Educational Lessons Values-Based Activities Table of Contents

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Educational Lessons
Values-Based Activities

Table of Contents

I. Teaching Tolerance

II. Heroes and Villains
III. Edmund – Guilty or Innocent?

IV. Loyalty…When is the Price Too High?
V. The Nature of Good and Evil

VI. The Culture of Temptation
VII. In Search of Character

VIII. The Nature of Sacrifice
IX. What is Courage?

X. To Forgive or Not to Forgive? – That is the Question

I. Teaching Tolerance
Class Discussion: Too often we judge people based on how they look and by doing so we may miss out on wonderful opportunities to learn about new people and explore different cultures. Imagine what would have happened if Lucy had run away from Mr. Tumnus because of his strange appearance!
As a class, discuss the meaning of such sayings as:

  • “beauty is only skin deep”

  • “all that glitters isn’t gold”

  • “one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover”

Activity: Process

  • Divide the class into groups of 3 students

  • Have each student jot down a time when he/she made the mistake of judging a ‘book by its cover’.

  • Have the students share their experiences with each other.

  • Have each group choose the situation they feel best illustrates this principle and present it to the class.

  • Write each example on the board.

  • Have the class then vote on the BEST EXAMPLE and email it to:
We will post the best examples on the Narnia bulletin board to share.

Have each student write a short paragraph in which they explain what they learned from this activity!

II. Heroes and Villains
Class Discussion: Ask the question, “What makes someone a hero? Allow students to respond. Solicit examples of real life heroes as well as fictional heroes. Then ask, “What makes someone a villain? Again, allow students to respond, and solicit examples of real life villains as well as fictional villains.
Process: Day 1: The Villains

  • Divide the class into groups of 3-4 students.

  • Assign half the class the task of comparing the White Witch with either a real life or a fictional villain and the other half of the class a comparison of Edmund to either a real life or a fictional villain.

Do this: Have the students fold a piece of paper in half. Write the name of the Witch or Edmund on one side and the name of the real life or fictional villain on the other. Have them list the characteristics shared by both in each column.

Witch or Edmund Name of real life or fictional villain

Process: Day 2: The Heroes

Repeat the process for villains, only this time ask half the class to compare Aslan with a real life or fictional hero and the other half to compare Peter with a real life or fictional hero.

Conclusion: Have each group to explain why they chose their particular real life or fictional hero or villain for their comparison, asking them to defend their choice.
III. Edmund – Guilty or Innocent?

Setting up a Mock Trial
Class Discussion: We all make choices; sometimes those choices have negative consequences.
Up to this point in the story, Edmund has been guilty of behaving badly and lying to his brother and sisters. But, when he decides to betray his brother and sisters and go to the White Witch, Edmund has made a choice that will have serious consequences.
YOU be the judge! Is Edmund guilty or innocent?
Process: Setting up a Mock Trial
Allow students a certain amount of time each day to prepare their case for trial.
Day 1: Getting Started

  • Select students to portray each of the children – Lucy, Peter, Edmund, Susan.

  • Select a prosecuting attorney and a defense attorney as well as assistants, depending on class size.

  • Choose 12 students at random for the jury.

  • Select a judge.

  • Select a court recorder.

The rest of the class will either be witnesses for the prosecution or for the defense.

Day 1:

  • Have the defense team meet with Edmund to determine a plea.

  • Convene the court and have the judge ask the defense attorney how Edmund will plead.

  • Attorneys select their witnesses.

Day 2: Gathering Evidence

Students gather evidence to support their case and work out their strategy. This should include gathering a list of witnesses for the prosecution as well as for the defense.

(While the attorneys and witnesses are working on strategy and gathering evidence, the judge, members of the jury, and the court recorder should be researching what their respective roles will involve.)
Day 3: Pulling it Together
Attorneys should have decided on a strategy based on Edmund’s plea. They should be “prepping” the witnesses and writing their introductions to the jury.
The judge should know how to bring order to the court, how to reprimand the attorneys if they get out of line. He/she should also know what to say to the jurors.
Each juror should create an autobiography—including age, occupation, and views on treason.

Day 4: The Trial
The judge convenes the court and begins the trial. Witnesses are called and each side tries to prove Edmund’s guilt or innocence. Each attorney has exactly 15 minutes to call witnesses and cross-examine.

Day 5: The Verdict
Jurors return with a verdict. Judge hands down a sentence.


Students should be allowed to rehash the trial after it’s finished and to discuss the verdict.

IV. Loyalty: When is the Price Too High?

Topics for Debate
Class Discussion: Lead a discussion related to the meaning of loyalty. Ask the class to come up with a definition of what loyalty means to them. With the definition written on the board…

Day 1

  • Divide the class into groups of 6 students each.

  • Then divide each group into two subgroups of 3 each—groups A and B.

  • Each group will receive a situation.

  • Group A students will argue the “pro” and group B students the “con” of the situation.


Each group will be given 2 minutes to argue the pro of the situation and 2 minutes to debate the con of the situation. Each group will then be given half a minute to summarize their argument.

