Welcome to our Religious Education Page
'The principal aim of RE is to enable pupils to hold balanced and informed conversations about religion and belief' - Diocesan Syllabus for Religious Education
Young children are naturally inquisitive and are fascinated by themselves, their families, other people and the wonders of the world. Religious Education (RE) enables children to investigate and reflect on some of the most fundamental questions asked by people. Through the teaching of RE at Sandal Castle VA Community Primary School, we develop the children’s knowledge and understanding of not only Christianity but also of other world religions. We encourage children to reflect on what it means to have a faith and to develop their own spiritual knowledge and understanding. We help the children learn from religions as well as about religions. Time is provided to enable pupils to reflect on Bible and moral stories and absorb their meaning. Prayers, stories, poetry and role play are used as a means of helping children to express and develop their personal beliefs.
6 Big Ideas to underpin an RE curriculum:
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Religion is all around us- they are all different but represent us and our cultural choices- buildings, festivals, people etc.
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Exploring and explaining what is meant by religious action, behaviour and commitment- through words and creative expression.
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Religions offer their followers a vision of the good life, this includes sometimes, rules and principles for behaviour, ethics and visions of goodness.
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The experiences that lead to religiousness of spirituality can vary for everyone- they can be solitary, part of a community, but can hold a distinct power.
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Religion visibly has power- over individuals, in communities, in national and cultural life, religious festivals etc. All these kinds of power might be questioned.
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Religions often use narratives to express beliefs- and to express a view of the world and the place of humanity within it.
As of October 2017, we will be using the new Diocesan Syllabus for RE incorporating 'Understanding Christianity' as our chosen syllabus for delivering the RE curriculum. A staff CPD event took place on the 11th October to launch the new syllabus and the Understanding Christianity resources and a curriculum mapping exercise took place.
Attendance at the Diocesan CPD event focussing on the new syllabus took place in September. The 2 day Understanding Christianity CPD had already been attended. Understanding Christianity is based around a selection of core Christian concepts, seeking to raise the levels of pupil's religious literacy. It is structured to deepen pupils' understanding of the story of Christianity alongside key beliefs and practices. The resource has been created by Church of England Education Department advisers and members of the RE Today team.The new diocesan syllabus and Understanding Christianity complement each other in the teaching and learning of RE.
At Sandal Castle Primary we view Inclusion as :
·a sense of belonging
·feeling valued for who you are
·feeling a level of supportive energy and commitment so that we can do our best.
These gifts underpin the inclusive curriculum we offer, linking directly with SMSC, RE, British Values, Christian Values and our commitment to the equality duty objectives.
Religious Education: a key contributor but not the only vehicle for SMSC
At Sandal Castle Primary, RE supports the underpinning SMSC core of our curriculum by promoting:
Self-awareness: offering opportunities for pupils to reflect on their own views and how they have been formed, as well as the views of others
Curiosity: encouraging pupils’ capacity for critical questioning, such as by keeping big questions in a ‘question box’ or as part of a wall display, and allowing time and space where these questions can be addressed to show that they are important
Collaboration: utilising lesson techniques which engender group collaboration and communication such as Community of Enquiry/ P4C, circle time, debates, Socratic Circles or group investigations
Reflection: providing a space to reflect on pupils’ own values and views, as well as those of others, and to consider the impact of these values
Resilience: promoting a spirit of open enquiry into emotive or complicated questions, in order to learn how to cope with difficult ideas when they arise in the future
Response: exploring ways in which pupils can express their responses to demanding or controversial issues
Values: promoting an ethos of fairness and mutual respect in the classroom and compassion and generosity in pupils through exploring inspiring examples of these qualities in others
Appreciation: encouraging pupils’ ability to respond with wonder and excitement by exploring some of the marvels and mysteries of the natural world, of human ingenuity, and examples of the capacity of humans to love, create, organise and overcome adversity
RE Theme Day - Spring 1 -14th February 2019
Year 1 - Using P4C as a stimulus
Details of session: ‘Taking care of baby’ continued from demo session with Grace Robinson but with different props.
Initial Question explored: What do I need to care for a baby?
Children could give reasons and used ‘if’ to explain the circumstances in which certain items would be useful or not when caring for a baby and considered different pints of view when peers spoke, elaborating on ideas.
