Take an interesting box, fill it with intriguing activities, place it in front of a group of students and add an iPod loaded with tracks which explain what it's all about. That's Open; dare2engage's newest resource aiming to provide 14-19 year olds with a comfortable, structured and accessible space to step back from the busyness of college life and take some time to think and reflect on the bigger picture.
Open looks at eight themes (Meaning, Values, Purpose, Forgiveness, Death, Responsibility, Questions and Hypocrisy). Each theme uses a practical activity to open up the topic, with an mp3 introducing the subject, raising some open questions and introducing some relevant thinking and wisdom from Christianity too. The resource is specifically written for use in a multi-faith school environment, and as such is carefully crafted to be accessible to pupils from any faith background. There's space in each session for students to listen, reason and respond to the material, whether they agree or disagree with what they hear.
Open is designed to fit into a standard timetabled lesson in any school or college environment. An introductory activity helps students to relax and settle into the session, explaining the practicalities and purpose of the resource and preparing the students for the personal reflective nature of the content.+ Read More
The main content of the lesson involves students working on their own, using simple object-based activities, guided by mp3 tracks which explain the practical activity, raise the topic and questions concerned and introduce a faith-based perspective. The activities are brief opportunities for pupils to think through eight themes, considering their own thoughts and beliefs on the topics. The lesson then ends with a final small group activity, reminding the pupils of the main questions from the resources, encouraging them to continue thinking through the questions they've tackled during the lesson.
Adam, 17, described it like this:
"We were given different bags with everyday items in. It was quite clever to see how they linked to things that are relevant to my life right now, and helped me to think through other issues."
Open seeks to create space for students to think and reflect on their own world views, giving them a structured and accessible approach to the space it creates. In the midst of the busyness of study, coursework, placements and assessments, time for personal thinking can be hard to find. The activities in the box develop students’ thinking in areas of citizenship, PSHE, ethics, philosophy and equality and diversity.+ Read More
For further education colleges
The resource serves the requirements for provision of both SMSC and citizenship education. LSIS SMSC Report
For schools and sixth form colleges
Our resources are written in line with the guidelines for non-statutory RE teaching in England. The most recent version of this document is available here. You'll see from this that the guidelines are that pupils should study content from Christianity and also from the five other main religions of the world.
dare2engage's resources teach about the Christian faith, in an applied context, demonstrating how Christians relate to the topics raised. Our intention is not to enforce any specific faith on pupils, nor to demand a response. We simply present the material in a way that encourages thinking and reassures students that they are free to make their own decisions regarding issues of faith and belief.
Use Open to provide short breaks for thinking time during tutorial sessions, with small groups or whole classes.
Bring a set of Open boxes into a tutorial lesson for a break from the seemingly endless demands for personal statements, revision and other tutorial admin.
Run Open alongside your usual curriculum plans, with a small group of students using it each session.
Add Open to the programme for student induction week to create space for quiet reflection for the students as they look at the year ahead.
Wider Day Conference Activities
Go off-curriculum for a day of personal development, critical thinking and reflection. Talk to us about Open and other activities we could offer for this.
Bag 1 - Purpose
Using a simple children’s game, students search for objects hidden in a tube of beads while considering the things that bring purpose in life.
Key Questions: Have you found something worth living for?
“Finding the objects in the tube really made me concentrate and the recording was helpful."
Bag 2 - Forgiveness
A square of paper is covered with tiny phrases conveying grudges or unforgiveness. Using real life examples of forgiveness in action, students are challenged to choose what they will do with the paper; hold onto it, throw it away or turn it into something beautiful.
Key Questions: What do you do with the hurts and anger you might feel? Why is it important to forgive?
"I like the idea of taking something bad and making it into beauty"
Bag 3 - Questions
A challenging puzzle box, containing a UV torch which reveals a message hidden on the outside.
Key Questions: How do you find the answers to life's big questions? Are there some questions that don't have answers?
“Getting into the box was hard but that made me even more determined to work it out"
Bag 4 - Hypocrisy
A spot-the-difference style puzzle using images of real and fake objects that students will encounter every day as a metaphor for hypocrisy in the words and actions of people around us, and ultimately ourselves.
