This morning, my seventh grade social studies class had a holiday party.  They’ve been studying Judaism, and to wrap up that part of our unit on the Abrahamic religions they got into groups to research and prepare interactive stations for four of the major Jewish holidays: Yom Kippur, Passover, Chanukah (it’s more significant in the USA than in other countries), and Rosh Hashanah.

Of course, I love to party (and eat), but I’ve also found that snacks and games tend to engage kids in learning more effectively than watching one another give Powerpoint presentations.  It also helps them form positive associations with cultures and religions that differ from their own.

yom kippur station_anonymous
They taught us some Hebrew phrases for the Day of Atonement, and provided plenty of snacks for after the Yom Kippur fast.


matzo passover
As a vegetarian, I don’t really mind that these students were unable to bring lamb to class at 8:30 on a Tuesday morning.
rosh hashanah apples
Mmm…a delicious Rosh Hashanah (New Year) treat!
Isn’t this model of a mikveh (ritual bath) just adorable?

We’ll be moving on to the beliefs and traditions of Christianity, and then those of Islam, in the next few weeks.  I’ll make sure to share photos from our next holiday party!

Do you ever trick students into learning by using parties and games?  Share your ideas below!