Activity Overview

Starting a unit or lesson with the key vocabulary that students will see in their readings or presentations aids in overall comprehension and retention. In this activity, students will create a storyboard that defines and illustrates key vocabulary related to the study of Buddhism. They will create a spider map of 3-5 terms at the teacher's discretion. Each cell will contain a term, the definition, and an illustration that depicts the meaning. When students define and illustrate each term, they master the application of it and retain it as part of their lexicon.

Vocabulary for Buddhism

ahimsa: avoiding doing harm to any living thing, truthfulness, moderation, and self-control.

ascetic: a person who gives up worldly pleasures.

dharma: A person's duty or what is right. Dharma is a key concept with multiple meanings in Indian religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and others. It means one's spiritual duties or "right way of living" and "path of rightness". It is symbolized by the "Dharma Wheel."

The Four Noble Truths: Buddha taught that accepting the Four Noble Truths will lead to enlightenment. The Four Noble Truths are: 1) All life involves suffering; 2) Self-centered desires lead to suffering; 3) People can end their suffering by giving up selfish desires; 4) The way to overcome selfish desires is by following the Eightfold Path.

edict: a command that is obeyed like a law. King Ashoka had his edicts carved into walls, rocks, and pillars to promote Buddhist values, general welfare, justice, and security.

The Eightfold Path: The Eightfold Path is named for the 8 steps that Buddha taught would train one's mind and actions to lead a good life and reach nirvana: an ideal state of happiness and peace. The 8 steps are: Right belief, right purpose, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right meditation. They can be represented by each spoke of the Dharma Wheel.

enlightenment: a state of perfect wisdom.

karma: the effect a person's actions have on their soul in this life and their next life.

meditation: Focusing one's mind on spiritual ideas.

The Middle Way: Living neither a life of selfish luxury, nor a life of poverty, Buddha taught that following the Middle Way will lead to enlightenment. It involves accepting the Four Noble Truths.

monastery: a home for monks.

mural: wall painting.

nirvana: an ideal state of happiness and peace without desire or suffering. Those who reach nirvana are freed from having to go through reincarnation.

pilgrimage: a journey to a holy place.

reincarnation: the belief that a person's soul is reborn into a new body after death.

Sanskrit: an ancient language of India.

scroll: a roll of material for writing like paper or papyrus.

subcontinent: a large landmass smaller than a continent; a major subdivision of a continent.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Due Date:

Objective: Create a spider map that illustrates and defines key vocabulary relating to Buddhism.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. In the title boxes, identify the key terms you have chosen.
  3. In the description boxes, write the definition of the term.
  4. Create an illustration for each term using appropriate scenes, characters, and items.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.

Requirements: Must have 3 terms, correct definitions and appropriate illustrations for each that demonstrate your understanding of the words.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-8

Difficulty Level 2 (Reinforcing / Developing)

Type of Assignment Individual or Partner

Type of Activity: Visual Vocabulary Boards

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/L/9-10/3] Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening
  • [ELA-Literacy/L/9-10/4] Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 9-10 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies
  • [ELA-Literacy/L/9-10/6] Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression


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