Does religious freedom exist?

Lesson Duration

From DCPS  - Instructional Continuity Plan (distance learning)

Does religious freedom exist? 

  • What are the major religions of the world?
  • What is religious freedom?
  • How has religious freedom been represented over time? – Featured sources include Magna Carta (excerpts), First Amendment to the United States Constitution, text of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (excerpts)
  • What is the current status of religious freedom around the world?

In this three-week self-directed inquiry designed for middle school, students will identify the major beliefs of world religions and begin to recognize similarities and differences. The featured sources focus primarily on the five major religions of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism founded during the time periodca. 2000 BCE–ca. 630 CE, but some information is also included about Confucianism, folk religions, and unaffiliated religious activity. Students read sources about the practices and location of world religions, investigate how the concept of religious freedom has emerged over time, and examine the current status of religious freedom around the world.


  • Map the distribution patterns of the world’s major religions, and identify architectural features associated with each.
  • Describe and analyze examples of how religions evolve and change over time in response to differing social, historical, and political contexts.
  • Gather relevant information from multiple sources while using the origin, authority, structure, context, and corroborative value of the sources to guide the selection.
  • Construct arguments using claims and evidence from multiple sources, while acknowledging the strengths and limitations of the arguments.

Learning tasks are scaffolded for students towards the final performance assessment: a 5-paragraph argument essay in which students answer the question of whether religious freedom exists using specific claims and relevant evidence from historical sources, while acknowledging competing views.


Lesson:  - Weeks 1-3 Learning Plans


DC Public Schools