Toolkit 6 Teaching Notes
What’s it all for?
The aim of this toolkit is to explore what gives humanists a sense of meaning and purpose in life and why. It focuses on three main points.
The first is that humanists base their ideas about the world on reason and evidence.
The second is that on the basis of reason and evidence, humanists conclude that this is the only life we know we have. Humanists say that there is no evidence of a life after death.
The third is that humanists therefore conclude that as humans we create our own meaning and purposes in life. They say that there is no evidence of a purpose or destiny beyond our own human lives. Humanists say that we create our own meaning and purposes in life using our human attributes, including creativity, intelligence, imagination, wonder, love, and empathy for others. They say that we should make the most of these abilities to live full and happy lives and help others to do the same. This also means that we must look to our own human attributes to deal with the problems in the world.
Students are able to
1. Understand that humanists use reason and evidence to answer questions about the world around us
2. Understand that on the basis of reason and evidence humanists say that this is the only life we know we have
3. Understand that humanists therefore also say that there is no ‘ultimate’ meaning and purpose in life but as humans we create our own meaning and purpose
4. Understand that humanists say we should try to live a full and happy life and help others to do the same.
Summary of Activities
The students play a short game exploring what their priorities in life might be. They watch some short video clips of humanists giving their views on life after death and where they find meaning and purpose in life. They summarise humanist ideas using a writing frame. A choice of creative activities then gives students an opportunity to compare humanist ideas with those from other perspectives and reflect on their own views.
RE / RME, in particular themes of authority, religion and science, expressions of spirituality, and ethics.
Science, particularly scientific thinking.
Citizenship, particularly rights and responsibilities
Personal, Social, Health, and Economic Education, particularly personal identities, relationships, and diversity.
English, opportunities for speaking and listening, reading, and writing.