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Year 8: Unit 3a

Goodness in our world

Standards


By the end of this unit it is intended that students:

  • accept that in the Christian understanding, good triumphs over evil

  • identify the elements of good and evil in personal and group experiences

  • investigate experiences of good and evil in life and in the Scriptures.



Indicators of Learning





Values and Attitudes

Knowledge

Skills




It is intended that students will be able to:

1

share their views on the good things in their lives

identify good things in their own and the wider world

communicate ideas on positive aspects of life

2

suggest ways in which evil can be diminished in people’s relationships

understand the concept of evil and its effects in a variety of life situations

categorise examples of evil as physical or moral

3

discuss the relevance of scriptural portrayals of good and evil for their own lives

recall specific lessons about good and evil in the Scriptures, especially in the accounts of Creation and the Fall

locate examples of good and evil in the Old and New Testaments

4

collaborate on a class celebration of Jesus’ triumph over evil

understand the Christian concept of how, through Jesus, good triumphs over evil

use appropriate terminology in relation to grace and sin

5

propose practical everyday means by which young people can pursue good

appreciate aspects of Christian living which assist a person to grow towards goodness

describe and analyse case studies or stories about people who exemplify good living



Spiritual Reflection for Teachers


Evil occurs when good people do nothing!

For some people the existence of evil in the world is the single most persuasive argument against the presence of an all-loving God. Many look at the suffering caused by nature and humankind and ask, ‘Where is God in all of this?’

This is a question that you need to examine for yourself before tackling it with teenage minds that are partly formed by the questionable logic of a media-dominated world.

Central to this unit is the recognition of the abundant goodness in our world – how often do you overlook this or take it for granted?

Teilhard de Chardin, the Jesuit scientist and philosopher, wrote:


Not everything is immediately good to those who seek God; but everything is capable of becoming good.

A challenging thought! How will it develop in your classroom?



Links with Students’ Life Experience


  • Use the students’ own experiences as a starting point for the exploration of the power of good and evil in human life.

  • When eliciting responses from the students on their experiences of good and evil, it is important to be sensitive towards those students who may find it more difficult to reflect on and identify good experiences in their lives. The capacity of some students to relate to good overcoming evil may be diminished by personal experience or witnessing of evil in their domestic or social circumstances.



The Church’s Teaching and Lived Tradition

Human nature is essentially good


The Second Vatican Council’s Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes, affirms that the Christian understanding of being human is in the ‘image of God’ (Genesis 1:26). Church tradition teaches that human nature is essentially good and has been blessed with the capacity for intelligence, freedom and love.

However, it is the abuse of the gift of freedom which has led to the sinful condition of humanity. Genesis 3 and Romans 5 and 7 illustrate the universality and inescapability of sin. Together they form the scriptural basis for the doctrine of Original Sin (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 387–390).

God’s plan for salvation and our redemption from the power of evil and sin depended on Jesus: through his resurrection, good triumphed over evil and we gained confidence in our own ability to overcome evil in our lives.

Gaudium et Spes (n. 22) explains that the gift of grace allows us the freedom to overcome the power of evil and follow the dictates of our conscience. The gift of grace is made visible in the love, forgiveness and service of community life.

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Human Freedom


In preparation for the teaching of this unit the following references are recommended:

Part One, Section Two: The Profession of the Christian Faith

279–324 The Creator

385–421 The Fall

397 Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God’s command. This is what man’s first sin consisted of. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.

Part Three, Section One: Human Vocation: Life in the Spirit

1730–1748 Human Freedom

1846–1876 Sin

1849 Sin is an offence against reason, truth and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbour caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as ‘an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law’.

1996–2005 Grace

Explanation of the Scripture used in this unit


  • Students should be encouraged to use the Bible as a resource for reflecting on the experiences of good and evil. It is paramount that students appreciate that the sacred texts are as relevant an illustration of good and evil today as they were when first recorded.

  • The Scripture passages outlined below provide guidance for illustrating the strength and weakness of human nature.

  • Other passages for discussion include: Genesis 3, 4:1–16; 27:1–40; 33:1–12; 37:12–36, 42:45; Exodus 32:1–35; Ruth 1:1–22; Luke 10:25–37; 15:11–32; Acts 9:1–19.


1 Samuel 17:17–51 David and Goliath: the triumph of good over evil

The famous story of David and Goliath provides some interesting surprises. Two different stories have been combined: the account of a young boy defeating the giant warrior, and a sophisticated theological text that shows God’s choice of David over Saul and thus David’s charismatic rise to the throne.