Key Questions: Are people always who they say they are? Should our behaviour reflect what we say?
“Some of those fake/real comparisons were really tough. I like a challenge!"
Bag 5 - Responsibility
A bottle of dirty water and a challenge. How thirsty would you have to be to drink this water? The lids are glued on and our water is safe, but the audio guide talks of people less fortunate and the problems they face as a result of poor quality drinking water.
Key Questions: What’s happening in the rest of the world? Can you do anything about it?
“It made me think about my life and that I shouldn’t take things for granted.”
Bag 6 - Meaning
One of life’s oldest questions: What’s the meaning of life? Explored here through a codebreaker puzzle challenging students to consider whether there’s more to life than what we can see.
Key Questions: Are there deeper meanings to life? Where might you find them?
“I really had to listen to work out the prison code."
Bag 7 - Values
This bag simply contains pebbles. Every day stones like you’d find on a beach. But can students stack them up to form a stable tower? Foundations are important and this activity challenges students to consider the values on which they base their decisions.
Key Questions: What values do you hold? How do they affect the decisions you make?
“Stacking the rocks was really difficult. It really matters which ones you put at the bottom."
Bag 8 - Death
It’s hard to know what to think about death when we know so little. Can students identify the contents of this bag by feeling the objects from the outside?
Key Questions: What do you think happens to a person when they die? How do we deal with death when there are so many unknowns?
“One of my relatives died recently and I found that hard. I feel calmer now I have had a chance to think about what I believe about death"
"In their words"
See what they think of Open[ Click or swipe to view the comments ]
The Open resource has proven to be a great success with our students this year and formed part of the 6th form General RE. The programme of guided reflection allowed our Year 12 and 13 classes to explore aspects of life and spirituality in a unique and personalised manner . The engaging and specially tailored materials developed for the course were excellent as was the delivery by the specialist team of facilitators. Overall it was a memorable and worthwhile experience for the students and staff.
Mr P Fahey, Teacher, Cardinal Newman High School, Luton
It was the best RE lesson I have ever had! We got to do loads of different but exciting activities and it was a brilliant way to start the morning.
Student, Higham Lane School, Nuneaton
It made me think about the foundations of life, what our aim is and how this will affect life's decisions.
Student, Ammanford School, Ammanford
Open is a brilliantly devised, simple to use, engaging resource from Dare2Engage. It's always a pleasure to use, and elicits great responses from students on topics ranging from truth and forgiveness, to responsibility and values. Created to communicate a Christian perspective, Open is a key part of our SMSC toolkit.
Jon White, Schools Worker, Luton
My favourite part was when we listened to the ipods and took part in small activities as it was a good way to reflect.
Student, Cardinal Newman High School
This is a great way to engage people with a message that is relevant.
Student, Coleg Llandrillo, Rhos-on-Sea
It was really calming, which I think is something people like me sometimes need but don't always have time for.
Student, All Saints Academy, Dunstable
If you hire Open, we’ll bring a set of 6 boxes, iPods and a trained facilitator to your college or school for a day. Working within your timetabled sessions we can provide the resource for as many groups of up to 35 students as you’ve got spaces in the day. All we need is a classroom and a few tables and chairs.
Get the most out of Open by owning a box of your very own. Open is available as individual boxes or in sets. Boxes are currently made to order, with an estimated production time of 8 weeks from date of order. Each box costs £175.00 *iPods can also be provided at an additional cost.
EACH BOX INCLUDES:
Eight custom-made activity resources in their own, numbered bags, a set of six wooden cubes for the opening activity, three posters for the closing activity and all the mp3 tracks you need.
If you would like to enquire about hiring Open, please select your nearest Open Kit location from the drop down menu, and then fill out the enquiry form opposite. Hire costs are at the discretion of the owner, and may differ from kit to kit.
If you would like to enquire about buying your own Open kit, please fill out the enquiry form opposite, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. Please note that Open kits cost around £8,000 each and take around 2 months to build.