Allow groups a day to prepare their arguments.
Day 2

Write the first situation on the board. Call up the students who will debate the pro and cons of the situation. After each group debates, the class should vote to decide who wins the debate. When the debate is over, the teacher should lead a discussion, asking students for their input.

Sample Situations
1. You and a friend “borrow” your parents’ car one evening to go joyriding and end up running into a parked car. There’s not much damage to your car but the other car has serious damage to the rear bumper and trunk. Your friend wants you to leave a note and report the accident; but you explain that the guy whose car you hit probably has insurance and that you’ll get in big trouble if your parents find out.
Pro: Argue in favor of leaving a note, reporting the accident to the police, and telling the parents.

Con: Argue against leaving a note, reporting the accident or telling the parents.
2. Your best friend gets jumped by a group of bullies after school and gets beat up pretty bad. You want to report them to the police, but your friend wants to get even and asks you to help him buy a gun.
Pro: Argue in favor of reporting the assault to the police and/or your parents and letting them handle it.

Con: Argue against telling the police and in favor of helping your friend get even.

3. You catch your older sister and her friends smoking marijuana when they come over to your house for a sleep over. You threaten to tell your parents, but your sister begs you not to.

Pro: Argue in favor of telling your parents

Con: Argue in favor of being loyal to your sister by not telling.
4. Your best friend is always getting into trouble, so when a test is missing from your math class, the teacher suspects him. You’re pretty sure your friend didn’t take the test, but you know that if he’s sent to the principal one more time, he’ll get expelled. You take the blame to protect him.
Pro: Argue in favor of helping your friend by taking the blame.

Con: Argue against taking the blame for your friend and allowing him to be suspected and possibly expelled.
5. Your best friend wants you to cover for her because she wants to go to a party that she knows her parents won’t let her attend because there will be drinking and possibly drugs.
Pro: Argue in favor of telling your friend ‘no’.

Con: Argue in favor of telling your friend you’ll cover for her because you’re best friends.

V. The Nature of Good and Evil

Get Started:

  • Divide the board into two columns; label one “Good” and one “Evil”.

  • Ask students to provide specific examples of human behavior under each column.

  • Ask them what they think determines whether or not an action is considered either good or evil (e.g., God, society, family).

After a discussion, ask each student to write an essay in which they take a position on whether or not they believe human nature is basically good or evil. Students should provide supporting details based on what they’ve read or experienced.

VI. Dealing with the Culture of Temptation
In today’s consumer-driven culture, we are bombarded by temptations. We are promised instant weight loss, instant beauty, instant credit providing us with instant gratification of our every whim and desire!
Have students come up with a definition of what the word “temptation” means to them; but guide them to a common consensus that, in general, temptation is based on lust, i.e., the desire to have things or do things for the purpose of satisfying the self.
Divide the students into groups of 3-5 students. Provide each group with one of the following topics:

  • plastic surgery

  • gambling

  • weight loss

  • beauty aids

  • fashion

  • food

  • alcohol

  • drugs

Have each group make up 3 of their own ads or bring in magazine or newspaper ads that advertise the temptation offered by each topic.

When the groups finish, have them share their ads with the entire class and explain:

  • What is the temptation?

  • What is the appeal of the temptation?

  • What is the target group of the temptation?

  • Would they be tempted by their own ads to try the products?

VII. In Search of Character
After students finish reading the book –
One develops character as one grows older, begins to accept responsibility and earn trust.
Teachers are often asked to write college recommendations for students that ask them to discuss a student’s character. What is it that colleges want to know when they ask the teacher to describe a student’s character?
Day 1:
Divide the class into groups of 3-5 students, and provide each group with one of the following words to define, using a dictionary as well as 1-2 illustrative examples:

  • Trustworthiness

  • Respect

  • Responsibility

  • Fairness

  • Caring

  • Honesty

  • Courage

  • Diligence

  • Integrity

When the groups have finished defining the words, collect the definitions and create a handout so that every student in the class has a list of the words, their definitions and examples.

Day 2:
Give each student a copy of the handout. Divide the students into new groups.
Ask each group to make a “Character Report Card” for Edmund, based on his actions in the story, by dividing a piece of paper into 3 columns.

  • In the first column write each word.

  • In the second, write the grade the group feels Edmund deserved.

  • In the third, write a justification for the grade.

Have the students determine Edmund’s overall Character grade point average by assigning point values to the letters A, B, C, D, F and dividing the total by 9.

Before assigning him a grade, make sure that students consider not only Edmund’s early decisions and obvious lapses of character but also the ways in which he changed and developed as the novel progressed.

When finished, hand out another sheet to each student with the following questions listed. Provide space for them to respond personally to each question.

1. What happens when you lose someone’s trust?
2. How important is trust in your relationships with friends and family? How would you feel if you discovered your friend or family member had lied to you?
3. What are the benefits of being a trustworthy person? How do you benefit when others are trustworthy?
4. Once trust has been broken, what can you do to get it back? Have you ever lost someone's trust? Has someone lost your trust? Explain.

5. Someone once said that “Trustworthiness may be questioned, but your choices will never lie.” What does that mean? Do you agree?

