Unit 5: Exploring World Religions
Students build a deeper appreciation and respect for world religions in the aim of better understanding the differences and similarities among the religions and cultures of their classmates.
In this unit, students build a deeper understanding, appreciation, and respect for the wide variety of religions found in the world by reading two core texts: What Is Religion? and One World, Many Religions: The Ways We Worship. In today’s society, illiteracy regarding religion is widespread and fuels prejudice and bullying. The negative impacts of religious illiteracy and intolerance can be minimized by teaching religion from a non-devotional, academic perspective. Therefore, this unit challenges students to build a broader awareness and understanding of religion by exposing students to a diversity of religious views and educating students about some of the most common religions. It is important to note that this unit is not intended to promote the acceptance of one particular religion or serve as a place to practice religion. Instead, it is our goal that this unit will help students better understand the differences and similarities among the religions and cultures of their classmates, and begin to appreciate and respect differences in religion.
As readers, this unit challenges students to synthesize information across two texts to build a deeper understanding of a topic. Students will analyze how authors support points, what structures they include to emphasize key ideas, and how different texts provide different perspectives and information about similar topics. Students will also review how to determine the main idea of a text, determining which details best support the main idea. Since this is the culminating unit in the sequence, when discussing the text students focus on critiquing and analyzing the reasoning of others, using what they learned from previous units on how to clarify and share their thoughts and how to engage with the thinking of others to push the discussion to a deeper level. In this unit students also have multiple opportunities to write informational paragraphs, using what they learned from previous units about topic sentences, supporting details, and elaboration.
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Book: What Is Religion? by Bobbie Kalman (Crabtree Publishing Company 2009)
Book: One World, Many Religions: The Ways We Worship by Mary Pope Osborne (Knopf Books for Young Readers 1996)
Rubric: Grade 3 Informational Writing Rubric
These assessments accompany this unit to help gauge student understanding of key unit content and skills.
Download Cold Read Assessment
Download Cold Read Assessment Answer Key
Download Content Assessment
Download Content Assessment Answer Key
Additional progress monitoring suggestions are included throughout the unit. Essential Tasks can be found in the following lessons:
Suggestions for how to prepare to teach this unit
Prepare to teach this unit by immersing yourself in the texts, themes, and core standards. Unit Launches include a series of short videos, targeted readings, and opportunities for action planning.
The central thematic questions addressed in the unit or across units
To determine the main idea of a text, readers think about which details best support the main idea.
Authors use different text structures to help readers understand and describe ideas or concepts.
Conduct short research projects to build knowledge.
Introduce a topic and group related information together.
Develop the topic with facts, definitions, and details.
Write a concluding sentence.
Include text features and visual support to aid comprehension.
Question and clarify. Seek to clarify a particular point a student makes by asking follow-up questions.
Build on and challenge partner’s ideas.
Synthesize to build deeper meaning. Synthesize everything from the discussion into a coherent statement at the end of the discussion.
Literary terms, text-based vocabulary, idioms and word parts to be taught with the text
To see all the vocabulary for Unit 5, view our 3rd Grade Vocabulary Glossary.
In order to ensure that all students are able to access the texts and tasks in this unit, it is incredibly important to intellectually prepare to teach the unit prior to launching the unit. Use the intellectual preparation protocol and the Unit Launch to determine which support students will need. To learn more, visit the Supporting all Students teacher tool.
Notes to help teachers prepare for this specific unit
Describe what a religion is and the way religions are similar and different.
Explain how the author uses details to support the idea that religion has shaped the world we live in today.
Discussion & Writing – 2 days
Explain what evidence both authors include to show that religion has played an important role in shaping our world.
Explain what the section “The Story of Judaism” is mostly about and what details the author includes to support the main ideas by determining the main idea.
Explain the history and beliefs of Judaism.
Analyze the evidence the author includes to support the idea that “for centuries, holidays and traditions have been an essential part of Jewish life."
Discussion & Writing
Explain what both authors want a reader to know and understand about the key beliefs and aspects of Judaism.
Explain what the sections “The Story of Jesus” and “Many Kinds of Christians” are mostly about and what details the author includes to support the main idea.
Explain the history and beliefs of Christianity.
Explain if all Christian groups, or denominations, are the same and what evidence the author gives to either support or disprove this idea.
Explain what both authors want a reader to know and understand about the key beliefs and aspects of Christianity.
Explain what the section “The Story of Islam” is mostly about and what details the author includes to support the main idea.
Explain the history and beliefs of Islam.
Explain the five pillars of Islam and why each pillar is important.
Explain what both authors want a reader to know and understand about the key beliefs and aspects of Islam.
Research and take notes about either Hinduism or Buddhism by reading multiple texts to determine and synthesize key information about a topic.
Writing – 5 days
Write a research report describing key aspects of Buddhism or Hinduism by writing informative texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
Discuss why it is important to learn about other religions.
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The content standards covered in this unit
— Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
— Use coordinating and subordinating conjunctions.
— Produce simple, compound, and complex sentences.
— Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
— Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.
— Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.
— Describe the logical connection between particular sentences and paragraphs in a text (e.g., comparison, cause/effect, first/second/third in a sequence).
— Compare and contrast the most important points and key details presented in two texts on the same topic.
— Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
— Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
— Introduce a topic and group related information together; include illustrations when useful to aiding comprehension.
— Develop the topic with facts, definitions, and details.
— Provide a concluding statement or section.
— Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
— Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.
Standards that are practiced daily but are not priority standards of the unit
— Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning word and phrases based on grade 3 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
— Determine the meaning of the new word formed when a known affix is added to a known word (e.g., agreeable/disagreeable, comfortable/uncomfortable, care/careless, heat/preheat).
— Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate conversational, general academic, and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal spatial and temporal relationships (e.g., After dinner that night we went looking for them).
— Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
— Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
— Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
— Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area.
— Use text features and search tools (e.g., key words, sidebars, hyperlinks) to locate information relevant to a given topic efficiently.
— Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
— By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grades 2—3 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
— Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.
— Create engaging audio recordings of stories or poems that demonstrate fluid reading at an understandable pace; add visual displays when appropriate to emphasize or enhance certain facts or details.
— Speak in complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.
— With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose.
(Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1—3 above.)
— With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.
— With guidance and support from adults, use technology to produce and publish writing (using keyboarding skills) as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
— Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
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