SECONDARY RESOURCES: CONNECTIONS
ACTIVITY 1 - PERSONAL AND LOCAL WEBS
- To introduce basic ideas related to RE and the Environment
- To explore the way in which every human is related to the world around him or her.
- To explore the idea of the human condition, including personal need and responsibility.
- To show these reflected in the teachings of faith groups on the value of individuals.
- Personal commitment
SCIENCE LINKS (by analogy)
- Chains of inter-dependence, as seen e.g. in habitats supporting a diversity of plants and animals
- Food webs and chains
- A4 Paper
- Flipchart sheets
- Felt-tip pens
This is essentially a 'Pick and Mix' activity. Depending on the particular
class, part of the syllabus or whether this is e.g. part of work on Citizenship,
the ideas can be varied and more or less time spent on each. Homework, for
example, could contribute to either production of the first web, a subsequent web
or researching the activities and beliefs of the faith communities.
PART A - PERSONAL WEBS
- Ask the class to think about the various people who are important
in their lives. Who might these be? Bring out the distinction between
people that we feel are important, that are close to us - and those who are
really important but whom we are not so aware of, e.g. people who provide
services or who make decisions that change our lives.
- Give each student a piece of A4 paper. Tell them to:
This activity should be done quite fast, 'off the top of the head'.
- write his or her name in the centre of the page
- then write the names of all the people they think are important. Put those
nearest/most important nearest to the central name, the less important further
out in proportion to their importance, and so on
- When they have finished, ask the students to reflect on what they
have written. How many links have they made? How many of the people are also
linked to each other?
- Discuss the results with the whole class and record the results
on a flipchart, trying to classify them by e.g. friends, family, social groups,
services, religious groups, school etc. It may be difficult to decide where to
put the different groups in relation to the centre of the flipchart. Explain
that these things will be different for each person - but ask how many people
have included them somewhere.
NOTE: It is important that students are allowed privacy with these personal
webs. Do not ask for more information or feedback if students seem reticent in
contributing. If you know the class well, you may be able to tell which can
answer more personal questions comfortably and which would feel safer answering
more factual ones. It is also easier if classmates are not included by name; use
general terms such as 'my best friend' or 'someone I'm afraid of' instead
- Ask the students to reflect on which of the categories identified
by the group they have included in their own web. Are there others that the
group have chosen that individuals would now wish to add?
- Make the point that all life seems to be part of a web. Introduce
the idea of science webs and interdependence. (Big fleas have little fleas upon
their backs to bite 'em - Little fleas have smaller fleas, and so ad
- Explore, also, the way in which the things that are important to
us tell us something about ourselves, and tell others about our world.
PART B - LOCAL WEBS
- Move on to look at the ways in which we, as individuals, are part
of a community. Ask the students to identify groups that are involved in social
action in the locality. What do they do? List them on a flipchart. Pick out the
religious groups (this may need to be fed into the discussion e.g. by the
teacher). What do they do? Do any of the class have direct experience of this?
- Explaining that all faiths are aware of the individual as part of
greater humanity, look at some ways in which this is put into practice e.g.:
Sikh traditions of hospitality and meals at the Gurdwara; Christian social
action in groups like Christian Aid; emphasis on charitable giving as one of the
Five Pillars of Islam etc. The importance of these actions in the lives of both
those who give and those who receive. Everyone is interdependent.
MORE TO DISCUSS - Extension work (For Key Stage 3)
- Research the work of faith groups in the local community. Identify
the group, their key beliefs about responsibility to individuals and the
community and any work that they do locally. This information could be presented
as a map, or on a computer database (possibilities for links with Geography and
- Discuss the reasons why people become involved with faith groups.
What do they gain from it? What can they contribute?
For RE and general RE (For Key Stage 4 and beyond)
- Pick up the idea (from Part A.7) that our interdependence webs
tell us a lot about ourselves. Consider what webs might look like for people
with different life experience. Are there any things we would like to change
about our own webs?
- Discuss John Donne's famous insight:
No man is an island, entire of itself.
... therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee
What would it be like to live entirely on your own in modern Britain. Is
it even possible?
© REEP, Graeme Watson