The 'Caring' theme linked to the RE title question from the RE syllabus was 'Caring for our World': The photos /images show the picture stimulus – gallery of contrasting pictures eg (natural beauty and spoilt beauty, beautiful beach /beach littered), air pollution, oil spillage.
Children recorded initial thoughts and feelings in speech bubbles /thought bubbles and heart shapes as they walked around the gallery of pictures.
Follow up session: How and why should we care for our world?
We studied sea creatures and plastic pollution and why animals are becoming endangered in our oceans as this was something children were concerned about.
Should we use plastic?
Is it necessary to use plastic for…..toys, food (packaging), hospitals. Discussion generated from line of continuum –children stood at different points on the line as to whether they thought yes or no as the discussion unfolded. Some children explained their ideas; “ Barbie doll could be made out of wood instead of plastic….or maybe glass but you would have to be very careful because it would be fragile.
Year 2's R.E. Theme Day was all about 'Our Wonderful World'. We thought about the story of creation, and how Christians believe the world began. We then created a whole class creation timeline to display, and also individual 'Creation Wheels' which help us to remember the story. In the afternoon we thought about what was 'wonderful' in our world, and used our ideas to suggest what we think is a 'wonder'. These ideas are now being used to create a class 'Wonder Wall' in our ongoing art lessons.
The session began with some warm up games learnt in previous SAPERE training. The children were told a story about a little girl called Jade: Jade was struggling to get full marks on her spelling tests at school. She practised all the time and just couldn't manage to get them all right. One night, she prayed to God that she would get every spelling correct in her test the next day. And she did...
At this point, the children discussed their thoughts. If they wanted to discuss it, the were to put their hand out, rather than up, to 'offer' their opinion. They were then given 'The Flower of Power' (a wooden flower) as their talking object. I then asked the children to turn their opinions into questions.
Then the story continued!
Jade had a cat called Diego. They were inseparable! Until, one fateful day, when Diego went missing. Jade resorted to praying to God to help her. She prayed night after night, but Diego never returned...
The children offered more opinions and further questions
We then had to decide on the question we would take forward to investigate further, and held a 'Blind Vote' This was where all children had to close their eyes and vote when they heard the question they liked, to encourage thinking for themselves rather than copying a friend.
Finally, children gave their physical opinion on the question by voting with their feet on a human continuum. About 10 children did that and the rest had to decide if they agreed/ disagreed with their view by voting with thumbs. A truly fab session!
During our recent R.E. Theme Day, in Year 4 we considered the question of how religion could help people deal with their problems. As Philosophers, we evaluated the question of whether some problems were bigger than others and assessed whether specific problems could be helped by having faith. We examined how people’s problems might change throughout the course of their lives and discussed potential coping strategies. As Theologians, we considered the power of prayer to assist people in coping with their problems and reflected upon the things people might pray for. As Artists we then used our ideas to create a piece of artwork illustrating prayer as a thought shower, taking our inspiration from the picture below.
Reverend Martin discussed the story of the Samaritans with Year 6 and showed us a speech by Laeticia Wright about how she had overcome depression and low self-esteem to achieve her success in the Black Panther film. After a discussion with Reverend Martin, here are our responses and questions:
- Is God responsible for suffering?
- God is love and doesn’t use suffering to punish us.
- Suffering can be judgement between people and people not helping when they could.
- Success isn’t an overnight thing, it is a process.
- God made you so you must be important.
- God, our family, a team, friends and opportunities can pull someone through a bad time.
- You don’t have to wait until you are older to make a difference and be kind.
- Your own suffering can inspire others to cope.
- Don’t suffer alone.
- Does God stop bullying and fighting?
- God believes in peace.
- You could call the Samaritans for help.
- Suffering is a way of learning.
- Suffering can leave you with compassion and feeling for helping others.
- Does God know how people doing bad things feel?
- Have God’s actions ever been judged?
- God helps us deal with hatred.
- If you don’t believe in God, does he still forgive you?
- God gives us a chance to change- our hearts can change.
- Does God know when war between religions will stop?
- How can our consciences help us?
- God wants us to be free and have peace.
