Students love to discuss cultural superstitions, wondering where they came from, what they mean, and debating if there is any validity to them. I originally created this PowerPoint for a fun one-off lesson that I use any time I teach on a Friday the 13th (be it in English or Socials or Art).
We go through various superstitions and discover their origins as a class. Students access background knowledge, make predictions, and discuss/debate their ideas. But, over time, this lesson has evolved into something more robust. When I teach Puritanism, for example, in my Social Studies class, I use this lesson as a way into understanding the era and their belief systems. I also use it when teaching Macbeth to my English students. This year, I even used it in my Art class, asking students to draw a metaphor understanding of a superstition after showing them the PowerPoint.
Included here is also a small research assignment, where students are asked to delve deeper into another superstition (be it from their cultural heritage, right here at home, or another of their choosing). This immediate by-in has them clamming to find out more about their select topic, and they create a PowerPoint which mimics the one presented here. There is also included a rubric upon which to base their presentation.
Included in this product:
(1) 36-slide PowerPoint presentation. Fully Editable. Includes article with written response questions (also included in a PDF handout to provide to students).
(2) 3-page PDF handout of article and written response questions.
While there are 39 pages in all in this zipped document, I think it would be more fair to 23 content-full pages.
(1) Much of the information concerning the origins of superstitions was found in the freely obtained online article “Superstition - A World of Make Believe?” written by Sharon Jacobsen. Accessed at: http://www.streetdirectory.com/travel_guide/10298/women/superstition___a_world_of_make_believe.html
(2) I have also included Claire Suddath's _Times_ article, "Friday the 13th" from Friday, February 13, 2009, which is also found online: http://content.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1879288,00.html. After the article, is a page of response questions. The article and questions would be more appropriate for a Grade 9-12 range.