Ethos Education

Doctor Who: Robot of Sherwood: Making a Difference

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Assembly Objective: 

  • Are heroes just ordinary people choosing to make a difference? This assembly explores the biblical examples of ‘heroes of faith’.

Film: 

  • Doctor Who episode Robot of Sherwood available on the DVD Doctor Who: The Complete Eighth Series (BBC DVD, 2014, certificate 12). Click here to buy the DVD online.

Bible:

Supporting Values Education:

  • The value of Individual Liberty affirms each person’s right to self-determination, but the values of Democracy, Respect and Tolerance call us to live as part of a community. This assembly encourages pupils to consider what they can choose to do with their lives that will make a difference for the common good.

OPENING ACTIVITY

Which hero are you? (quiz)

Download the Which Hero PowerPoint for use with this activity.

  • You can either use this activity by asking questions to the assembly as a whole, or get one or more volunteers up to the front with you to answer the questions. Either way, explain that you want people to choose the answer that best reflects what they would do in a number of situations, and that their answers will reveal their true superhero identity. You could either ask a volunteer to come to the front to answer the questions, or invite everyone in the assembly to decide for themselves, taking a few sample answers from the audience for each scenario.
  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • You see a group of thugs wrestling a handbag away from an old lady. What do you do?
    • a) [click] Run to the scene, knocking the thugs flying and returning the handbag to the old lady.
    • b) [click] Hide behind a hedge and shout out, ‘Run – here come the police!’, hoping that the thugs will drop the handbag and run.
    • c) [click] Try to notice any distinguishing features that will help the police to identify the thugs at a later date.
    • d) [click] Hide behind a hedge and hope that the thugs don’t start on you.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • A fire breaks out in the school canteen. What do you do?
    • a) [click] Rush into the canteen to rescue everybody, protecting others from the flames with your own body if necessary.
      b) [click] Suck up all the water from the nearest lake, swimming pool or water fountain with your super breath, and then blow it all onto the fire to put it out.
      c) [click] Call out for everyone to remain calm and leave the canteen in an orderly fashion.
      d) [click] Run for your life.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • You see a cat stuck up a tree. What do you do?
    • a) [click] Run head first into the trunk of the tree, hoping that the impact will knock it over and enable the cat to step easily back to earth.
    • b) [click] Go to the nearest pet shop to buy some mice, then release them at the foot of the tree in order to tempt the cat down.
    • c) [click] Find a phone and call the fire brigade – this is a job for professionals!
    • d) [click] Afraid that the cat might start scratching you if you get too close, you go to find some protective clothing and then not bother coming back for the cat.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • If you answered mostly A: You are The Unstoppable Force. You never stop to count the cost (or to think), you just charge in and face the danger head-on.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • If you answered mostly B: You are Doctor Devious. Brains over brawn, mind over muscle. If there’s a problem, you can be relied on to think your way past it.
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • If you answered mostly C: You are Captain Cautious. You want to help people, but let’s not be too hasty – a superhero could get hurt out there!
  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • If you answered mostly D: You are Wimp-out Boy. There’s no situation too harmless for you not to hide from, no enemy too feeble for you not to avoid. We’d give you an award, but you’d be too scared to turn up and collect it.
    • At the end of the game, point out that there are lots of different ways of reacting to dangerous situations. Explain that in today’s assembly you are going to be thinking about what it means to be a hero.

Behold my super-powers (something to watch)

