Religions Recycled

Religions Recycled

The lesson gives the opportunity for Year 6 pupils to reflect on the knowledge and understanding they have developed in their RE studies during KS2. Using collaborative talk, learners will have the opportunity to articulate beliefs, values and commitments clearly, in order to explain why they may be important in their own and other people’s lives.

Key Stage:

KS 2 Religious Education


This lesson plan is designed to be broadly suitable with little or no adaption for Year 6 classes in any UK primary school. It takes as its starting point an artefact from a tradition which pupils most unlikely to have previously studied, indigenous religions (formerly called ‘tribal’ or ‘folk’ religions) being rarely, if ever, featured in the syllabuses of UK schools. The lesson looks at the protective role of ancestors and gods in religion and the absorption of elements of one faith into another.

Religion as Protection

Arrange the pupils in small groups and show this image of the meeting house panels, without explaining who made them or what they were for. Task them to collaboratively talk through ideas about; what culture they think the object comes from and what it might have been intended to do. After around five minutes go to a whole class discussion of the groups’ ideas and see if they can reach agreement.

Download image1.pdf

Religion as Protection cont

Play a section of the What we found out film from 1.48 - 2.38.

Check the students understand the protective role that the carvings were believed to have. Task the groups to list examples of ways in which believers in the religions they have studied in KS2 might feel that their faith provides them protection. Ask them to consider what might be the positive and negative effects of believing that a supernatural power can protect us from harm. After around five minutes, go to a group discussion of their results.

Religions absorbing elements of other cultures

Show this image of a Maori Christian church and ask the learners what they think it might show. Explain that as religions spread, they often absorb imagery or ideas from the cultures they meet. Explain that as Britain colonised around a quarter of the world’s land mass, it took the Christian religion with it. By the start of the 20th century almost all New Zealanders identified as Christians.

Download image2.pdf


Either give out the information sheets (Sikhism.pdf and Hinduism.pdf) or show them on screen. They give examples, from two of the faiths commonly covered in primary syllabuses, of the ways religions absorb ideas and imagery from other faiths.

Download Sikhism.pdf.pdf


Either talk through the material with the whole class, or ask them to study the material in groups. Do they think it surprising that the Sikh Scriptures contain words by Hindus and Muslims?

Download Hinduism.pdf.pdf

Compare and contrast

Download the sheet with three different depictions of Buddha. Ask the students to compare and contrast the three.
One has a mark on his forehead – the symbol of a worshipper of Vishnu; the other has an extra pair of arms, just like the way Vishnu is usually portrayed. This is an example of the way religions sometimes adapt elements from other faiths rather than copy them unaltered. Download Buddhas.pdf
<b> Religions absorbing elements of other cultures cont</b>

Religions absorbing elements of other cultures cont

Task the group to think of any similar ways Christianity has absorbed elements of other faiths. The most obvious example is the Christian Bible, 77% of which (the ‘Hebrew Bible’ a.k.a. the ‘Old Testament’) is from Jewish scriptures. Other well-known instances are associated with the celebration of Christmas, the date of which is generally thought to derive from the Roman pagan celebration of the winter solstice. Several symbols of the season such as mistletoe and the Germanic ‘Yule Goat’ originated in pre-Christian North Europe.

The Gosforth Cross

Finish by showing the film about one of the most spectacular examples of Christianity absorbing other mythologies – 10th century The Gosforth Cross.

Learning Objectives:

Through using this lesson plan students should:
- acquire greater knowledge of religions and world views
- understand religions are not static and evolve over time often absorbing practices and symbols from other faiths
- express their own ideas and reflect on the ideas of others
- become increasingly able to respond to religions and world views in an informed, rational and insightful way

Research, Notes and Links:

Download this lesson plan