David is generally the favourite of the biblical authors despite his faults. In this text we note some sibling rivalry between David and his older brother Eliab (17:28–31). In the actual battle with Goliath, David wins, not with the weapons of war but because God is with him (17:47). Military might is useless.

This theme was especially important in Jewish history, given the size and position of Israel. It was a small state surrounded by large, aggressive neighbours, who often fought over its territory which formed a corridor for trade routes. Israel was like David: small, gifted, and trusting in God to help it stand up to the ‘giants’ of Egypt and Assyria. Without God’s help it could not survive, but with God as protector it could overcome its enemies. David’s victory came because God was with him, and God will always triumph over evil.



2 Samuel 11–12:1–25 King David’s sin and repentance (Indicator 3)

2 Samuel 11–12 is part of the Solomon succession narrative. David and Bathsheba have an adulterous relationship, which culminates in the murder of Bathsheba’s husband Uriah. That deed was organised by David when he learned that Bathsheba was pregnant. The child of that pregnancy dies, and David to his credit deeply mourns the death. David subsequently marries Bathsheba, and Solomon, their second child, is thus David’s legitimate son.

David is forced to accept responsibility for his action by his prophet and adviser Nathan, who skilfully creates a story wherein David condemns and judges himself. Nathan’s story is in parable form (called a mashal in Hebrew). One of the main purposes of these chapters is to show that Solomon, the future king, was born to David and Bathsheba after they were married, and that the illegitimately conceived child was not Solomon.

Matthew 4:1–11 The Testing of Jesus in the Desert (Indicator 3)

The Gospel of Mark deals with this event in two short verses, which is a more realistic scenario (Mark 1:12– 13). Temptation is such a personal and internal experience that details are likely to be non-existent. However, both Matthew (here) and Luke 4:1–13 provide extra interpretation to make it pastorally useful to their communities. The writer of Matthew’s Gospel presents Jesus as being like Moses: the desert trial is reminiscent of the Exodus and the wandering of the people in the desert. The title ‘Son of God’ would suggest here a child of God, who is father to his people, Israel. All of Jesus’ answers to the tempter are quotes from Deuteronomy 6–8, which contains the great prayer of Israel, the Shema. The temptations in Matthew are all ways of failing this prayer and sinning against the great commandment – to ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength’ (Deuteronomy 6:5).


Year 8 Unit 3a: Goodness in our world

STANDARDS


By the end of this unit it is intended that students:

  • accept that in the Christian understanding, good triumphs over evil

  • identify the elements of good and evil in personal and group experiences

  • investigate experiences of good and evil in life and in the Scriptures.



Indicators of Learning (incorporating Values, Knowledge and Skills)

Essential Reading for Teachers

Suggested Learning/Teaching Strategies

Possible Assessment

    1.



It is intended that students will be able to:
V share their views on the good things in their lives
K identify good things in their own and the wider world
S communicate ideas on positive aspects of life



  • In the Catholic view of life, the world is a good place in which to live. Created and sustained by God, it shares and points to God’s presence.

  • A poem by G K Chesterton reads:

Wherever the Catholic sun does shine,

There’s music, laughter and good red wine.

At least, I’ve always found it so:

Benedicamus Domino!

[The Latin means Let us bless the Lord].



  • At various times in its history the Church has steadfastly supported the full goodness of creation against some who thought that the world was bad.

  • There are many things in life that are good. Students should explore and celebrate good things they have experienced: the beauty of nature, the love of a parent, being healthy, their favourite foods, play and sport, artistic expression, talking to lonely students, helping elderly neighbours, the joy of living close to God. They should also identify good things that they



Before teaching this unit, review the complementary Year 9 Unit 3a, Redemption and Hope, to avoid overlap in content.

  • Write the words of John 10:10 on the board or OHP. Working in groups, students develop a presentation to explain their understanding of this passage. Use the presentations to lead into the unit.

  • KWL p. 79 – The Good Things in Life. Students develop a mindmap or other visual format to highlight the good things in their life.

  • In groups students collect newspaper articles from local, city or national newspapers which highlight the ‘good’ and positive things in society. Each group is to create an image/collage using keywords and pictures from the articles. Each group presents their work to the rest of the class.

  • KWL p. 79 – The Angel of Collingwood. Create a ‘good news’ wall. Each student prepares an A3 sheet that communicates positive ideas about life



Teacher Assessment

Observation and enquiring during development of mindmap activity.