RE Theme Day - Autumn 2 - 4th December 2018
Year 1 visited St Helen's to meet with Revd Rupert Martin. They explored the featurs of St Helen's Church and also experienced the wonderful tree of life.
Revd Martin also visited school to work with our year 6 cohort. This is the powerful knowledge shared, discussed and debated around the the focus of ' Good, Bad, Right, Wrong - how do I decide?.
Reverend Martin came in to talk to Year 6 as part of our RE Theme Day- Good, Bad, Right, Wrong- how do I decide? This is to prepare us for our Kindness Project.
First of all, they read a parable together from Matthew 12:33 which talked about how a healthy tree can bear healthy fruit- the children shared their ideas that this means that what’s inside us extends to our behaviour and that it is the attitude behind our actions which makes them more meaningful. We also read Matthew 21:28-31 to inspire a discussion about how a misguided attitude can be changed and put right. We all agreed that saying the right thing doesn’t automatically mean that we follow through on our actions.
Reverend Martin spoke to the children about how Jesus said that we need to love our neighbour as our self and trust his forgiveness so that we can risk loving others. He explained to the children that it can be hard to always do the right thing and even Paul, a great follower of Jesus found it hard sometimes and needed help from God.
Reverend Martin asked the children: How can we do what is right? Here are their responses:
- Listen to our hearts.
- Tell the truth.
- Forgive others and ourselves.
- Be polite.
- Be positive.
- Show sensitivity to others.
- Show respect.
- Be positive about our lives.
- Be helpful.
- Live in the moment- be grateful for what we have.
- Don’t be violent, verbally or physically.
- Look out for others.
- Ask for help and seek advice.
- Have self belief.
- Never give up.
- Be supportive.
- Think about our actions and see how we can change them for the better.
- Makes amends.
- Have a fresh start.
The children then explored what Jesus said in Matthew 10:42 about how it is best to start small and that the smallest act of giving or receiving can make us a true beginner; simple acts of kindness make a big difference.
He then asked the children: What if we keep getting it wrong and want to give up trying? Here are their responses:
- Look at what is going wrong.
- Carry on, keep on carrying on.
- Do something good to develop self belief.
- Try to have confidence.
- Calm down and take a deep breath, take a step back.
- Don’t be ashamed if others get it right, it’s not a competition.
- Try something new if it’s not working.
- Celebrate what did go right.
- Ask for help because we can’t solve all of our problems alone.
- Say sorry if we need to.
We then looked at the Book of Proverbs and the wisdom we can gain from the following proverbs:
A mean person gets paid back in meanness, a gracious person in grace.
It’s criminal to ignore a neighbour in need but compassion for the poor- what a blessing!
A soft answer turns away anger.
The children reflected that these are all very useful and things that we know already but it is useful to be reminded of them to improve our actions daily. We talked about ‘living the fruit of the spirit’.
We closed our session with a prayer:
May we know that we can ask for your Holy Spirit
To fill our hearts with your extra love
To enable us to make good choices when it’s not easy,
In Jesus’ name,
We are now working in Year 6 on a Kindness Project where we are spying on kind acts around school and our community to collect in our scrapbook- watch this space.
Diwali - November 2018
Diwali is the five-day festival of lights, celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world. The festival, which coincides with the Hindu New Year, celebrates new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness.It is called the Festival of Lights and is celebrated to honor Rama-chandra, the seventh avatar (incarnation of the god Vishnu). It is believed that on this day Rama returned to his people after 14 years of exile during which he fought and won a battle against the demons and the demon king, Ravana.
Here are a few examples of our children in Foundation Stage making their Diwali clay lamps.
Follow the Star, the Church's 2018 Christmas and Advent Campaign.
"For many of us, Christmas brings up so many emotions, memories and expectations. We have one nativity story, but it can seem like we all have very different Christmases.
"For you it might be a time of joy and togetherness. Or perhaps it’s all about planning and to-do lists. Many others can find it a sad and lonely time – nagged by the feeling that your Christmas is not like those ‘perfect’ ones we see in the media.
"But just like the unexpected assortment of people who were invited to meet the baby Jesus, #FollowTheStardoesn’t ask you to be perfect. It says: come just as you are to take the life-changing Christmas journey."
