6th Grade Inquiry Challenge

Ancient Hebrews

This 2016 Inquiry Challenge winner leads students through an investigation of ancient Hebrew history and Judaism by using various sources that consider the historical and theological foundations, as well as issues related to geography and place. By investigating the compelling question, students examine the history of the ancient Hebrew people, the principles that form the foundation of Judaic thought, the connection of history and religion to Israel, and the geographic variance in religious practices. By completing this inquiry, students begin to understand issues revolving around the factors that help to form a people’s identity, as well as the fluidity of defining a group within any predetermined criteria.


Compelling Question:

What Defines a People?

Staging the Question:

Students create a graphic organizer where they show the factors (i.e., places, ideas, beliefs.) that are a part of their identities.

Supporting Question Who were the ancient Hebrews?

Formative Task Complete a graphic organizer identifying and describing major figures and beliefs in Hebrew history.

Sources Source A: Ted-Ed, “World Religions”
Source B: Jewish Virtual Library timeline
Source C: “Religion: Three Religions, One God”


Supporting Question What are the principles of Judaism?

Formative Task Add the principles of Judaism to the graphic organizer.

Sources Sources from SQ1
Source A: Maimonides’ 13 Principles of Belief
Source B: “Jewish Beliefs”
Source C: BBC Bitesize – GCSE, “Judaism”


Supporting Question How do the beliefs and history of Judaism connect to Israel?

Formative Task Write 1-2 paragraphs describing how Israel connects to the beliefs and history of Judaism and the Hebrew people.

Sources Sources from SQ1 and SQ2
Source A: SHOW, Mapping Worlds
Source B: Video Jerusalem: Sacred and Contentious
Source C: Lyrics to Israeli National Anthem


Supporting Question How do religious practices vary among different populations within Judaism?

Formative Task Make a claim supported by evidence about the different ways Judaism is practiced among different populations.

Sources Source A: Description of Passover
Source B: Images of Passover Traditions

Summative Performance Task

Argument: What defines a people? Construct an argument (e.g., detailed outline, poster, essay) that addresses the compelling question using specific claims and relevant evidence from historical and contemporary sources while acknowledging competing views.
Extension: Conduct a Socratic dialogue that addresses the compelling question.

Taking Informed Action

Understand: Determine the factors that compose the local community’s identity.
Assess: Identify ways that these factors vary among those in the community.
Act: Create a school-wide display that celebrates the similarities and differences across community members.