LESSON

Common Religious Clothing

In this lesson, students will explore how articles of clothing are linked to different religions.
Grade Level
3-5

Objectives

Activities meet the following objectives:

  • identify different articles of clothing associated with various religions
  • create a poster to educate others about religious clothing
  • participate in a Gallery Walk to view other groups’ posters
Essential Questions
  • What are some common articles of clothing associated with different religions?
  • Why is it important to understand the issues around these articles of clothing?
  • How can knowledge about these articles of clothing promote acceptance and tolerance of others? 
Materials
  • Handout: Common Religious Clothing: The Basics 

Vocabulary 

bonnet | bänət | (noun) a head covering, usually black, worn by some Amish or Mennonite women

cross | krôs | (noun) a symbol in Christianity that some Christians wear in jewelry, such as a necklace

hijab | hiˈjäb | (noun) a head scarf worn by some Muslim women

kippah | kēˈpä |(noun) the Hebrew word for a cap worn by some Jews as a sign of respect [to God] when praying or attending a synagogue; also commonly referred to as a yarmulke (ˈyämə(l)kə), which is a Yiddish term

kippah | kēˈpä | (noun) the Hebrew word for a cap worn by some Jews as a sign of respect (to God) when praying or attending a synagogue; also commonly referred to as a yarmulke (ˈyämə(l)kə), which is a Yiddish term

turban |ˈtərbən | (noun) a long cloth wrapped around the head, used by some Sikh or Muslim men

 

Overview

In the United States, different types of religious clothing exist just about everywhere. In this lesson, students will explore how articles of clothing are linked to different religions. First they will research issues around some common articles of religious clothing, such as the hijab and the yarmulke. Then they will explore misconceptions and stereotypes associated with those articles of clothing.

Although these classroom activities primarily focus on Islam, Judaism and Christianity, we encourage you to adapt these classroom activities purposefully and thoughtfully to include other religions, faith traditions (e.g., Taoism, Wicca and/or Buddhism) and non-theistic beliefs represented in your school and the students’ communities.

 

Procedure

1. This lesson is about different kinds of religious clothing. Some people wear special kinds of clothing because their religion requires or recommends it. Listen to a few terms and definitions of some common religious clothing pieces (Handout: Common Religious Clothing: The Basics). (Note: Consider showing and discussing the following examples: bonnet, cross, hijab, turban and yarmulke.)

With a partner, discuss the following questions:

  • Do you know of any other kinds of religious clothing?
  • Have you ever seen someone wearing religious clothing? Where were you?
  • If you and your partner can think of any other kinds of religious clothing, use the blank spaces in the table to record those.

(Note: Take a moment to clarify that not all religions or faith traditions require their members to wear special clothing. Also explain that some people do not belong to a religious group, but may still have clothing preferences or requirements.)

2. In small groups, create a poster that shows some of the common religious clothing you learned about today. Make sure your poster clearly describes the piece of clothing and the religion with which it is associated. Also include a picture of the religious clothing.

3. For the Gallery Walk, each group should hang its poster up in a different part of the classroom and stand beside it. Each group should then move clockwise around the room visiting every other group’s poster. As you look at each group’s poster, discuss the following questions:

  • How did this group illustrate the bonnet, cross, hijab, turban and yarmulke?
  • Are the pictures and descriptions accurate? Why or why not?
  • Do the posters show each of these pieces of religious clothing in a respectful way?
  • When all groups have had a chance to view all posters, the class should provide one positive comment about each poster. Record all comments on the board.

 

Reflection/Self-Evaluation for Students 

How has what you’ve learned changed your thinking? Choose one of the following prompts to guide you in a reflection about this lesson:

1. Have you seen students in your school wearing religious clothing? How can awareness about these kinds of clothing help these students and the school community at large?

2. What are some ways to teach others about the different types of religious clothing you learned about today?

3. Do you belong to a religion that has special types of clothing? If so, what kind of clothing do you wear? How does it make you feel to wear it? What do you wish others would understand about your religious clothing?