Archbishops Justin Welby & John Sentamu
#FollowTheStar: A journey through the 12 days of Christmas invites everyone to travel in the footsteps of the Wise Men to meet Jesus. Offering fourteen daily reflections – beginning on Christmas Eve and finishing on the Epiphany (6 January)
Staff CPD - November 2018
After attending SIAMs training led by our Diocesan Adviser, our vicar, Revd Rupert Martin led a staff meeting to evaluate our philosophy and values statement in order to outline the theology underpinning our vision. The link below outlines explicit links between our vision and the Bible.
Staff CPD - November 2018
On Wednesday14th November, staff took part in a training session with staff from our All Saints Partnership group. The focus of the session was - What does it mean to be a teacher is a church school? We used the following quote as a starting point for discussion...
“This new framework focuses unashamedly on vision, with the hope that it will allow governing bodies to place more of an emphasis on their purpose in education, ensuring that the school’s Christian vision impacts in ways which enable the whole school community to flourish.”
Revd Nigel Genders – Chief Education Officer
We then looked at John 10:10, Life in all it's fullness and how it is central to the educating of wisdom, knowledge, skills, hope , aspiration, community, living well together, dignity and respect .
We continued our training to focus on spirituality and noted the work of Rebecca Nye.
We then looked at key phrases from ' Valuing all God's Children';
‘Warm fires and open doors’
“There are no problems here,there are simply people”
Signifiers of belonging?
Before finally reflecting upon;
Life in all its Fullness
Wisdom, Hope, Community & Dignity
and what it means to us at a Chuch school.
Staff CPD - October 2018
On Tuesday 2nd October, 5 members of staff attended a training day led by Kaushar Tai (Aksaa). The training focussed on an introduction to Islam and the Muslim Culture. The day began with an Ismamic Knowledge Quiz, followed by an information session on the background to Muslims in Britain. This was followed by a visit to the local Mosque where we had the opportunity to observe the Adhan (call to prayer) and the Zuhr (Afternoon) prayer. A number of topics were then discussed; status of women in Islam; Jihad, 5 Pillars of Islam, the Quran, features of the Mosque; minaret, dome, mihrab arch and qibla wall, minbar, ablution and madrassah.
RE THEME DAY - 28th September 2018
Year 2's topic for R.E. Theme Day was; 'Who am I, and where do I belong?'. We talked about who we were, and what it was about us that made us unique. We shared our ideas in a class discussion before creating individual 'I am' plaques to be displayed in our classrooms. We then talked about what 'belonging' meant to us, and why we felt it was important to belong. We shared the groups and communities that we felt we were a part of, what why these were special to us. Finally, we talked about what made our class community special, and designed a class symbol for each Year 2 classroom, which we will make and display.
For our first RE theme day of the term, we explored the important question 'What will make our city and village a more respectful place?'. First, the children considered what the word 'respect' means to them. They worked in discussion teams to place different scenarios on our 'Respect o'meter'- ranking them from the most respectful to the least respectful behaviours.
The children then considered what we should celebrate about Wakefield and how we might want to improve it. We linked this to our prior discussions about refugees and how someone might feel entering our community; imagining what Paddington the Bear would think about our community if he had travelled from Peru to Wakefield!
Finally, the children used their reflections to create an ideal respectful community, considering how we should behave in order to help make our city a more respectful place. Here are some of the ideas shared during our discussions:
"In a respectful community everybody is allowed in and there is no racism. It doesn't matter whether you're a girl or a boy or what colour your skin is."- Fiona
"Everyone has the right to feel happy. No-one should upset anyone else, they should just be friends."- Alysha
"We have the right to feel safe"- Lucy "so there should be lots of police men and fire men to look after us."- Dexter
In Year 4, our theme was "What will make our city a more respectful place?". We considered the different religions which make up the UK, and used philosophy to reflect on what a community is and what makes a community. We then placed a series of real life people, film and book characters on a community-o-meter to evaluate whether they would make a good or bad member of a community. We discussed what makes a respectful community and then designed our own respectful communities in teams.
As part of our RE Theme Day, Y6 met with Rupert, our vicar, to discuss what it means to be religious in Britain today. The children were asked what they think it means to be religious, here are some of their responses:
- It means to have faith in a religion (Inaaya).