Peer Assessment

In groups students present their explanation of ‘life to the full’. Using common criteria, groups assess each other’s presentations.


Teacher and Peer

Assessment

Review the ‘good news wall’.


Self-assessment

This unit lends itself to journal writing.






    are aware of in the wider world.

    – people, events, aspects of creation. The sheet should incorporate visuals and text.




2.
It is intended that students will be able to:
V suggest ways in which evil can be diminished in people’s relationships
K understand the concept of evil and its effects in a variety of life situations
S categorise examples of evil as physical or moral

  • Evil is the absence or distortion of what is good.

  • The concept of evil will need to be unpacked quite closely with the students.

  • There are two types of evil:

  • evil that results from accidents or natural causes (e.g. the suffering and death caused by bushfires); this can be called physical evil.

  • evil that results from the freely chosen attitudes and actions of people, called moral evil or sin.

Students should explore their experiences of evil. This may raise fundamental questions such as why bad things happen at all. The stories of Creation and the Fall (Genesis 1–3) shed light on such questions.

  • KWL p. 80 – Discuss the explanation of the ‘ripple effect’. Students develop an illustration which shows the ‘ripple effect’ of an issue they have chosen. Display these and use as a basis for discussion.

  • To demonstrate the concept of evil/suffering use role play which could reflect repercussions of actions. Stimulus material could be a segment from Australian Story, one of the stories from The Good Life by Michael McGirr, or suitable segments from ‘The Simpsons’.

  • KWL p. 84 – A Closer Look at Good and Evil.

  • Using newspapers and magazines, students look for articles, pictures, cartoons or headlines which reflect the following two types of evil (explanation KWL p. 84):

  • physical – evil that results from accidents or natural causes

  • moral – evil that results from the freely chosen attitudes and actions of people (sin).

  • Personal reflection: Think about a time when your actions had an effect on others. Describe the ripple effect that was involved. What would you do differently next time?

Teacher Assessment

Student responses to ‘Brainstorm’ activity.


Peer Assessment

Pairs exchange ‘ripple effect’ scenarios and comment on the points made.


Self-assessment

Personal reflection in journal.




3.
It is intended that students will be able to:
V discuss the relevance of Scriptural portrayals of good and evil for their own lives
K recall specific lessons

  • The first three chapters of Genesis show that:

  • God created an ordered and good world

  • God created humanity in God’s image

  • the human person is free and able to eat the fruit of all trees except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil

  • evil is a distortion of the good

  • God does not cause evil; it arises from the free choice of human beings and is contrary to God’s will

  • this evil becomes part of the whole human

  • Begin with the reading of KWL p. 83.

  • Students recall examples from the Bible of stories about good and evil, and list them. They locate these stories in their Bibles and note the correct reference.

Students read the following stories of good and evil:

  • King David’s sin … 2 Samuel 11–12

  • The murder of Naboth … 1 Kings 21:1–16

  • The expulsion of Hagar and her son … Genesis 21:1–21

Teacher Assessment

Observation of students as they list and locate examples of good and evil in the Bible.

Marking of task at end of unit.
Teacher Assessment

Marking of questions in KWL p. 88.



about good and evil in the Scriptures, especially in the accounts of Creation and the Fall.
S locate examples of good and evil in the Old and New Testaments.



    story.

    Examination of passages such as those identified in the Scripture: Background Information will contribute further to an understanding and appreciation of good and evil in human experience.

  • The testing of Jesus in the Desert … Matthew 4:1–11.

These stories are available in animated, visual format to use together with Scripture reading. Cartoon versions of some Old Testament stories by Hanna-Barbera.

  • KWL p. 87 – The Nature of Good and Evil in Scripture and The Triumph of Good.

  • Polarised debate activity – see activity at the end of this unit.

  • Other stories that can be read and discussed include The Lorax Dr Seuss or My Place Nadia Wheatley and Dona Rawlins.




4.
It is intended that students

will be able to:
V collaborate on a class celebration of Jesus’ triumph over evil
K understand the Christian concept of how, through Jesus, good triumphs over evil
S use appropriate terminology in relation to grace and sin.

  • The Church teaches that the story of the Fall shows that human nature, seduced by Satan, The Evil One, lost its original holiness and became weakened by sin. The doctrine of original sin teaches that every person is born with an inherited sinful tendency, and is inclined to do evil as well as good.

  • By sharing in our humanity and the experience of suffering and death, Jesus has saved us from the power of evil. Ultimately, good triumphs over evil in the victory of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.

