6th Grade New York

Religious Freedom

This inquiry focuses on the concept of religious freedom driven by the compelling question “Does religious freedom exist?” The question establishes the importance of religious freedom and tolerance as a way for students to learn about world religions. In learning more about the compelling question, students identify the major beliefs of world religions and begin to recognize similarities and differences. Through the examination of sources about the practices and geographic distribution of world religions, students develop a comparative understanding of major religions. They extend their emerging understanding by investigating how the concept of religious freedom has emerged over time and examining the current status of religious freedom around the world.


Compelling Question:

Does Religious Freedom Exist?

Staging the Question:

Take part in a discussion in which students discuss what they know about different religious traditions.

Supporting Question What are the major religions of the world?

Formative Task Create a table that highlights how major world religions are similar and how are they different.

Sources Source A: Graph illustrating religious affiliation around the world
Source B: “Major World Religions Overview Chart”
Source C: Animated map of the history of religion
Source D: “World of Religions” infographic


Supporting Question What is religious freedom?

Formative Task Write a description of religious tolerance/
freedom, and then rewrite it after considering the definitions in the sources.

Sources Source A: Definitions of religious tolerance
Source B: Source bank: Definitions of religious freedom


Supporting Question How has religious freedom been represented over time?

Formative Task Create a timeline of relevant events in the history of religious freedom.

Sources Source A: Excerpt on human rights from the Cyrus Cylinder
Source B: Excerpt from the Magna Carta
Source C: First Amendment text and “First Amendment and Religion”
Source D: Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and background


Supporting Question What is the current status of religious freedom around the world?

Formative Task Write a claim with supporting evidence about the current status of religious freedom.

Sources Source A: “Freedom and the World 2015” map
Source B: “Social Progress Index 2015”
Source C: Charts from “Latest Trends in Religious Restrictions and Hostilities”

Summative Performance Task

Argument: Does religious freedom exist? Construct an argument (e.g., detailed outline, poster, essay) that discusses whether religious freedom exists using specific claims and relevant evidence from historical sources while acknowledging competing views.

Taking Informed Action

Understand: Find current examples where people of different faiths coexist or are in conflict.
Assess: Determine what factors support this instance of faiths coexisting.
Act: Conduct an interfaith gallery walk or create a display of major religions that informs and celebrates the perspectives of these religions and addresses the concept of religious freedom.