Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

February 15, 2008

Freedom Simulation Lesson Plan


As part of an annual in-service day at Notre Dame, several high school theology teachers offered lesson plans to share. Presented below is the third of a series of lessons that will be offered from time to time on the Engaging Faith blog.


Adapted from a lesson
By Kat Morris
Chaminade-Julienne Catholic High School
Dayton, OH


Objectives
The students will be able to:
• define freedom and explain our Christian call to form our conscience and choose the most loving decision in a given situation.
• explain the responsibility that comes with freedom.
• recognize the authority of conscience.

Activities
(to be completed on a block day with a 90-minute period or over two days with 45-minute periods)

Freedom Simulation and Discussion
• Write on the board: “What is freedom?”
• Post signs around the room with this question printed on them.

Activity Stations
Set up five activity stations around the room as follows:
1. A TV monitor where the last 30 minutes of the film The Mission is playing.
2. A TV monitor where the last 30 minutes of the film The Shawshank Redemption is playing.
3. A CD player or something similar where the song Cry Freedom by Dave Matthews is playing
4. Desktop computers with instructions to do a Google search for the question “What is Freedom?
5. An area where several quotations on freedom are displayed. For example:
• “Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better”—Albert Camus
• “History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid.”—Dwight D. Eisenhower
• “Freedom is like taking a bath—you have to keep doing it every day.”—Florynce Kennedy
• The average man doesn’t want to be free. He simply wants to be safe.”—H.L. Mencken

Put a “Do Not Disturb” placard on your desk and sit there without interacting with the students. Give the students “freedom” for the first 30-45 minutes of the class period to explore the stations, use the materials provided and work on a definition of freedom. If they “choose” to do nothing, let them be. The simulation is to see what they will do without teacher direction

Process the Activity
As possible, have the students arrange their chairs in a circle. Lead a discussion on the activity that just took place. Ask:
• What was the point of this activity?
• What did the activity teach you about freedom? (Discuss specifically each of the activity stations.)
• How were you free in this activity?
• What did you choose to do?
• Why did you make this decision?
• Was your freedom limited in any way?
• What limits people’s freedom?

Follow-up
Offer a definition of freedom:
“Freedom is the ability to make choices. As Catholic Christians we are called to choose the most loving thing in a given situation. We form our conscience to help us grow closer to the objective Truth and understand what is the most loving option. We must support our ability to choose and ensure that all others have the right to choose as well.

Have the students write their answers to the following questions:
• How does the Church promote freedom?
• How are we obliged to follow our conscience?
• How did you feel about this simulation activity?

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