This trimester in Religion, students built the “Tower of Babel” and “Noah’s Ark.” For the Tower of Babel project, the students needed to work together to configure a tall, sturdy structure that could withstand added weight. The materials included pipe cleaners, tape, and 5 index cards. The catch though, was that the students could not communicate with one another; just like in the story, the students had to work together, despite a communication barrier, to complete the structure. Most groups succeeded with using hand gestures and pictures to communicate what should be done. As for Noah’s Ark, the students used card stock paper to create their own mini version of the ark. Working together, groups created a structure that could float on water. Once they passed that test, students wanted to see if their boats could handle extra weight just like the animals on the original ark. The winning boat held 182 plastic chips before taking on water!
Another recent highlight had students experiencing a mock trial atmosphere. Though most of our studies centered on the Old Testament, we switched gears and focused on Jesus and his crucifixion during the week leading up to Easter. The person on trial was Judas and the crime of treason he committed against Jesus. The groups were separated into the prosecution, students trying to convict Judas, and the defense, students trying to prove Judas innocent. The students came up with very convincing arguments that displayed the knowledge they gained reading specific verses of the Bible. The students really enjoyed working as a team and coming up with compelling arguments to persuade the honorable judge, the teacher, in either direction. By sparking the interest of the students, they were able to truly connect to the stories and go beyond the text.