Crosses from around the world

KS2RE
The intended learning outcomes for this piece of work include that pupils should be able to recognise that the symbol of the cross has a variety of meanings and to discuss the symbol of the cross for Christians.

Introduction

The intended learning outcomes for this piece of work would be that the children should be able:

  • to recognise that the symbol of the cross has a variety of meanings
  • to discuss the symbol of the cross for Christians
  • to know that for Christians the empty cross is the sign that the crucifixion of Christ was not an end but a beginning
  • to explore how different Christian groups around the world use the symbol of the cross to express faith within their culture

The focus for assessment should be:

  • to discuss the symbol of a cross
  • to discuss its meanings for Christians
  • to produce their own response to crosses from different cultures
  • to make their own personal cross

Preparation

You will find the following Barnabas in Schools books useful, in particular the first on the list:

A-cross the World by Martyn Payne and Betty Pedley - 40 crosses with Bible stories and background information including craft ideas, all connected to how the story of Easter is interpreted and celebrated in many different parts of the world

The Gospels Unplugged by Lucy Moore (p42-52). Here are 10 poems and stories to help explore events leading up to Easter with some thought-provoking comment and particularly suitable for creative writing and RE at Key Stage 2.

Development

Here is a possible sequence of activities:

Step 1: What does a cross symbol mean?

Draw a cross on the board. What does it mean? Explore the use of a cross to mean a variety of things. e.g.:

  • a simple maths sum that someone has got wrong
  • a birthday card from Granny with love
  • an advert for an event that has been cancelled
  • a signpost with a crossroads on it
  • a voting form with a candidate chosen
  • a island with the treasure marked

Children could draw and explain the use of a cross in these or other ways that they come up with.

Step 2: What does a cross symbol mean for Christians?

Show artefacts of crosses and pictures of crosses from the book A-cross the World.
Discuss: how each is made and of what material? Where would you find it? Who uses it? In what rituals is it used? What do they think is its significance to those who use it?
Discuss the pictures. Read the story of the events of Good Friday through to Easter Sunday Morning, using the Bible or ideas from the books in the list above.

Step 3: How do different Christian groups around the world use the symbol of the cross to express their faith within their culture?

Choose four different crosses from A-cross the World. Read the story, show the picture and work on the activities in groups.

Suggested crosses:

  • Central American Cross
  • French (Taizé) Cross
  • South Indian Cross
  • Celtic Cross

Step 4: Application

Talk through with the children what sort of contemporary cross they would like to make that uses elements from their own culture and which can connect the story of Easter to their own lives.

A-cross the World from Barnabas has a wide range of further activities to explore this important Christian symbol, including more ideas for lessons and Key Stage assemblies. Sample pages from the book are available on this web site.