6. Edmund asks the question, “Which is the right side? How do we know that the fauns are in the right and the Queen in the wrong?” How does one know when something is right or wrong? How do you tell the difference?

VIII. The Nature of Sacrifice

There have been many times throughout our nation’s history when a single individual has willingly sacrificed his/her life for others.
Divide the class into groups of 3-4 students. Randomly assign them one of the following groups of people:

  • military

  • firefighters

  • police officers

  • friends/family members

  • religious leaders

  • political leaders

  • parents

Have each group select ONE person from their assigned categoryto report on to the class who exemplifies the meaning of personal sacrifice. The person may be someone famous, someone who is well known to the local community, a friend or a family member.

If there are too many groups, double up; but make sure each group selects a different individual.
After selecting the individual, the group task is to do the following:

  • Write a brief biography of the person (research)

  • Explain in what way this person sacrificed his/her life.

  • Explain what impact this sacrifice had on the community, state, nation and/or the world.

When the group finishes their project, have them give a short report to the entire class.

After all the groups have finished reporting, have each student write a paragraph describing Aslan’s sacrifice on behalf of Edmund. Ask them to conclude with a statement in which they either agree or disagree with Aslan’s decision and explain why.

IX. What is Courage?

Have the class brainstorm a definition of the word courage. Write their ideas on the board. Then, have a student look up the word, “courage” in the dictionary and write the definition on the board.
Divide the class into groups of 3-4 students. Using the dictionary definition of courage, have them evaluate the following situations that occur in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe as either being or not being an example of courage. Groups should provide specific reasons for their choices.

  1. Lucy crawling into the wardrobe and discovering Narnia ____________________

  2. Lucy refusing to pretend that she was “making it up” about Narnia ____________

  3. The children talking to the Professor about Lucy’s condition _________________

  4. Lucy going with Mr. Tumus to his cave _________________________________

  5. Mr. Tumnus allowing Lucy to go free ___________________________________

  6. Edmund following Lucy to Narnia _____________________________________

  7. Susan agreeing with Lucy that they had to try and help Mr. Tumnus ___________

  8. Peter facing the wolf and killing it ______________________________________

  9. Edmund’s journey to the Witch’s palace _________________________________

  10. The Beavers’ willingness to help the children_____________________________

  11. Edmund’s chopping off the witch’s wand ________________________________

  12. Aslan’s willingness to sacrifice himself for Edmund _______________________

  13. The killing of Aslan _________________________________________________

14. The Witch’s visit to Aslan to demand her claim to Edmund’s life _____________

15. When the girls decide to follow Aslan to Stone Table ______________________

16. When Susan and Lucy ride on Aslan’s to the Witch’s palace _________________
Have students write a paragraph in which they talk about a time when they showed courage, explaining how it made them feel.

X. To Forgive or Not to Forgive? – That is the Question

Day 1
The teacher begins by asking each student to write down the worst thing he/ she has done and is now sorry about and to explain the situation. Explain that these ‘situations’ will remain confidential (no names), but ASK them to identify their situation with a “code” they will remember.
Examples: Lied to my mother…Cheated on a test…Stole…Hurt a friend… Blamed someone for something I’d done, etc.
Teacher picks up the papers, reads the situations, and selects the best examples.
Day 2
Write “What is forgiveness?” on the board and solicit responses.

You may choose to write some famous quotes about forgiveness on the board as a starting place, such as:

  • “To err is human; to forgive divine.” Alexander Pope

  • The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.Mahatma Gandhi

  • “Life is an adventure in forgiveness.” Norman Cousins

  • “If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive.” Mother Theresa

Why is forgiveness important?
Then write the dictionary definition of forgiveness on the board. Lead a class discussion on the benefits forgiveness provides, both for the person who has offended as well as the person injured by that offense.
After the discussion, write the words “Siblings” and “Edmund” on the board. Under each word, have students list how Edmund benefited by being forgiven by Aslan and by his brother and sisters. Under Siblings, students should list how Peter, Susan and Lucy benefited by forgiving Edmund.
(It’s easy to understand how Edmund benefited; he was able to become the person he was meant to become. The forgiveness of his family and Aslan gave him the opportunity to grow and change. It is also important for students to grapple with how Peter, Susan and Lucy benefited by forgiving Edmund.)
Guide students by having them consider how the Deep Magic from the Dawn of Time and the Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time differ. Ask them what the Deep Magic represents in real life (social contracts…rules and consequences…justice) and to consider why it is that The Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time (forgiveness…personal sacrifice…unconditional love) is able to go beyond even death itself.)

Day 3
Write the five best situations from Day 1 on the board. Have students vote on whether or not they would have forgiven the person.
After the votes are tallied, choose one of the situations. Divide the class into groups based on those who voted to forgive the person and those who voted to not forgive the person.

Have the groups discuss why they voted to forgive or not to forgive. Then ask the groups to present their reasons orally.

Repeat this for each situation.
Have each student write a brief essay describing a personal experience in which someone has hurt them but they have been able to forgive the person. Have the students express the way they felt before they were able to forgive and then explain how they felt afterwards.

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