For Educators

Rites of Passage – Background


Celebrations of Life’s Passages

They are known as rites of passage, coming of age rituals that bring people into new life phases and conditions. Many of these ceremonies celebrate the shifts young people make into maturity, underscoring this transition’s significance and new phase in life.

In this lesson, students explore various traditional children’s and adolescent faith-based rites of passage. They examine modern coming of age ceremonies – ones that are more secular in nature – and create a rite of passage that best reflects their personal life journeys. Resources include segments from RELIGION & ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY and Web sites.
Resources include segments from RELIGION & ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY and relevant Web sites.

Grade Level:

Grades 9-12

This lesson is intended for high school grades, but can be adapted for middle school students.

Time Allotment:

Activities may take several classroom periods. Estimated time frames for each activity are noted under learning activities. Culminating activities may extend over longer periods of time depending on level of student interest and commitment to the projects.

Subject Matter:

Social studies (civics); language arts; religion

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Define rite of passage/coming of age
  • Name and describe spiritual, religious and/or secular child and adolescent rites of passage rituals
  • Examine and compare child and adolescent rites of passage from a variety of religious and spiritual traditions
  • Recognize how some traditional rites of passage have changed, been modified or discarded to adapt to modern times
  • Design a personal rite of passage


Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning 4th Edition Standards & Benchmarks

Behavioral Studies
Standard 1: Understands that group and cultural differences contribute to human development, identity, and behavior Level IV [Grade 9-12]

Benchmark 7: Understands that family, gender, ethnicity, nationality, institutional affiliations, socioeconomic status, and other group and cultural influences contribute to the shaping of a person’s identity

Health Standard 10: Understands the fundamental concepts of growth and development Level IV [Grade 9-12]

Benchmark 1: Understands a variety of physical, mental, emotional, and social changes that occur throughout life, and how these changes differ among individuals

Language Arts
Standard 9: Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media Level IV [Grade 9-12]

Benchmark 1: Uses a range of strategies to interpret visual media

Benchmark 2: Uses a variety of criteria relevant to evaluate informational media

This lesson was prepared by: Michele Israel