and examine why some Buddhists allow abortion and some do not. Students then respond to Christian 'sacred writing' and organise this under different denominations. Students then apply religious attitudes to three case studies, which can again be done as a class discussion or as individual written work. Students then reflect on their learning. An extension discussion task / written task to stretch the most able is attached right at the end. Students tend to respond really well to the different points of view, which can be explored in depth through discussion or team work.
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The importance of Al-Quadr (Predestination) in Islam

The importance of Al-Quadr (Predestination) in Islam

NEW 2016 Edexcel Religious Studies GCSE lesson on the importance of Al-Quadr in Islam, following the 'Religion, Peace and Conflict through Islam' unit. The lesson is split into Muslim beliefs on predestination focusing on the universe as a whole as well as relating to human lives in particular. There is a strong focus on using sources of wisdom and authority from the Qur'an and for students to interpret Muslim beliefs based on religious teaching. There is also an exploration of the concept of Free Will in Islam and how this is interpreted differently by divergent Muslims following both the Sunni and Shia traditions of Islam. Students use the Hadith Sahih Al-Bukhari 78:685 as a source of wisdom and authority to suggest if Free Will can be compatible with a belief in predestination.
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Muslims festivals and commemorations

Muslims festivals and commemorations

NEW 2018 Edexcel Religious Studies GCSE lesson on Living the Muslims Life, with a focus on Sunni and Shi'a festivals and commemorations. The lessons follows the new 1-9 grading criteria with stretch and challenge tasks built into every activity. The main task revolves around using De Bono's Hats to thoroughly examine four Muslims festivals; Id-ul-Fitr, Id-ul-Ghadeer, Id-ul-Adha and Ashura, including their origins, purpose and relevance to Sunni and Shi'a Muslims respectively. Students then get the opportunity to respond to sources of wisdom and authority relating to Muslim festivals, before applying their knowledge to a practice exam question. There is a student friendly mark scheme to allow for either self- or peer-assessment. The plenary allows students to reflect on their performance using Personal Learning and Thinking Skills as prompt questions.
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Peace and peace-making in Islam

Peace and peace-making in Islam

NEW 2018 Edexcel Religious Studies lesson following the new 1-9 grading criteria. The lesson focuses on the topic Living the Muslim Life and includes stretch and challenge activities as part of each task. The main task is based around an in-depth examination of sources of wisdom and authority from the Qur'an, which students are asked to annotate and analyse in relation the concepts of forgiveness, justice, reconciliation and peace-making. Students can work independently, in pairs or as groups (depending on your class) to build a detailed mind-map about the role of peace-making in Islam. Students are then asked to create a leaflet about how young Muslims today should respond to bullying based on the teachings used during the main task. This lesson is ideal to develop higher order thinking skills and critical analysis in students and gives students a wide range of sources of wisdom and authority to help them interpret how Muslims live their life today based on the Qur'an.
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Hajj the Fifth Pillar of Islam

Hajj the Fifth Pillar of Islam

NEW 2018 Edexcel Religious Studies lesson on the Hajj, following the 'Religion, Peace and Conflict through Islam' topic, section three; Living the Muslim Life. Following the 1-9 GCSE grading criteria with a practice GCSE exam question and a mark scheme for self or peer assessment included. Students start by thinking about a special occasion or event they have attended and explore why they wanted to attend and what they got out of the experience. This is followed by a HOTS task where students see a picture of the Ka'bah and have to respond by asking a question. The main task is differentiated by outcome and requires students to respond to an information sheet about the Hajj by writing a travel blog from the perspective of a Muslim. A stretch and challenge extension is based around sources of wisdom and authority from the Qur'an. Students peer-assess this work with reference to the learning outcomes for the lesson. Students follow on by responding to a GCSE style practice exam question, complete with sentence starters and a mark scheme. Students get to spin the plenary wheel for a choice of plenaries.
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Edexcel GCSE Religious Studies 2018 Assessment Criteria

