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Noah's ark story for older children

(55 Posts)

For reasons too complicated to explain, I will be teaching the story of Noah's ark to Y5/6 next term. Obviously, I will have to approach it is a far more complex manner than the normal KS1 activities. Has anyone any ideas for an interesting take on the story at y6 level? I am particularly interested in RE ideas; I know that there are lots of great cross-curricular things to do with the story.

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Mon 08-Apr-13 15:06:25

LaBelle I get your point about space in the curriculum. One question I would ask though, and I'm picking on Scientology for its controversial nature here, do you think that teaching about Scientology would be accepted by the parents (even if there was child who followed it - as unlikely as that would be in a normal school) or do you think there would be a backlash at the teaching of such a controversial belief system?

Gingerdodger Mon 08-Apr-13 15:31:13

Based on some of the ideas here I would like to be in your Noah's Ark lesson - it sounds really interesting.

Pedro, I wouldn't teach it. I would say that some people believe it, but others believe this, or that .... If there were a family with those beliefs at school, I think the children would be aware of it. Yes, there would be a 'backlash'. If you read the number of hostile comments from MN parents about the teaching of Christianity in church ie Christian schools, you realise that there is a backlash about almost everything you do in school.

I am in the middle of a lively controversy about spelling tests - one family in my class is 'furious' that I am doing spelling tests, another is taking their child away because there aren't enough ..

AuntieBrenda Mon 08-Apr-13 19:03:13

OP - I made a typo earlier, I meant posting not reporting!
Been reading the thread and the Evan almighty clip idea sounds great

AuntieBrenda, glad I didn't report it then!

MrsShrek3 Mon 08-Apr-13 23:18:35

Belle, awesome grin

Oops, just spotted it - principle, not principal. Hope I won't get dragged onto an 'illiterate teacher' thread!

habbibu Tue 09-Apr-13 07:20:43

To me the interesting thing about the flood narratives is how people used them to try to make sense of disaster -huge, terrible flood cruelly taking hundreds of lives, and various religions find different ways of interpreting them. One of the things that's quite disturbing if you think about it, is how the story, and us as readers, almost oblivious to the suffering of those who didn't make it on to the ark. It gives an impression of a very cruel god, I think, and yet the story is one of the most popular - that, I think, is interesting in itself.

Yes, that is the bit that always bothers me. Although, as you say, it is probably a story written to make sense of a folk memory of disaster. Not sure that it is always that suitable for the youngest children for this reason.

seeker Tue 09-Apr-13 08:08:41

So, seriously, when a thoughtful 10 year old says to you- "but why did God do that to all the living things that he had made and loved?" What are you going to say?

WishIdbeenatigermum Tue 09-Apr-13 08:47:26

You really are a one trick pony aren't you seeker hmm

seeker Tue 09-Apr-13 08:48:09


seeker Tue 09-Apr-13 08:50:01

I think the OP needs to be prepared for the question. 4 year olds may not ask it- but 10 year olds certainly will.

LilyBolero Tue 09-Apr-13 08:53:39

Well, if I was teaching it to that age group I would;
read it in the bible
talk about the context within the bible - ie being in Genesis means it is bunched in with the creation stories - ie probably a story made up by early writers in order to 'make sense' of things they didn't understand
Look at other religions - esp Islam - to see if they have similar stories
look at depictions in culture - art/music etc
Look at Rudyard Kipling's Just So stories
Get them to write their own 'nature explained' story

Seeker, children much younger than 10 ask these questions frequently. We say that some people believe this, some believe that ... we talk about the fact that we don't know the answers to all the questions. I must admit, I have been doing some research about the story this morning, and none of the learned Christians who have written commentaries seem to address the waste of animal life, although they do say that all people apart from Noah were fallen and depraved. I think it might also link to how different religions see animals.

LilyB, the Just So stories is an angle I hadn't thought of - that's why I wanted to ask on MN. Such an interesting range of views.

habbibu Tue 09-Apr-13 19:01:13

I'd have to say "I don't know"! But then again I'm an atheist so I don't feel the need to justify any actions of any god. I think it's a really interesting subject to talk about, nonetheless, and would have liked a lot more of the "some people believe" stuff when I was in (catholic) school.

habbibu Tue 09-Apr-13 19:02:21

And yy to Gilgamesh. What other flood narratives are there?

habbibu Tue 09-Apr-13 19:05:50

But also the number of flood narratives in different cultures might cause - should, really - cause one to question why the version in their own religion is seen as true and others myth, esp as they follow similar patterns re hero surviving etc.

I agree; a really interesting question. I remember worrying about the same thing when I was that age.

seeker Tue 09-Apr-13 21:02:15

The only biblical explanation seems to be that god just lost his patience with man- what with all the sin, and Christian men marrying non Christian women and Sodom and Gomorrah and stuff. He decided to destroy everyone and start again. Then he thought about it, and decided to accept that man was basically evil and he'd have to get over it, which is why he promised never to do anything like that again. It's not a very edifying story from a Christian point of view- no real lesson. Except, i suppose, that Noah believed God even when his neighbours were mocking him. I've often wondered why it's rendered all cuddly for children. The animals, probably.

habbibu Tue 09-Apr-13 21:11:45

Well, not Christians at that point, seeker! I think the cuddly rendering may be because it is a pretty horrific story!

habbibu Tue 09-Apr-13 21:13:21

Apologies for excess exclamation marks...

HolofernesesHead Tue 09-Apr-13 21:58:26

It sounds very interesting! If I were teaching this, I might include...

Something on the two intertwined flood stories in Gen. 6 - 9 and a nod towards the development of the Hebrew Bible (i.e. what we have now is a patchwork of bits of stories, some written earlier than others, not in the order we have them in the books, not in chronological order either). I'd get the children to write their own stories in the same patchwork way.

Something on floods around the world now - link in with climate change.

Something on the symbol of the rainbow and how different groups have used it.

Something on the other flood stories - Penguin have a good little book called 'Myths from Mesopotamia' which has some flood stories in it, Gilgamesh being one of them.

I'd also teach them a little bit (only a little bit!) of Hebrew - children of this age find it fascinating as it's so different from English and if you only find out how to write a few words, it might just open up a whole new world to them - there are some good beginners' Hebrew online resources to look up / print out just a little bit. Or if you're in an area with a Jewish community, get someone who knows to come in and do some Hebrew, and talk about what the story means to them in their faith tradition.

Have fun with it!

HolofernesesHead Tue 09-Apr-13 21:59:58

Also (soryr for double post) something on the theme of the covenant and how that is understood by different faith traditions and 'secular' covenants that are made, e.g. marriage. If they're bright, the difference between a covenant and a contract.

seeker Tue 09-Apr-13 23:03:44

"Have fun with it!"


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