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Students develop a basic understanding of Buddhism and its traditions in this lesson by compiling online research into a narrated photo story


Computers & Internet, Social Studies  


9, 10, 11, 12  

Title – Buddhism: The Basics
By – Ramon Lopez
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Secondary Subjects – Computers / Internet
Grade Level – 9 – 12 
Time Frame – 2-3 50-minute periods

Concept / Topic To Teach: Students will develop a basic understanding of Buddhism and its traditions. Texas Essential Knowledge 9th Grade World Geography Standards:

    17(b) Students will describe major world religions, including animism, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Sikhism, and their spatial distribution.

General Goal(s):

    Students will be able to present Buddhism to others and make connections between Buddhism and their own cultural experiences.

Specific Objectives:

  1. Research Buddhism using available online sources
  2. Compile photos of Buddhism from various search engines, websites (Wikipedia, etc.)
  3. Create a photo story for a class presentation (organize photos to corresponding audio overlay of research findings into a digital slideshow)

Required Materials:

  • an internet connection
  • computers
  • headset with microphone
  • Photo Story 3 (free software available from; Mac users may use iMovie)
  • pen
  • writing paper
  • additional materials as required for adaptations and extensions (listed below)

Anticipatory Set:

  • Students will be shown pictures of a Buddha statue, a Buddhist monk in robes, and people celebrating a Buddhist holiday.
  • The students will be asked to “write down two details for each picture and share what they see with the class.
  • Teacher will prompt students for prior knowledge and introduce the pictures and their significance.

Step-By-Step Procedures:

  1. Teacher will provide a project overview and discuss citation of resources and copyright/plagiarism issues, then answer any questions.
  2. Teachers will organize students in groups of two or three depending on reading/comprehension ability.
  3. Teacher will assign students one of four research categories:
    • Group 1: The Buddha: Life of Siddhartha Gautama
      Focus: What is known about him? How did he become the Buddha or Enlightened One?
    • Group 2: Buddhism by the Numbers
      Focus: What are the beliefs of Buddhism such as Four Noble Truths, Eight Fold Path, etc. ‘by the numbers.’
    • Group 3: Buddhism around the World
      Focus: How is Buddhism experienced around the world? What are the two types, the different countries, holidays, etc.
    • Group 4: Buddhism and My Experience
      Focus: This group compares Buddhist philosophy to their own cultural experiences or values.
      NOTE: Teacher should guide students in this category closely or choose the most independent students. This is the most challenging category.
  4. Teacher will recommend the following sources for research material and photos:
  5. After research is completed, guide students to search for 5-7 photos reflecting their research findings.
    • Students will create a folder for their photos and save photos to it.
    • Remind students to log the URL or web address for each photo for proper citation.
    • Group 4’s photos may be symbolic as they represent individual experiences of the group.
  6. Teacher will introduce and guide students through use of Photo Story 3 . Recommend use of video tutorials and have Microsoft instruction guide in printed form.
  7. Have students record a narration of their research findings over their 5-7 photos (at 1:00 in the Video Tutorial or printed section Record Narration).
  8. Teacher may also choose to have students incorporate music. Background music can be created by the program for video (at 1:12 in video tutorial). Recommend students set volume of music at the 1/4 volume hash mark.
  9. Students will make a photo story and save it to your computer. This is the final step of using Photo Story 3.
  10. Student will present or “show” their photo story to the class. Have viewing students prompt presenters with at least two questions provided by teacher to ensure active participation.

Plan For Independent Practice:

      Have students

reflect and write

    on Buddhism as a world religion as homework after the first period when project was introduced.

Closure (Reflect Anticipatory Set):

      Have students

reflect and write

    about any how their views/knowledge of Buddhism changed after the presentations.

Assessment Based On Objectives:

      Teacher will create a simple


    with points awarded for successful completion of the three objectives of the lesson.

Adaptations (For Students With Learning Disabilities):

      Assign either Group 1 or Group 2’s topic and provide a

guided search

    (recommend web based that lets you shorten multiple URLs into one short one”). This will focus their search to pre-selected areas based on required needs.

Extensions (For Gifted Students):

      Upload to a

class wiki or web page

      detailing the class research and post student work. Recommend use of

    . It is easy to use and has excellent video tutorials on how to use basic functions of the wiki. Teacher will need to set up site prior to lesson (much easier).

Possible Connections To Other Subjects:

    World History, Technology Applications

E-Mail Ramon Lopez !

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