In the sixth grade San Domenico Middle School students read the books of Genesis and Exodus. Through the stories of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and Noah, they study the sacred relationship between humans and nature, the movement from hunter-gatherer society to agricultural society, utopias and dystopias. Through the stories of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob, Rachel, Leah, and Joseph, they reflect on the nature of family and the human relationship with God through faith, mystical experience, and dreams. They read the story of Moses, evaluate the Ten Commandments, and create their own. They finish by reading of the stories of David and Solomon and examining the concept of justice and the nature of government.

In the seventh grade the students consider what it means to be a spiritual person.  They begin with Jesus’ life and teachings in the Gospels.  They study Jesus’ life story in the historical context of Roman controlled Judea.  They examine his teachings, in particular his parables and the Sermon on the Mount.  They reflect on how his teachings could be applied to their own lives and compose their own version of the Sermon on the Mount.  As a final project they reenact Jesus’ final spiritual journey through the Stations of the Cross along with their own reflections about themes from each Stations.

In the seventh grade, the students also study other spiritual figures.  They study the life and teachings of Buddha.  And they study Muhammad and the modern political issues surrounding the religion of Islam.  As a final project they select a saint or master.  They research this holy figure, write a report, and present to the class.

In the eighth grade the students study religion comparatively.  They examine the major world traditions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Shintoism and Zoroastrianism.  They compare religious holidays, holy books, and holy places.  Through a comparative study of these traditions, students consider the meaning of the elements, patterns, and principles that appear among all religions and uncover the profound commonalty behind all religions. 

Religious Studies Curriculum