Learning Exercise

Interpreting Sacred Stories

This is designed as a "blended activity" especially for use in Hybrid courses. The teacher introduces the website to students, demonstating how it works. One story is discussed in small groups. Students follow-up during the week exploring on their own other stories at the site and discussing these on a course discussion board.
Course: Introduction to the Study of Religion

Sacred-Discover what we share: From 27 April – 23 September 2007 the world's greatest collection of Jewish, Christian... see more


In Class: Following lecture/PowerPoint introducing Sacred Stories Introduce students to interactive website: http://www.bl.uk/learning/cult/sacred/stories/ Watch Buddhist story: The Elephant and the Blind Men Ask students: "what kind of story is this" (take responses until someone correctly identifies it as a parable) In small groups: students discuss the meaning they got out of the story (interpreting the metaphor) One person from each group will share with the class the meaning their group arrived at Show students where to find "more information" about the stories in the virtual books and note the questions on the last page. Provide each group with one or another of the questions to discuss (prepared printed on paper). After some discussion, have a person from each group offer a summary of their discussion of the question. (If more than one group is given the same question to discuss, they may come up with some interesting, alternative responses). Follow-up online work: Students visit the interactive site on their own, watch one or more stories. "Turn" the "pages" of the virtual book to read "more information" about the stories. Select one story from a religion other than your own On Discussion Board: post the meaning or lesson YOU got out of the story (identify the religion/story you are interpreting and what KIND of story you think it is and why: parable, myth, sacred narrative) Read a classmate's post regarding a story from a different religion Revisit the website, watch the story your classmate interpreted Return to the discussion board and post a REPLY: - Do you think they correctly identify the kind of story? If not, what kind of story do YOU think it is and why? - Expand on the interpretation offered by your classmate or offer an alternative interpretation. - and/or answer one of the questions for the story on the last "page" of the virtual book (the "more information" tab) Feel free to view and comment on stories posted by more than one classmate, as time and interest allow.


Technical Notes

matieral uses Flash plug-in


familiarity with the web and the site being used


Sacred Stories

Type of Task

Learning Objectives

to expose students to various kinds of sacred stories, as found in various religions to exercise students minds in creatively interpreting stories


This is intended as an informal and fun learning activity. Full credit for partipation may be given as a part of a course attendance or homework grade, so long as all parts of the activity are completed. Teacher may choose to offer partial credit for partial completion or clear lack of effort/depth of thought.