Did Darwin Kill God? (Lesson Plan)

Did Darwin Kill God? (Lesson Plan based around Conor Cunningham Video)

Learning Outcomes:

• Know who Darwin was and what he was like.

• Understand why some people at the time found his ideas threatening.

• Realize that people can change the world by big ideas.

• Explore why Darwin is considered significant today.

• Identify what is worth knowing about Darwin and why.

Who is Charles Darwin? 10 minutes

PowerPoint on Charles Darwin. This power point will show images of who Charles Darwin was, provide a brief history about him and his book Origin of Species. It will highlight how he was reluctant to publish he book on Evolution, as he knew the church would hold serious objections.

Discussion questions:

Describe how Charles Darwin used the scientific method to develop his theory of evolution.

What were some of the influences on Darwin as he developed his theory?

Why was Darwin reluctant to publish his theory?

Biblical fundamentalists 10 minutes

Outline and describe who Biblical fundamentalists were. Emphasis that they believed the Bible should be understood and translated through “literal” means.

Explain and discuss the term Literal.


Who were biblical fundamentalists?

What does to translate something literally mean?

Do you think their approach was correct?

Compatibility 15 minutes

Explore the idea of Ultra Darwinists and how some believe it paved the way towards modern atheism. Investigate those who say that both the theory of evolution and the belief in God are completely compatible i.e. that Darwin’s theory isn’t atheistic in the slightest but instead coherent with what is said in the bible.


Charles Darwin Worksheet


Google Docs for College Students and Teacher’s

As a recent college graduate I remember all too well the stress and on going panic of college assignments, essays and preparing lesson plans. There were two things I depended on to get my work completed….my laptop (or computer) and my USB stick.

Our worst nightmare was having all our work complete and ready to print out when suddenly the computer screen goes blank, your work disappears and that ultimate feeling of doom and gloom sets in. You hide your head in your hands and fight back the tears. It has happened to all of us at some point throughout our college days.

If you are looking for a way to put Microsoft documents and USB sticks behind you why not try Google Docs out!

Google Docs put simply is an easy to use online version of Microsoft Office with some extra unique and exciting features! Google Docs allows you to create word documents, power point presentations and spreadsheets and store them online. This means that you can access your work on any computer that has internet access. Allowing you to eliminate any fear of your laptop or computer suddenly crashing along with all your work.

Benefits for College Students

  1. It’s free! If you are a student who has a Gmail account or a dcu.ie email address. You already have access to google docs.
  2. Prepare essays, power points and continuous assessments on google docs and access on any computer anywhere (as long as you have internet access). This is great for any students who do not own a computer or for any students who don’t fancy carrying your laptop around college all day.
  3. Saving in the Cloud: Writing important essays in Google Docs allows you to access assignments and papers from any computer, anywhere. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been stuck in the library without my laptop, or only have my smartphone handy. With Google Docs, it doesn’t matter, because all of my assignments are stored in the cloud, meaning I don’t have to be attached to my laptop to get work done. This could save your sanity if your computer crashes and luckily, there will be no need to panic, because you know your work is tucked safely in the Google Docs cloud, instead of your dying hard drive.
  4. Preparing a thesis? Instead of attaching a copy of your work in an email and receiving feedback from your lecturer in a separate email why not use Google Docs sharing features? This allows you and your supervisor to exchange notes by interacting online also enabling your supervisor to type in their own notes on your thesis allowing you to edit your work sufficiently.
  5. Group Work: Group projects in college can at times be a nightmare. Collaboration is often done through text or facebook messaging. Combining all the work together or slides on a power point before a presentation was usually frantically done at last minute. With google docs groups are able to work together on the same presentation or project simultaneuosly. The discussion feature is great for this. 
  6. Exam Time: most college students today are guilty of one thing: we don’t share enough and we don’t work together enough. Before exam time each year myself and a few friends would swap notes and work together with studying methods and sharing essays. However, this was done through email. Why not do this through real time? We tend to spend most of our time hooked to chat forums anyway so why not study using this technique too? Work with friends to take in-class notes on a single Google doc, allowing everyone to come away with a more thorough set of notes than they could have written individually. These notes can then be used to help everybody come exam time! 

