As part of my lesson this past Monday, I wanted to emphasize how human beings are the greatest part of God’s creation and I wanted to incorporate the use of the Internet in my classes for the first time. I located a brief YouTube video that shows images of babies growing in the womb. I made sure that the video did not have any images relating to the act of sexual intercourse or the fertilization of the egg by sperm. I also made sure that the video (since it was produced by a pro-life/anti-abortion organization) did not show any images of aborted fetuses. At this time, I was not seeking to teach about abortion but to lay the foundation of our recognition of the sanctity and preciousness of human life. (Regardless, personally, I do not regard showing images of aborted fetuses as an appropriate pedagogical tool).
I spoke with an experienced DRE friend of mine who is very knowledgeable about the emotional, spiritual, and psychological development of various age groups to ask if showing such a video to 4th graders would be appropriate (afterall, it is no different from images they see at the Museum when they go on field trips). My DRE friend assured me that it was appropriate but also warned me that some of the kids might be “creeped out” by some of the images. I decided I would find out for myself as I tested the waters of teaching 4th graders.
My friend was right! They were creeped out! As we watched the various images, many of them were greeted with rousing reactions of “Eewwwwwwwwww!!!!” Because of this, I prematurely (no pun intended) turned off the video but made the point that it is so amazing that each of us once looked like that and that God can create such marvelous creatures as human beings.
The funniest moment came when one of the boys raised his hand and asked (while giggling), “Are you sure this is appropriate for us to watch?” 🙂 That’s when I asked how many of them had been to the Museum of Science and Industry and had seen the Prenatal display to which most raised their hands. I told them that this was no different.
So although it was technically appropriate material to use, it was not effective because of their level of maturity. This experience has given me a better understanding of what 4th graders are capable of handling as compared with the 8th graders I’ve been teaching in recent years! As a result, as I look forward to next week’s class and introducing the concept of the Kingdom of God, I’ve decided to order a copy of The Lion King!