Thomas Aquinas Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Teach your students about Thomas Aquinas and his influence on the Catholic Church with help from this lesson plan. Students will watch a video lesson, identify the problems Aquinas solved, do a quote project, and take a quiz.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • outline who Thomas Aquinas was, how he helped the Catholic Church, and his legacy
  • identify the problem Aquinas solved and analyze his solution
  • analyze work by Aquinas and explain its influence


1 - 1.5 hours

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.2

Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.3

Identify key steps in a text's description of a process related to history/social studies (e.g., how a bill becomes law, how interest rates are raised or lowered).

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.4

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.


Warm-Up and Connect

  • Write the following quote on the board:
    • To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.
  • Give students several minutes to read the quote and analyze, then ask:
    • What does this quote mean to you?
  • Allow students to share the quote with a partner, then discuss as a whole class.
    • Do they agree or disagree? Why?
    • What does it mean to have faith?
  • Tell students this quote came from a person named Thomas Aquinas and they will be learning about him today.

Direct Instruction

  • Start the video lesson Thomas Aquinas' Influence on the Catholic Church and pause at 0:53.
  • Allow students to share their experiences with arguing on two planes as the video states, then ask:
    • How do you handle this type of argument?
    • Why did Aquinas have to defend the church?
  • Resume the video lesson and pause again at 3:45. What new understanding do students have of Aquinas, his work, and his defense of the church? What problem did Aquinas solve? How? Why was church dogma being challenged?

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