  • As a result salvation, eternal life with God, is offered to all as the free gift of God’s grace.

  • Through Baptism people become a new creation and all their sins (original and personal) are forgiven.

  • KWL p. 87–88: The Doctrine of Original Sin – Evil and Human Suffering.

  • Explore concepts of sacramental grace as a gift from God. An example from Scripture:

    Sinful Woman Forgiven – Luke 7:36–50.



  • The issue of suffering and death arises when discussing good and evil. KWL p. 101 provides information on Catholic beliefs about life after death, as do teachings highlighted in Essential Reading for Teachers.

Students complete a response sheet based on KWL p. 101, for example, ‘What do you think happens after people die?’

  • This would be an appropriate time for students to participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Teacher Assessment

Marking of relevant activities

from KWL.
Self-assessment

Students write in journal some reflections of the triumph of good over evil.



5.
It is intended that students will be able to:


  • Individuals grow in the capacity to evaluate good and evil, especially if they are surrounded by influences that promote goodness.

  • Many everyday choices are simply choices between good things. Other choices are between

  • KWL p. 90 – Five Ways of Striving for Goodness.

  • KWL p. 97 – Overcoming Evil with Good: ‘Amadu’s Story’.

  • Working in small groups, students use (Catholic Aid Organisation) to

Teacher Assessment

Marking of student presentation based on Caritas information.


Peer Assessment

V propose practical everyday means by which young people can pursue good.
K appreciate aspects of Christian living which assist a person to grow towards goodness
S describe and analyse case studies or stories about people who exemplify good living.

    good and bad things. Conscience is a person’s practical judgment of what is right and wrong. A person needs to develop the habit of orienting conscience towards goodness.

  • As individuals mature they become more aware of sinfulness in their lives. Sin is any deliberate attitude, action or failure to act which causes a breakdown in the individual’s relationship with God, others and themselves.

  • Maturing young Christians can have confidence in facing life because:

  • the life of Jesus is the perfect example of goodness

  • God gives grace to direct them towards goodness, above all as the Eucharist strengthens them in love

  • when they distort the good by doing evil God offers forgiveness and grace in the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance

  • the Church community offers support and guidance

  • the Church teaches us what is good and what is evil.

  • Conforming oneself to goodness is a life project and can be related to growth in moral character and virtue as treated in Year 7 Unit 5a and Year 8 Unit 5b. It is an exercise of trying to fulfil the exhortation of Paul:

    Fill your minds with everything that is true, everything that is noble, everything that is good and pure, everything that we love and honour, and everything that can be thought virtuous or worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8).



    present a story of people pursuing goodness. Use stimuli from activity on KWL p. 97.

  • Class discussion: Was Jesus ever tempted? If so, by what? By whom? How did Jesus overcome temptation?

  • Students read Matthew 4:1–11, Jesus is tested in the desert.

  • In groups, students create a story board showing images of things that tempt them and images of the benefits of resisting temptation. For example, divide the page into two parts with headings:

(1) things that tempt them

(2) benefits of resisting temptation example:



temptation

bullying or excluding of someone



benefit of resisting

respect for others



  • Students explain their storyboards in small groups. This activity leads into Prayer Celebration, at the end of the unit.

Students share with the rest of the class their findings on the Caritas website.

Explanation of storyboards in small groups.


Self-assessment

Journal writing.


Celebration: Prayer and Liturgy


  • Reflect on the following passages from Scripture. They could be adapted and used to form the basis of a directed meditation on good and evil: Romans 6:1–11; 7:15 and 19; 12:9–21; 13:8; Proverbs 4:10–19; Psalms 37, 51, 73, 119.

  • Encourage students to write their own prayers on the experiences of good and evil. Prayers, music, drama and artwork could be integrated into a non-sacramental liturgy on the power of good triumphing over evil.

  • Non-sacramental forms of reconciliation could also be used in a classroom ceremony. In setting up the sacred space students show their understanding of the concepts learnt during this unit e.g. appreciation of the environment, forgiveness and healing.

Suggested celebration based on Romans 12:9–21

Preparation: Clear tables and chairs from the main part of the room. Play quiet, reflective music. Ask students to bring their collages with them to the open space. Students sit comfortably on the floor.

Introduction:

Ask students to be still, to close their eyes and to concentrate on their breathing … concentrating on slowing their breathing down … breathing in peace … breathing out anxiety.