Edexcel GCSE Religious Studies 2018 Assessment Criteria

NEW Edexcel GCSE Religious Studies 2018 assessment criteria. A PPT with templates for the new GCSE style questions (a, b, c and d) for use during lessons or assessments with students at KS4. There is a clear and student friendly breakdown of the new question types, including tips for how to answer each question as well as sentence starters. There is also a student friendly mark scheme for each question, perfect for use as peer- or self-assessment. There are also basic instructions for how to write in PEE paragraphs as well as a student friendly overview of the requirement for both AO1 and AO2. Also included is a single information sheet with the assessment criteria, brief instructions for how to answer each question (a, b, c and d) and a breakdown of marks for every question, which has been extremely useful for students to use either as revision, during an assessment, or as a self- or peer-marking sheet.
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Sawm, Ramadan and the Night of Power

Sawm, Ramadan and the Night of Power

NEW 2018 Edexcel Religious Studies GCSE lesson on Religion, Peace and Conflict through Islam, topic three; Living the Muslims Life. The learning outcomes follow the 1-9 grading criteria. This lesson is intended to be taught across two 60 minute sessions and asks students to use information from the first half of the lesson to respond to a 12 mark practice exam question. Sentence starters and structure for the NEW Edexcel 12 mark question are included, as well as a model answer and a student friendly mark scheme. The lesson focuses heavily on collaborative learning through working in teams, however, it can work equally well working in pairs or independently as students can access the information in a number of ways. Students are hooked into the lesson by considering the concept of giving up something important to them, linking this to fasting during Ramadan. As the main task for the first session, students get into 5 teams and each analyse a different source of wisdom and authority, as well as team investigating non-religious views on Sawm. There are information sheets included in the PPT for this. The teams are then mixed up, so that 5 students who have researched information are matched up to peer-teach each other and collaborate on creating a poster detailing Muslim views on Sawn, Ramadan and the Night of Power. In the second session, students use the information gathered in the first session to answer a 12 mark GCSE practice exam question, using a scaffold of sentence starters and overall writing structure. Students then respond to a model answer and the mark scheme (this can be printed out to allow students to annotate) by improving their own work through self-assessment. Finally, students reflect on the progress they have made, their strengths and weaknesses.
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Zakah and Khums in Islam

Zakah and Khums in Islam

NEW 2018 Edexcel GCSE in Religious Studies. Lesson on Religion, Peace and Conflict through Islam chapter 3, Living the Muslim Life. This lesson focuses on the nature, role, significance and purpose of Zakah and Khums in Islam. All tasks are differentiated to provide stretch and challenge for all pupils. Students start by considering the nature and benefits of charitable giving and follow this with an analysis of sources of wisdom and authority from the Qur'an to describe the purpose of Zakah in Islam. The main task involves students using an information sheet to complete a table of information on the role and benefits of Zakah and Khums for Muslims. Students then create a Venn diagram to assess the benefits of charitable giving to those giving and receiving as well as for society as a whole. Students apply their learning to an exam style question and self/peer assess using a student-friendly mark scheme. The plenary involves 10 statements students have to correctly identify as true or false.
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Examine Christian attitudes to evangelism

Examine Christian attitudes to evangelism

NEW 2018 Edexcel GCSE in Religious Studies, following Religion and Ethics through Christianity and using the new 1-9 grading criteria. Students have to respond to a number of sources of wisdom and authority to investigate the history, nature and purpose of evangelism. Students then suggest ways in which Christians could evangelise through a number of different situations, e.g. education. Anglican and Catholic attitudes to evangelism are explored through case studies including the ALPHA course and students are asked to make links to why Christians would engage in evangelism today.
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Muslim Holy Books

Muslim Holy Books

NEW Edexcel GCSE on Religion, Peace and Conflict through Islam. An engaging and creative lesson exploring the five Muslim Holy Books; the Shahifah, the Tawrat, the Zabur, the Injil and the Qur'an. This is taught using 'Top Trumps' so the students are required to rank the information in order of importance using the following categories: Purpose, Importance, Prophets, Religion and Quote. This allows students to fully analyse the significance of each Holy Book in detail using sources of wisdom and authority. The lesson can either be taught giving each student one Holy Book to research or put students in teams of 5 to work together on all of the Holy Books. A creative element allows students to design their own Top Trumps card, based on each Holy Book. If time allows, or you want to spend two lessons on this topic, students can make enough cards to play Top Trumps the game to further understanding.
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Examine Muslim teachings about the nature and use of punishment