- It means to believe in peace and not war (DD).
- It means to believe in the stories that make up the history of a religion (Thomas).
- To serve others before ourselves.
- To love and forgive.
- True religion is to look after those who are lonely, hopeless and helpless.
Rupert then gave a speech about what Religion means to him including some of the following ideas:
The children were then asked if they had any questions for Rupert and we were really impressed by the depth and thought behind their ideas:
- How does it feel to be religious?
- Does God love people who don’t believe in him?
- Why do miracles happen to non-religious people and not people who don’t always show their faith?
- Did Mary and Joseph receive a miracle or a purpose?
- Does God give us a bit extra because we can’t always get it right?
- What does it take to be a good Christian?
- Did God create all languages?
- Does God have fun with us?
- Why does he put faith in us?
- How often should we pray?
- Does God care for animals as much as humans?
- Does God give everyone luck at some point?
- Does God love people who do bad things?
- How do we know what God wants?
- How will we know if he changes his mind?
- Does God have hope for us?
- Is God pleased with us or is he cross?
- Did God create dinosaurs?
- Who does Jesus believe in?
- Why did God create nature?
- Were Adam and Eve religious?
As part of RE Theme Day year 6 discussed what it is like to agnostic or atheist in Britain today. We discussed how despite a lack of belief in or uncertainty around the existence of God, people can find meaning and deep happiness, spirituality, in other things. WE created characters to reflect our discussions.
RE Theme Day - 28th June 2018
In Year 5, we explored an important question:
Why is there suffering? Are there any solutions?
First, we went outside to use a philosophy game- a ‘sufferometer’ where we discussed the impact of certain issues affecting us and the world around us. We had to discuss having our X Boxes confiscated alongside animal cruelty and the refugee crisis and decide where to place them based on impact. We had lots of very mature discussions and then devised questions such as:
Why does God let suffering happen?
Can religion cause suffering?
How did Jesus advise us to deal with suffering?
Does God view all suffering as equal?
If we do something bad- will we be forgiven?
We had the opportunity to ask these questions to our local Vicar; Revd Rupert Martin and had wonderful, in depth discussions as a result.
We decided to spread small gestures of goodwill in our local community to make a difference rather than trying to change the world over night. We baked biscuits and visited our local elderly care home where we met with residents, spent time with them over a cuppa and a biscuit and then sang to them.
Our RE Theme day today which was based upon the question: 'How do religions help people through good times and bad times?'
First of all, we analysed some common challenges which children might face and considered what advice we would give them. Then we considered how people with faith might use religion as a comfort, or prayer and stories from Holy Books to give them strength, support and advice in times of need.
We used our reading skills to analyse the Christian Serenity prayer and reflected upon how this may help someone in need. We considered the types of challenges people may have to face in their lives such as natural disasters, arguing, loneliness, war and illness. Using a venn diagram, we sorted these problems into those which may have a practical solution, those which religion can help to solve and those which could be solved in both ways.
Through Philosophy, we ranked challenges in order and justified our choices. We then discussed the question 'Are some people's problems bigger than others?'
Finally, to reach out to those who face challenges in our community, we made cards for the elderly to try and address the issue of loneliness and our teachers will deliver these to a local care home.
In Year 3, we considered how faith helps people through good times and bad times. The children explored photographs depicting times of suffering (for example, two orphaned children living in a war town village) and times of happiness (for example, a family celebrating Eid) and considered the key question ‘How do you know God is there?’ Here are some of the fantastic, mature views our children shared:
“God is there because the boys still have each other and he is giving them the strength to survive everyday. God is looking over them and helping to keep them safe in a dangerous situation.” Harrisen
“Belief in God helps people to keep going in hard times likes this because they know God wants them to survive and he is looking after them.” Shyla
We then studied the poem ‘Footprints in the Sand’ and the children reflected on difficult times in their lives when there might have only been one set of footprints in the sand. We also celebrated the happy times when there would have been two sets of footprints. The children used these reflections to make a map of their own footprints in the sand.
Inclusion Quality Mark and Centre of Excellence - Awarded May 2018
Our report is a celebration of the inclusive culture of our school...