  • This activity might be funnier if you wore a home-made superhero costume for it, but please consider the possibility that doing so may get the students over-excited and harder to control.
  • Tell the students that after years of working in secret, you are finally ready to reveal yourself as a superhero. To prove yourself, you are going to give a demonstration of your superpowers.
  • Use one or more of the following demonstrations, having carefully prepared any necessary props or volunteers.
  • Super strength: Rip a telephone directory apart with your bare hands. It will help if you doctor the telephone directory beforehand, unobtrusively breaking the spine and cutting most of the inside pages so that it falls apart easily. Alternatively, get several burly members of staff to compete against you in a tug of war, having briefed them in advance to make it look like they are trying hard, and then to lose hopelessly.
  • X-Ray vision: Arrange with a few members of staff to have particularly unusual objects in their pockets, and to produce them when prompted. Then scan the room with your eyes and announce your findings (‘Mr Smith, why have you got a pipe with you? Don’t you know the school is a no smoking area? Miss Jones, I hope you are going to share that chocolate with the rest of us at break time. Mr Harrison, what a smart-looking pen in your inside coat pocket’).
  • Super speed: Ask the audience if they want to see you run around the world in the blink of an eye. If they say yes, pause for a moment, then ask if they want to see you do it again. If this doesn’t convince them, say that you will bring back something to prove that you are telling the truth. You could arrange in advance for a colleague to say that they have left their glasses in the staff room, then produce them from your pocket claiming to have rushed off to get them. Alternatively, you could produce something from your pocket – a handful of sand supposedly from the Sahara Desert; a postcard from a specific foreign country; etc.
  • At the end of your demonstration, ask if anyone still doubts your super powers (they will!). Concede that you aren’t really a superhero, but that in today’s assembly you are going to be thinking about what it means to really be a hero.

FILM CLIP

  • Play the clip from Doctor Who: Robot of Sherwood available on the DVD Doctor Who: The Complete Eighth Series (BBC DVD 2014, certificate 12).
    • Start time:       0.42.50 (in chapter 11 of the DVD)
    • End time:         0.44.26
    • Clip length:      1 minute and 36 seconds
  • The clip starts with Robin Hood asking, ‘So, is it true, Doctor?’ It ends with him saying, ‘And remember, Doctor. I’m just as real as you are’.
  • The clip shows the Doctor and Robin Hood discussing the fact that neither sees themselves as a hero. Robin Hood suggests that if they both keep playing the part, perhaps they will inspire others to be heroes in their name.

TALK

Download the Doctor Who Robot of Sherwood PowerPoint with this talk.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • The other day, I was walking to the shops when I saw an old woman standing nervously on the side of the road. Clearly, she was trying to get across but was daunted by the busy traffic that was roaring past. I helpfully informed her that she would find crossing the road much easier if she used the pedestrian crossing at the other end of the High Street. I think the term ‘hero’ is overused these days, but sometimes it’s the only one that fits.
    • Of course, I’m joking. I said nothing and left the old girl to fend for herself. She’s probably still there. But seriously, the term ‘hero’ can be overused. It’s also true that when we misunderstand what a hero is, we miss examples of heroism in everyday life. Before we think a bit more about that, here’s a clip from an episode of Doctor Who. It’s from the end of the episode, where the Doctor and his new friend Robin Hood discuss the nature of their respective heroism.
    • Play the clip from the Doctor Who episode Robot of Sherwood:
      • Start time:       0.42.50 (in chapter 11 of the DVD)
      • End time:         0.44.26
      • Clip length:      1 minute and 36 seconds
    • The clip starts with Robin Hood asking, ‘So, is it true, Doctor?’ It ends with him saying, ‘And remember, Doctor. I’m just as real as you are’.
    • If you are unable to play the clip, say, ‘Both the Doctor and Robin Hood dismiss the idea that they truly are heroes, but Robin Hood suggests that if they both keep pretending otherwise, maybe they will inspire others to be heroes in their name.’
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • Both of the characters in the clip were used to risking their lives and doing extraordinary things to save the people around them. Both of them, however, resisted the notion that they were heroes, both of them knew that they weren’t flawed and imperfect and suffered from the same weaknesses as the rest of us. But being a hero isn’t about being superior to everyone else, it’s about ordinary people doing extraordinary things and making a difference. The burden of being seen, wrongly, as a hero is a great one, but Robin Hood recognises that it has some value. If people think of him as a hero, it just might encourage them to make a difference too.
    • In the book of Hebrews in the New Testament, the writer lists a number of heroes from Israel’s past. Some of them are well known Bible figures like Abraham and Moses, but others might be less familiar to you. Moses’ parents are included, for hiding their infant son for three months when the Egyptians were having Israelite boys killed at birth. A woman called Rahab is praised for her part in helping Israelite spies escape safely from Jericho. It’s interesting to see what all these heroes of Israel have in common:
  • [PowerPoint slide 3-4]
    • How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Hebrews 11:32-34, New Living Translation.
    • They all did amazing things, but the common theme here is that everyone praised in the chapter is acclaimed for their faith in God. Faith in this context means trusting God and putting that trust into action. These people are seen as heroes because they did something, and made a difference in the process.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • So a hero is someone who believes something and acts upon it. My joking example of helping an old woman across the road may not be heroic (particularly because it never happened), but sometimes simple actions like taking the time to help someone else can have a huge impact on other people. [click] Heroes are all around us.
    • So today, let’s be heroes. [click] Let’s take opportunities to help one another in countless small ways – deciding to stand up for someone who is being picked on, whether they are one of our friends or not; helping someone who is lost or hurt; looking out for people who are vulnerable and needing a hand. Remember, all of us can be heroes if we decide that we’re going to make a difference.