Check out this video to see the easy to use discussion and online editing and collaboration tools on google docs in action:

Benefits for Teachers and Student Teachers

  1. Collaborative Writing: This allows students to prepare their work online such as essays and projects and receive immediate feedback from their teacher. There is also a built in research tool allowing students to explore the online world for information and provide links to it on their document.
  2. Collaborative Brainstorming: this gives the students an opportunity to share ideas and thoughts online and to contribute to the lesson. Students can use shapes, arrows, text, and imported images to build a visual map for any task. The revision history uses colors to highlight and tracks changes to any Google Doc, making it easy to see what each student has contributed to the big picture.
  3. Quiz: You can create a simple quiz with a Google Form.  Just create a quiz with a few multiple choice questions, take the quiz yourself to submit the correct answers, and pop a simple formula into the spreadsheet end to let the technology do the grading for you.  Immediately publish the spreadsheet of results and teach students how to use the find tool to quickly find their score and significantly raise the stakes to increase student motivation.  Please note: To avoid public humiliation and hard feelings make sure you require students to sign in with some sort of unique identifier that protects their privacy.
  4. Power point presentation and You Tube: Inserting youtube videos in a power point presentation using microsoft office usually means for most teacher inserting a link that they must press during the lesson. This link will then open an internet window and upload a clip from you tube. Google docs allows you to watch a you tube video without moving away from your power point presentation. It is very simple and a definite benefit for all teachers.

Check out this video to see the amazing ways you can create a power point presentation using google docs!

Google Docs in Education Slideshow:

Ted Talks Video for the RE classroom!

Beautiful video about a woman who was once voted the ugliest woman in the world on the internet now a motivational speaker.

This video can be used to teach your students about the impact cyber bullying can have on your life…negatives but also the positives. This lady turned her life around and never let her disabilities determine who she was or what she could achieve in life. Very moving and powerful watch for any classroom.

Irish Music: Sean O’Riada

Intended learning outcomes:

  • Students will be know and be able to identify characteristics of Irish traditional music.
  • Students will know the main developments of Irish Music.
  • Students will have an understanding of who Sean O’Riada is.
  • Students will know what Sean O’Riada contributed to the development of Irish music.

Compare and Contrast

Play examples of music from a collection of different eras and ask the students can they identify features of the music and what genre it is such as:

  • Instruments they can hear
  • What genre of music it is.

Play a piece of Irish music and ask students to identify features of it. They will then compare and contrast each piece. This should help them understand the main features of Irish music.

Flash Cards

In groups students will study flashcards containing words related to Irish Music and music of a contrasting genres such as:

  • Triplets
  • Orchestra
  • Electric guitar
  • Jig
  • Reel
  • Choir
  • Hornpipe
  • Rock band
  • Fiddle
  • Drone

There will also be images on the flashcards. Students must arrange flashcards in two categories. One for Irish music and another for different genres.

Sean O’Riada (Powerpoint)


For homework: Students will write down key words from the board describing the music of Sean O’Riada. They will write a short newspaper article based around Sean O’Riada and his music.



Three Kings Day Mediation for Religion Teachers


Over the past week I have seen people taking down Christmas decorations or I have been asked when is it okay to take down your Christmas tree. It would appear that people are so eager to celebrate Christmas that when the day itself has come and gone they then pounce to take all their decorations down. Have we forgotten the Twelve Days of Christmas? Three Kings Day or the Epiphany is celebrated on the 6th of January. The 6th of January is the last time we turn on the Christmas lights and the tree before we take them down. In some countries around the world Three Kings Day is still a school holiday.

Why is the Epiphany so important?

The gospel of Matthew tries to explain to us that Jesus was recognized and worshipped as a King by wise and powerful men. The wise men were foreigners, they were not Jews. The story helped people to see that the coming of Jesus was a special event for the whole world. The three wise men also brought gifts of Gold Frankincense and Myrrh

As you return to school tomorrow keep Little Christmas/Three Kings Day alive and in the hearts of your students by trying out a short simple meditation. This meditation was inspired by one of my lecturers in college.


(Ask students to get comfortable in chairs or go to the school oratory)

I invite you to close your eyes. Concentrate on your breathing. Begin to listen to all the noises around you. The ticking of the clock, cars in the distance etc. Now focus on your own breathing. Has it slowed down? Slowly breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. On my count I would like you to breathe in throughout your nose and out through your mouth.