Teacher: Read the following as students reflect silently:

After Jesus was baptised, the Spirit led him out into the desert … Follow Jesus into the desert … Take notice of the environment around … The sand beneath your feet …. The difficulty of walking through the sandy, arid land …

Jesus doesn’t realise you are there … You are hungry … The sun is burning strongly … your eyes are watery from the haze …

Jesus stops … He falls onto the hot sand … You remember that you have water with you … You move towards Jesus … and you offer him some water … You see the thanks in his eyes …

Jesus rises to his feet … He moves away from you … A distance away … another figure appears … you watch and listen … (Read Matthew 4:1–11)

Jesus returns to you … He sees your fear, he moves to comfort you … He says to you ‘There are always temptations that come our way’ … You know that this is true. You think of the temptations that exist in your life … You remember the images of things that tempt you that you put on your collage …

Jesus says to you, ‘I, too, have temptations. They seem appealing at the time … but they bring nothing that is life giving …:’

Recall the images on your collage. What were the benefits of resisting temptations? … You feel a sense of peace and happiness … Jesus stands with you as you look at your collage together … You ask Jesus to give his guidance to you in moments of temptation … you ask him to help you resist what will bring harm …

You turn to him and thank Jesus for his support … his love … his understanding … for being with you in the difficult times …



After a pause, students slowly become aware of the classroom environment. When they are ready, write of this experience in their journal and then, in pairs, they can talk about their experiences with Jesus in the desert.

Possible Assessment Tasks


TASK 1: Polarised debate

PURPOSE

For students to understand that they can be agents in choosing good or evil.



ACTIVITY

  • Read 1 Samuel 17:17–51.

  • Complete Activity 2 (create a storyboard), KWL p. 80, ‘The Triumph of Good’.

  • Divide the room into three areas:

− Agree

− Disagree

− undecided


  • Teacher reads out the following propositions, one at a time, and students are asked to move to one of the 3 areas in the room.

  • The propositions are:

    − good always overcomes evil

    − a good person is never arrogant

    − power always overcomes weakness

    − inexperience is better than experience

    − honesty is always better than deception.



  • Students move to one of the three areas according to whether they agree, disagree or are undecided about each proposition. They take turns to give their reasons, and listeners keep a log of the views.

  • Students are allowed to change positions if they modify their views.

OR

  • Individual work: Students choose one of the propositions mentioned and write an explanation of their views on this topic.

ASSESSMENT

Teacher observation of reasons for choices.



TASK 2: Choosing Good

PURPOSE

To demonstrate to students that choosing good over evil will always be the better way.



ACTIVITY

In Deuteronomy 30:15–20 Moses tells his people to ‘choose life’. Students read the passage and discuss its meaning. They rewrite these five verses in their own language, using images that would be easily understood today.



ASSESSMENT

Clarity of meaning.


Resources

Essential Reading


John Paul II 2001, Ecclesia in Oceania, The Church in Oceania, ‘Human Rights’ n. 27. St Pauls Publications, Strathfield.

Teacher Resources


Hahn, S 2003, Lord of Mercy (on Reconciliation). Doubleday, New York.

Lovat, T et al. 1999, New Studies in Religion, Ch. 4. Social Science Press, Sydney.

Smith, D 1996, Life and Morality: contemporary medico-moral issues. Gill & Macmillan, Dublin.

McGirr, M 2000, The Good Life, (stories of faith and life). Aurora, Richmond.


Classroom Resources


Morrissey, J et al. 1998, Out of the Desert, Book 2, Ch. 1. Longman, Melbourne.

Dr Seuss, Theodor Seuss Geisel 1971, The Lorax. Random House Inc., New York.

Weigel, G 2004, Letters to a Young Catholic. Basic Books, New York.

Wheatley, Nadia & Rawlins, Donna 1987, My Place. Collins Dove, Blackburn.


Videos


Angel of Collingwood, available from Albert Street Productions.

The Story of Caritas Australia, available from Caritas Australia.

One World, One Family, Caritas Australia.

Website


(Catholic Aid Organisation)

Unit Evaluation


In evaluating the indicators of learning the teacher could consider the following:

  • To what extent have students accepted that in the Christian understanding good triumphs over evil?

  • How well have students identified the elements of good and evil in personal and group experiences?

  • How effectively have students investigated experiences of good and evil in life and in the Scriptures?

  • To what extent did students demonstrate achievement of standards?

  • Are there standards that were not achieved?

  • What changes (if any) would you make if you were teaching this unit again?

Unit 3a: Goodness in our World



A Religious Education Curriculum Framework




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