Headings and Bullets

Download the Doctor Who Robot of Sherwood PowerPoint with this talk.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Old woman trying to cross the road.
      • I told her where to find a pedestrian crossing.
      • ‘Hero’ an overused term, but sometimes it’s the only one that fits.
      • Joking: Left her to fend for herself.
      • Hero is an overused term.
      • We misunderstand what a hero is.
    • Introduce clip from Robot of Sherwood:
      • Doctor and his new friend Robin Hood discuss their respective status as reluctant heroes.
    • Play the clip:
      • Start time:       0.42.50 (in chapter 11 of the DVD)
      • End time:         0.44.26
      • Clip length:      1 minute and 36 seconds
    • The clip starts with Robin Hood asking, ‘So, is it true, Doctor?’ It ends with him saying, ‘And remember, Doctor. I’m just as real as you are’.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • Both Robin and the Doctor resisted the idea that they were heroes.
      • They knew their own weaknesses.
      • But being a hero isn’t about being better than everyone else.
      • It’s about ordinary people doing extraordinary things and making a difference.
      • Robin Hood recognises that if people see him as a hero, it might inspire them to act heroically too.
    • List of heroes from Israel’s past in New Testament book of Hebrews.
      • Some are well known (Abraham, Moses).
      • Others less familiar (Moses’ parents, Rahab).
      • What do all these heroes have in common?
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Hebrews 11:32-34, New Living Translation.
    • They did amazing things, but they are all praised for their faith in God.
      • Faith here means trusting God, and putting that trust into action.
      • They are heroes because they did something and made a difference.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • A hero believes something and acts on it.
      • Simple actions, like taking time to help someone, can have a huge impact.
      • [click] Heroes are all around us.
    • Today, let’s be heroes.
      • [click] Take opportunities to help one another, to stand up for each other.
      • All of us can be heroes, if we decide to make a difference.

Photo Copyright for Which Hero PowerPoint: iStockphoto.com

Photo Copyright for Doctor Who Robot of Sherwood PowerPoint: Slide 1, 2 and 5 iStockphoto.com / Slide 3 image 15 Sweet Publishing/Free Bible Images.org / Slide 4 image 38 Moody Publishers/Free Bible images.org


RESPOND

Prayer

  • Dear God, thank you for the examples of people in the Bible who were prepared to take action to make a difference in your name. Help us to see how we can make a difference too. Show us the people who need our help, and show us the simple everyday actions that we could take to make life better for someone else. Amen.

Reflection:

  • Who do you think of when asked to think of a hero? Do you agree that acts of heroism can be small and mundane rather than always being spectacular and eye-catching? Who are the heroes that you encounter on a day to day basis? What could you do to follow the example of their heroism?

YOU WILL NEED:

  1. Doctor Who episode Robot of Sherwood available on the DVD Doctor Who: The Complete Eighth Series (BBC DVD, 2014, certificate 12). Click here to buy the DVD online.
  2. Which Hero PowerPoint.
  3. Doctor Who Robot of Sherwood PowerPoint.
  4. Props/costume for Behold my super powers opening activity.

 

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