For Educators

Religion, Culture, and Diversity – Background

Overview

Diversity and pluralism are hallmarks of our society. The plethora of traditions and values that share our continent are bound both to conflict with, and to enrich, one other. Each new group of immigrants challenges the mainstream to accept its religion and culture, and is challenged to keep its identity while getting along and blending in.

In this lesson, students learn more about various religions, they share their own religious traditions, and they explore some of the tensions associated with religious and cultural differences. Resources include segments from RELIGION & ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY, Web sites, and interviews with family members and other adults. Art projects on themes of religion, spirituality, and diversity are a culminating activity.
Grade Level:

Grades 4-8
This lesson is intended for elementary grades but can easily be scaled to accommodate middle school students.

Time Allotment:

This lesson [unit] can carry over anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on the level of interest and commitment to the topic.

Subject Matter:

Science; social studies; English/ language arts; religion

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Recognize that religious differences are a source of controversy and conflict, as well as growth and change.
  • Recognize that newcomers who are different are not always welcome.
  • Learn about the beliefs and practices of a variety of religious groups.
  • Interview grandparents and/or other older adults about their religious and cultural traditions.
  • Reflect on their own religious and cultural traditions.
  • Appreciate the diversity of religious and cultural traditions in the U.S.
  • Identify everyday ways in which religion is infused into public life.

Standards

This lesson was prepared by: Kathleen M. Cochran, Ed.M.