A ctivity for older primary pupils: What do three religions say about life and death? For the teacher. The collection of 24 statements

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ctivity for older primary pupils:

What do three religions say about life and death?
For the teacher.
The collection of 24 statements about life and death on the following pages, from young people aged 7 –15 years, provide a rich source of information and idea’s for pupils to engage with puzzle over and reflect on.
A simple Venn diagram, such as that illustrated below, is all that is needed to get pupils working with the statements of belief about life and death – looking for similarities and differences, and shared beliefs, and identifying their own questions on the topic.
Choose the perspectives you want pupils to work with (two usually works best, e.g. Christianity and Hinduism) and produce a pack of cards for each pair. Provide copies of the Venn diagram with the chosen religions filled in (on paper or electronically) – some software packages provide a ready-made template for a Venn diagram.
Ask pupils to work together to:

  • Read the statements on the cards in their pack, and decide together which are unique to one of the religions/perspectives being considered, which are shared, and why. Then place the cards – or write the cards’ identifiers (e.g. C1, H6, M3, N5) – on their Venn diagram.

  • Join up with another pair to share ideas, justify decisions, and make any amendments. How did the approach the activity? What surprised them? What questions do they now have?

  • Feed back to the class, and try to agree a whole class response to the task.

  • Produce a personal statement (maximum 30 words) of their own thoughts about life and death which could be added to the card pack (and added to the “listening to young people talking” online database).

Beliefs about life and death:

Looking for similarities and differences

What Do Religions Say?


I think that when you die your body stays on earth and your spirit or soul goes up to heaven to be with God, and all those who have died before.

Christian, male, aged 11


I believe that there is life after death as your spirit continues to live after you have died. Death is sad because you feel unable to see friends and family again.

Christian, female, aged 7


Death seems sad, and it really is to other people, but actually it is another adventure.

Christian, female, aged 11


Jesus said: “do not store up riches for yourself on earth… but in heaven. For your heart will always be where your riches are”.

Bible (Christian Holy Book)


Jesus said: “whoever lives and believes in me shall never die”.

Bible (Christian Holy Book)


I think all people go to heaven because God forgives all sinners. I don’t believe in hell because I can’t imagine God punishing his family.

Christian, female, aged 11


When I die I will have my ashes scattered over the River Ganges.

Hindu, male aged 13


Death is like going to a new school, leaving somewhere you really like and going somewhere you do not know your way.

Hindu, female, aged 11


I think that when people die they come back as someone else and live a different life, or they come back as an animal. They never remember their life before.

Hindu, female, aged 13


I think that there must be life after death, because there must be a purpose to our life after life on this earth.

Hindu, male, aged 15


Worn out garments are shed by the body. Worn out bodies are shed by the dweller. Within the body new bodies are put on by the dweller, like garments.

Bhagavad Gita (Hindu Holy Book)


The reward for a good dee performed in this world will be enjoyed in the next world.

(Hindu Holy Book)

What do the religions say?


When we die there is punishment and reward in the next life. If we did something good we go to heaven and if we were bad we go to hell. We also get punished, or rewarded, in our grave.

Muslim, female aged 13


I strongly believe that there is a reason for our existence which is to be honest, respect others and live a life where you help the needy and share what you have got. After death God will reward me.

Muslim, male, aged 14


I believe that when we die, there will be a judgement day. On this day Allah will judge us and go through everything that we have done in life.

Muslim, female, aged 14


You prefer this life, although the life to come is better and more enduring.

Qur’an (Muslim Holy Book)


I think that when you die you stay under ground, but you’re spirit is still with the people you love.

No religious belief,

female , aged 11


I would like to believe that there is life after death, but I know there is nothing to prove there is, so I try not to think about it.

No religious belief,

male , aged 14


Death is death and once you’re dead you’re like a blank sheet of paper, but people still have memories.

No religious belief,

male , aged 10


I am not sure if I think there is an afterlife, but I hope so. I say to myself there is another life because I don’t want to think that when I die I am left in a hole in the ground.

No religious belief,

male , aged 15


I believe that when we die we have an angel on the right shoulder and an angel on the left. They tell God my good and bad points. If I go to heaven I know that I will see my dad.

Muslim, male, aged 10


I think when you die you just rot and that is the end of you.

No religious belief,

male , aged 8


I feel that when you die you go up to heaven. If friends or relations have died you will be with them and this time never leave them.

No religious belief,

female , aged 8


God promises, to all who believe, that they will live in the Garden of Eden, and enjoy God’s good pleasure.

Qur’an (Muslim Holy Book)

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