I have come to fall in love with teaching in Catholic schools. What are YOU in love with?...

"Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything." - Pedro Arrupe

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Trinity is Squeaky Clean

Over the past couple of days, I posed the Aquafresh Challenge (I give full credit to my roommate for originally introducing me to the idea!) to my 7th and 8th grade students to introduce the concept of the Trinity. Yes, at these grade levels, they know what the Trinity is and who the three persons of the Trinity are, but we went a little deeper.

However, using the Aquafresh allowed me to have a little fun with them first...

Considering both classes had just completed lessons on group work through our Second Step program, I posed the challenge as a test of teamwork. The students focused on their little squeeze of toothpaste, analyzed a plan of action, and desperately tried to separate the colors.

"It's impossible!" came one 7th grader's cry.

"Yes," I said. "I did give you an impossible task. Why would I do that?"

Students sat stumped for a few moments.

"What if I told you it had to do with God...all three parts of it?" (By this time, I guess you could say I was practically feeding them the answer.)

"Oh! Oh! The Trinity!"

"Yes," I nodded. "Elaborate, please..."

"Well, just like God is three in one, there are three colors that can't be separated in the toothpaste."

Activity worked like an intro activity charm once again. Amen to that!

Both classes did various activities with the Trinity throughout the class period, including a couple of videos as well as a "Pass the Trinity Symbol" activity, where each group of students received one Trinity symbol at a time. (Symbols included the Trinity Shield, Old Testament Trinity Painting, Shamrock, Trinity Knot, water in three forms, and a Venn Diagram with symbols of sorts.) Students sketched a picture of the image in front of them, and they then worked together to determine the strengths and weaknesses of each symbol and listed these in a table. Then, a few minutes later, it was time to "pass the symbol." In doing this, the activity kept moving and the students kept mostly engaged. (It helped to move around the room to monitor and pose questions if I felt students were getting off-task or needed to challenge themselves a little more.)

In 7th grade, their "ticket" out the door was meeting the challenge of designing and explaining an original symbol for the Trinity. Some of the ones they came up with were pretty good, especially in light of the fact that they showed they understood the idea of three separate ___ in one ___. 7th grade never ceases to impress me.

I must say, I learn more and more about my faith every day, especially since I've been showing my students quite a few Fr. Robert Barron snippets from Catholicism and other short interviews. I also must say that I am challenged each and every day to think outside of the box for lesson plans and activities - sitting still (at least for the 8th grade) is just not an option.

And I think I can confidently say that the students now have a little deeper grasp of the Trinity as the central mystery of our Catholic faith.

1 comment:

  1. i've enjoyed that activity with my second graders every year for several years now! and i'm sure middle school students come up with much deeper responses. ;)