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 part year, I even used this in Art, asking my students to draw a metaphor understanding of a superstition.
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.
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