Examine Muslim teachings about the nature and use of punishment

NEW 2018 Edexcel Religious Studies GCSE, following the 'Religion, Peace and Conflict through Islam' topic and also using the new 1-9 grading criteria. Students engage with the concepts of punishment, justice and forgiveness and how these might be linked, using sources of wisdom and authority as a guide. Students then complete a carousel task around the classroom using a doughnut-shaped work sheet, with 5 distinct sections; Qisas, blood money, Qur'an Surah 2, Qur'an Surah 5 and Situation Ethics. Students need to read and summarise each section on their doughnut. Following this, students get the opportunity to answer an exam style question and self- or peer-assess their work.
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Investigate divergent aims of punishment and Muslim attitudes to them

Investigate divergent aims of punishment and Muslim attitudes to them

NEW 2018 Edexcel Religious Studies GCSE following the 'Religion, Peace and Conflict through Islam' unit on Crime and Punishment. Students respond to four aims of punishment and then analyse and evaluate Muslim attitudes to the different aims using sources of wisdom and authority. Students are asked to think critically about the nature of dealing with criminals and divergent interpretations of Allah's commands. Students then get to practice an exam type question and self- or peer-assess their work.
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Explore why Pilgrimage is important to Christians

Explore why Pilgrimage is important to Christians

NEW 2018 Edexcel GCSE Religion and Ethics through Christianity, with a focus on 'Living the Christian Life'. This lesson follows the new 1-9 assessment criteria and includes a variety of tasks, such as exam style questions with mark schemes for student self-or peer-assessment. A video from 'request' introduces the nature and purpose of pilgrimage for Christians today. Sources of wisdom and authority are given for students to respond to the history of Christian pilgrimage and modern day places of pilgrimage are given as case studies for students to examine the purpose of pilgrimage; Taize, Walsingham and Iona.
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Explore how people can make moral decisions using Situation Ethics

Explore how people can make moral decisions using Situation Ethics

KS3 lesson on Situation Ethics and using the new 1-9 GCSE grading criteria. The lesson introduces students to the nature of Situation Ethics and asks them to respond to its core principles by analysing and examining sources of wisdom and authority. This is followed by a class discussion (this can also be done in pairs, teams, or individually if that suits your class better) on a number of different moral principles to live by and an evaluation of how far Situation Ethics has got it right when it promotes Agape as its core moral principle. I like to give students contribution tokens to ensure that all of them contribute and no-one dominates the discussion. It also avoids students going off topic as they only have a fixed amount of contribution tokens to use before they run out and have to stay silent for the rest of the task. The tokens also promote student's listening as they have to be able to respond to comments made by other students. Finally, students explore a moral dilemma using Situation Ethics.
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Causes of World Poverty with Christian and Buddhist responses

Causes of World Poverty with Christian and Buddhist responses

GCSE introduction lesson on the causes of world poverty with Christian and Buddhist responses, following the AQA Religious Studies Specification B, Unit 3 - Religion and Morality. The starter hooks students straight away by showing them a series of pictures and asking them to find a link. This is followed by a task asking students to explain the nature of poverty and getting them to critically think about the difference between relative and absolute poverty, as well as suggesting causes of poverty. A stretch and challenge task is available specific to target grades. Students then respond to a 2 mark exam style definition question, before peer assessing it using the AQA marking criteria. The main task asks students to complete a diamond 9 task comparing and examining the causes of world poverty and how each cause may contribute to ongoing poverty. Students then use religious teaching from Christianity and Buddhism to suggest religious responses to world poverty with a task differentiated and linked to target grades. Students then answer a 3 mark personal opinion question and peer assess this using the AQA marking criteria. Finally, students reflect on the lesson using SMSC prompts. Every activity is differentiated either by outcome or task and allows stretch and challenge for the most able students.
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Introduction to Morality and Ethics

Introduction to Morality and Ethics

An introductory lesson to morality and ethics revolving around 5 contentious moral issues, which students are asked to respond to through discussion. A very engaging lesson that motivates all students to participate and promotes debating skills. In my experience, this works best when students can discuss each issue in groups before feeding back to the class and allowing different groups to go into short 'head-to-head' debates. Alternatively, this works very well in a P4C format, where each student is given a set amount of contribution tokens for the lesson and has to 'pay' for every contribution and can then no longer contribute when they are out of tokens. This really forces students to consider when to put forward their view.
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