7/11 technique applied here (Breathe in counting to 7 and breath out counting to 11) this relaxes and helps focus the students.

Bring students into the manger ask them what they see around them and invite them to sit down in the manger. They look up and see a bright star and three wise men following the star they bring three gifts to the baby Jesus. Name the gifts. Ask each student to think of three people in their own lives that brought gifts into their lives. However, get them to think of different kind of gifts like love, friendship, trust, happiness, (perhaps the gifts we see on the Advent Wreath). Ask them to imagine themselves looking into a mirror and to look at themselves. What do they see? Are the happy with what they see? Tell them that they are all beautiful in the eyes of God. Tell them to pick one important person in their own lives who have given them certain gifts that has helped them become the person they are today. This person is now standing beside them in the mirror. Tell each student that they are beautiful in the eyes of this person. Ask God to bless this person.

Slowly invite the students to quietly open their eyes.

Class activity can follow this short mediation. Discussing each students ‘special’ person. Worksheets etc.

Teaching Practice Tips and Guidelines! (Helpful Hints for any student teachers embarking on Teaching Practice)

For a lot of Student Teacher’s January is the most daunting, terrifying and exciting time of the academic calendar. It’s Teaching Practice time. After sitting through month’s of lectures, essay writing, lesson planning, schemes of work ATP and FTP it is finally your chance to stand up in front of a class. Whilst it can be a very intimidating and frightening experience for a lot of us it is also a chance for you to experience some of the most memorable student teacher moments of your college life. I can guarantee you that a lot of your anecdotes and stories told over a cup of tea in the canteen will be of your teaching practice experience.

You will have students in your classroom who will test you, make you stronger and at times will have you fighting back the tears but the moments when a student says a simple ‘Thank you Miss’ when they open up and tell you about problems at home and with friends or when they look up at you with excitement and interest because finally you have discovered a methodology or resources that has grasped their interest. They are the moments you will never forget. They are the moments that make all the late nights, all the stressing and all the panicking worth it.

There are times when I sit back and think how did I manage to pull myself through every January for four years? A helping hand or a word of advice was always welcomed. In preparation for next Monday I decided to share some helpful hints and ideas that helped get me and other fellow student teachers through the terror of Teaching Practice.

1) Folders: During my first year of Teaching Practice I heaved around two heavy hardback folders along with a lot of other resources I needed throughout the day. They were heavy, huge and quite a nuisance. During my second year I decided to purchase two soft back folders each containing 200 poly pockets. They held everything I needed lesson plans, resources, worksheets, and timetables comfortably. So if you want to give your back, arms and bags a break I would definitely recommend ditching those hard back folders!


2) Relax and start simple – what is the learning objective? What is the best way for the students to learn this/achieve that objective – done. You can add decorations later if you’ve any time or energy.

3)  Supervisors: Keep the lines of communicating open at all times! Keep thinking they are there to help you they want you to do well. If you have any questions ask them if you have any worries go to them.

4) Use Google Docs!! Afraid of forgetting your USB stick? Always have a back up ready on Google Docs. This allows you to prepare or upload power point presentations, worksheets, online quizes and polls and you can access them on any computer that has internet. Limiting the stress of loosing your USB stick. You can access google docs using your college email address. It is brilliant!!

5) Always make sure you have a class list for each of your classes. Getting to know your students names is essential! One tip I used was writing students names on lolly pop sticks and use them for question time! Ask the teachers for seating plan if they have one and always have it in front of you. I always like to take one class (Friday is a good day for this) and have a get to know each other class. Play a few icebreakers and write down one or two things about each student that will help you remember them. It also shows them you are interested in getting to know them individually.

6) Always try and be in your designated classroom 5-10 minutes before class begins. This gives you time to set up and be prepared before the students come in. This leaves no time for chatting or disruption.

