Basics of Religion Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

What are the basic and fundamental elements of religion? This lesson plan uses a video lesson to summarize key points for students. An activity encourages students to identify the basic components of common religions.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'religion'
  • list the basic factors of religions
  • discuss the significance of the supernatural, moral codes, and ritual acts in religion


60 to 90 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.


Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.


Integrate quantitative or technical analysis (e.g., charts, research data) with qualitative analysis in print or digital text.


Assess the extent to which the reasoning and evidence in a text support the author's claims.


  • A worksheet created using the quiz from the associated video lesson, one for each student
  • Assorted photocopied fact sheets, each listing the fundamental attributes of different common religions


  • Begin by asking students to brainstorm all of the religions they can think of.
  • Have the students share their brainstormed lists of religions with the class while you write them on the board.
    • How many different religions did we come up with?
    • What is religion?
  • Play the video lesson What Is Religion? - Definition & Role in Society, pausing it at 1:41.
    • Using what was just presented in the video lesson on religion, how would you define it?
  • Give students a chance to share their definitions during a class discussion.
    • Are there any commonalities among our definitions?
  • Play the video lesson again. Pause it at 2:25.
    • How does the supernatural element factor into the different religions we brainstormed at the outset of the lesson?
    • Is a supernatural element essential in religion? Why or why not?
  • Resume the video, pausing at 3:35.
    • What is a moral code?
    • What is a taboo?
    • Are moral codes and taboos essential elements of religion? Why or why not?
  • Play the remainder of the video lesson for the class now.
    • What are ritual acts?
    • Can anyone provide examples of the ritual acts associated with some of the religions we've named in class?
    • What are the basics of religion?
  • Review key points from the video lesson with the class before continuing.
  • Pass out the worksheet and have the students work independently to complete.
  • When all students have finished the worksheet, review each question and answer as a class. Allow students to self-correct any missed responses on their papers.

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