Identifying Details List on the board the religions discussed in this GeoJournal (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism), and any additional religions on the World Religions map, depending on the grade range. Then, go through the list, and have students raise their hand each time you name a religion they have heard of. Provide a count for each of the religions listed, to have a record of how many students have heard of each one. Explain that each religion on the list should have at least 5 accompanying details about it. You may want to increase or decrease this amount, based on the grade level. Ask students to brainstorm suggestions or research to fill out details for the list. Verify or correct their details if they are incorrect, biased, or stereotypes. Model inclusivity for students through this exercise by including all major world religions on your classroom list of world religions and treating each with equal respect.
Theorizing Project the World Religions map on the board. Have volunteers identify where Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are predominant. Have other volunteers point out where Hinduism and Buddhism are practiced. Have students notice that the locations are all over the world, indicating that religious practice is nearly universal. Ask students to theorize the reasons people are religious, if appropriate in your classroom to do so. You may want to explain that people all over the world have sought religion to address deep, spiritual, and moral questions humans have about the meaning of life, death, and one’s purpose, among many other questions. Encourage inclusive, open-minded, active classroom discussion about the value and purpose of religion to many people. Some students may not be religious. Allow them to explain their points of view too, as much as they are willing. Treat all points of view with fairness, or equity.
Comparing and Contrasting Have students compare and contrast two different religions. Allow students to be creative in how they choose to communicate what they have learned. They may want to make a comic, for example, or a play with two characters, one from each religion of their choice, discussing the similarities and differences. Others may want to create a slideshow with illustrations. Because religious differences can be a challenging topic, it is especially fitting to allow students to be more playful and lighter with their results, to encourage full participation and balance the heaviness of the topic. Students can use any of the Maps101 resources as reference material. Or they may want to conduct further research.