7)  Stand at the door as your class walks into the room. Trust me this really helps. If you have a particularly difficult class line them up outside the classroom and wait for them to be ready to enter your classroom. Students who are ready may proceed in those who aren’t will wait until they are. Any longer than 10 minutes…. Follow school rules for disrupting your class. Works like a charm! (for those students who were allowed enter your class have a short 5 minute exercise written on the whiteboard for them to begin whilst you wait for the other students to calm down and enter your classroom)

8) Learn from other teachers in your cooperating school. If you are lucky to have helpful cooperating teachers learn from them. Ask to observe their classes, ask them what works for them and what doesn’t. This is your chance to learn as much as you can from people who experience school life everyday. Don’t be afraid to ask.

9)  Student teaching practice is exhausting! It can be a huge shock to the system. Eat. Sleep. Drink LOTS of water. Make time for friends to enjoy yourself. The world won’t fall apart if you make time for your favorite TV show or a night out with your friends, as long as you don’t totally blow off your responsibilities. The students can tell when you’re weary or ill at ease, so making sure that you’re happy is key.

10)  If you’re a female teacher one tip is to wear low heals, gives you a bit of height if your small like myself and also allows the students to hear you as your approach so they know to be quiet.

11) Be mindful of the class group you have. While one lesson might work really well with class group A, the same lesson might not be as suitable/ successful with class group B. Just try and be a bit conscientious when it comes to planning lessons. If the group isn’t that strong academically you don’t want to and up giving a lesson on the catechism. If the class is rowdy and noisy maybe avoid methodologies such as role play or simulation that might over excite the students; it might be hard to bring them back under control. It might be better to use methodologies such as working with text, teacher exposition etc. As placement goes on and you grow more confident with the class and they become more receptive towards you, by all means go for it, take the risk and experiment. But bottom line, be aware of the group you are teaching, analyze the class dynamic and the situation.

12) Always have a back up in place when using IT, in case something doesn’t work.

13)  Never shout; no matter how loud you think you are, they will always be louder. You loose control when you shout. If a student is misbehaving there is more than likely something going on outside of  your classroom. If they are misbehaving or refusing to do the work leave any confrontation until the end of the class. Ask the student what is wrong, why are the acting out or why are they refusing to work? 90% of the time there is some outside factor at home or a fight with friends that is causing their outbursts or perhaps they just don’t understand what the lesson was about and act out in frustration. Talk to them. I can guarantee this works 100% better than shouting.

14) Take one day at a time. Try not to get too stressed. Enjoy the experience.

15)  Classroom management: Check out my blog posts on Traffic light system and the Behaviour Card system for more information!

16) If your laptop crashes (which can happen) let your supervisors know and hand write your lessonplans for the following day.

17) Helper Student: If you notice there’s one or two pupils that are ‘noisy’ or chatty or even a bit cheeky or ‘bold’, they are probably being told off by most of their teahcers throughout the day. Instead of being ANOTHER teacher that keeps at them or whatever, go out of your way to make that student your ‘helper’. Ask them to distribute handouts, wipe off the board, give out copies etc. It’ll give them a sense of commraderie with you, rather then just seeing you as another teacher that gives out to them. This might make them want to keep you on their side and they’re more likely to behave.

18) School policies: some schools will give this to you, if they don’t, take a few minutes to look up the school policies with particular attention to classroom behaviour. Don’t wait until you have a behaviour problem to then ask another teacher, students will sense that you do not know the code and try push you further. Some schools give punishments for not having journals and some don’t allow written exercises without any learning benefit and some schools put students on report after three journal notes which you have to watch if you are the third teacher. It wont take long to read over and will make a big difference in your confidence and potential behaviour issues.

For resources and further ideas follow all the 5j2014 Master blogs. Links can be found on my blog page! I will continue to update this post with further helpful hints over the next few weeks.

Big thank you to all past MDI students who helped me compile this list. I hope this helps and best of luck to all student teachers. Enjoy it.

The Christmas Story told using Social Networking

Here are two videos that tell the Christmas Story using social networking and social media! Helps bring the nativity into the 21st century.

How social media, web and mobile tell the story of the Nativity.
Christmas story told through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, Wikipedia, Google Maps, GMail, Foursquare, Amazon…

Times change, the feeling remains the same.

This video is an artistic take on how the story of the nativity might have read had a social network existed at the time of Jesus’s birth. Follow this historical period as it unfolds as a digital narrative. This vignette is great for highlighting the truths and circumstances of our Savior’s birth in a fresh, unique way.

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