''The Headteacher has been at the school for 25 years. Staff turnover is low. The Vicar and his wife (who is a governor) have supported the community and the school for 25 years. This continuity seen in both school staff, and the links with the church means that levels of trust between families and the school are very high.''
''The school explicitly values diversity and considers the message of Christianity to be
one of tolerance and inclusion. The Headteacher and the leadership team were very
clear that these values should be lived and modelled .''
All Saints Partnership of Schools
Sandal Castle Primary works in partnership with 7 local Primary Church Schools. We work collaboratively monitoring teaching and learning via peer challenge events, engage in joint training and CPD opportunities, share experience and expertise of staff in leading network meetings each half term, undertake community events eg sporting events, all of which forms crucial aspects and evidence of our accountability process.
- Sandal Castle VA Community Primary
- St Mary's
- St James
- St Pauls
- St Peters
- Normanton All Saints
- St John's
IQM Quote taken from our report;
''The All Saints partnership of seven Church of England schools provides opportunities
for the Headteachers to monitor other schools so provide some standardisation of
monitoring process. Within this group, Sandal Castle is part of a triad of schools that
has regular standardisation meetings so that teachers meet with their counterparts
from the same year group in other schools and standardise pupil work. ''
RE and Pupil Voice
Our children love the learning and teaching opportunities offered within our RE curriculum. They have so many positive comments to share. In order to ensure our children have first hand experiences we link with the Interfaith Education Centre at Bradford.
The IEC has extensive experience in hosting educational visits to places of worship and supporting learning from and about religions and beliefs. This can be through a visit to a place of worship,a workshop or a lesson in your school or setting.
We have arranged visits to:
a Buddhist Centre
St Helen's Church
Masjid / Mosque
RE Theme Day - Spring Term 25.1.18
Year 1 children visited St Helen's Church and had the opportunity to ask Revd Rupert Martin a range of questions.
Some questions Reverend Martin discussed with us were:
Why is it important to show respect for other people's sacred or precious belongings?
Why do people go to church?
What happens in a church?
How is a church different from a school?
The children took photographs of the main features and symbols and Rupert answered our questions and explained what happens in church. The children also did a lovely illustration and piece of writing about their own special place and reflected on why it is special to them.
The year 2 theme was 'Sacred/Special Places'. We explored places that are special to us and sacred places for Christians and Muslims including artefacts and features of Churches and Mosques.
The photos show:-
Circle time - what place is special to me and why?
Umair, Mueez, Zunaira, Ameera sharing a song from Mosque.
Mueez showing and explaining clothing and workbooks from Mosque school
Identifying and sorting artefacts from Mosques/Churches
Creating our own Stained Glass window artwork depicting our 'special places'.
Researching churches/mosques through books/virtual tours online.
Children reading Arabic script.
In year 3 the children also explored the theme of, 'What are the deeper meanings of festivals?' Linking to their Hinduism topic, they decided to experience Diwali and learn about how and why Hindus celebrate this festival. They listened to the story of Rama and Sita and discussed why retelling this story is an important part of Diwali. The children then worked in groups to retell the story using shadow puppets. We also experienced other traditions, such as traditional Indian dancing, making diyas and creating mandalas using rangoli patterns.
In year 4 the children have been considering the question: What are the deeper meanings of festivals?
To do this they have:
- learnt the story of Moses and the Isralites escape from slavery in Egypt.
- taken part in a philosophy session discussing 'Can we ever truly be free?'
- eaten a Jewish Seder meal.
- learnt about the festival Yom Kippur
- written prayers of forgiveness to create a class forgiveness chain.
- created Yom Kippur greetings cards.
This is the link to the story they watched and discussed https://www.bbc.co.uk/education/clips/zg6j3k7
Theme: Good, Bad, Wrong, Right- how do we decide? How can prophecy support us?
- To explain the role of prophets in helping people come back to the word of the Lord.
- To define the role of a prophet as someone who speaks truth to power and is believed to be a mouthpiece of God or goodness.
- To offer a view as to whether the modern world needs prophets.
- To discuss what a modern day prophet would do and say, with examples, evidence and argument.
- To decide whether Martin Luther King was a prophet of his time and to evaluate the impact of his role.
- To use Martin Luther King’s words and message to create a piece of artwork depicting his important contributions to change.