Ethos Education

Doctor Who: The Impossible Astronaut: Stones in the Road

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Assembly Objective:

  • How can we face challenges ahead of us? This assembly, particularly suitable for the end of a year, explores the Bible’s teaching about the value of remembering the past as we face the future.

Film: 

  • Doctor Who: The Impossible Astronaut (from series 6 episode 1, BBC DVD, certificate 12). Click here to buy the DVD online.

Bible: 

Supporting Values Information:

  • The value of Individual Liberty is essential to the educational goal of developing pupils with ‘rational autonomy’, the ability to make reasoned choices about their actions. This assembly helps pupils to explore how thinking carefully about the past can help us to make good decisions in the future.

Background Information: Using this assembly

  • This assembly is primarily targeted for students leaving school at the end of year 11, 12 or 13. It can easily be adapted for use as a more general end of year assembly for students who are coming back for the next academic year, but some phrases in the scripted version of the talk would need to be altered. It could also be used for a special leavers’ service, if your school holds such an event, rather than a regular end-of-year assembly.

OPENING ACTIVITY

Forget Me Not (quiz)

Download the Remember Monsters Quiz PowerPoint for use with this activity.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Ask for two volunteers who watch Doctor Who. Bring them up to the front of the assembly (making sure they can see the screen) and explain the game to them. Tell the volunteers that you are going to briefly display a list of monsters from Doctor Who. The contestants will have a short period of time to look at the list and try to remember as many monsters on it as possible. Then they will take it in turns to attempt to say a monster who was on the list.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • Display the list of monsters. Leave it onscreen for ten or fifteen seconds, depending on how helpful you feel like being then [click] to make the monsters disappear from view.
    • Now ask your contestants to start naming monsters, taking alternate turns. Contestants score one point for each correct answer, and are eliminated from the game as soon as they give an incorrect answer. We suggest being strict if contestants get a name a bit wrong (for example, saying ‘Soltarans’ rather than ‘Sontarans’), but if you decide to be more generous, make sure that you are consistent. Once one player is eliminated, the other player can continue playing to see how many monsters they are able to remember.
    • Here is a list of the monsters that will be displayed on the screen. You will need to have this list written down for your own reference during the game, as the names will not be visible on the screen for you to check whether the contestants’ guesses are correct or not.
      • Gelth
      • Ood
      • Judoon
      • Draconians
      • Vashta Nerada
      • Sontarans
      • Cybermen
      • Wirrn
      • Vespiform
      • Gangers
      • Slitheen
      • Headless Monks
      • Ice Warriors
      • Silurians
      • Yeti
      • Weeping Angels
    • After the game, congratulate the winner on their powers of memory, and move straight into the talk.

Those were the days (something to think about)

  • Remind the students who are preparing to leave of some of the more notable events of their time at the school. If possible scan some photographs and prepare a PowerPoint of memories (this could be very effectively displayed with automatic page transition and on a repeating loop as the students and staff enter the hall). You might like to interview a few individuals (staff or students) about specific events, or about their particular memories of the life of this cohort at the school.

FILM CLIP

  • Play the following clip from the Doctor Who episode The Impossible Astronaut, which is the first episode on Doctor Who Series 6, part 1 (BBC DVD, 2011, certificate 12).
    • Clip start: 0.26.06 (in chapter 6 of the DVD)
    • Clip end: 0.27.57
    • Clip length: 1 minute and 51 seconds
  • The clip starts with Amy (Karen Gillan) being escorted to the ladies toilets in the Whitehouse. The first line is Amy saying, ‘Actually, I can usually manage this alone.’ The clip ends after the other woman explodes. The last line is Amy saying, ‘Look behind you!’ and the woman replying, ‘There is nothing.’
  • The clip features an alien creature who vanishes from people’s memories as soon as they are no longer looking at him. In the clip, the other woman repeated looks away, instantly forgetting the danger that Amy is trying to warn her about, before eventually being blown up by the alien.

TALK

Download the Moving On Impossible Astronaut PowerPoint for use with this presentation.

Scripted Talk

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • When we forget things, sometimes we have to face the consequences for it. Often, those consequences are bad, either for us or for other people.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • Have you ever had that awful realisation that you’ve forgotten something really important? [click] Perhaps you’ve forgotten the birthday of someone close to you – your Mum, or your boyfriend or girlfriend. [click] Maybe you’ve left your mobile phone at home, or – worst of all – [click] forgotten your homework.
    • We’re going to watch a clip now of an example of someone suffering the consequences for not remembering something really important.
    • Play the following clip from the Doctor Who episode The Impossible Astronaut:
      • Clip start: 0.26.06 (in chapter 6 of the DVD)
      • Clip end: 0.27.57
      • Clip length: 1 minute and 51 seconds
    • The clip starts with Amy (Karen Gillan) being escorted to the ladies toilets in the Whitehouse. The first line is Amy saying, ‘Actually, I can usually manage this alone.’ The clip ends after the other woman explodes. The last line is Amy saying, ‘Look behind you!’ and the woman replying, ‘There is nothing.’
    • If you are unable to play the clip, say the following: ‘In one episode of Doctor Who, the Doctor and his friends encountered a race of aliens who had infiltrated human society, relying on a very special ability to remain secret. As soon as anyone looked away from the aliens, they instantly forgot all about them. In one scene, Amy Pond watched a woman repeatedly forget that she’d just seen an alien in the toilet, and didn’t understand what Amy was talking about when she told her to run. Eventually, the alien simply exploded the woman, and that was that – all because she couldn’t remember.’
  • [PowerPoint slide 3 – initially blank]
    • Being able to remember is really important. That woman who kept forgetting that she had just seen an alien in the toilet paid for it with her life. Your memory is unlikely to be quite so costly for you, but it can still play a big part in the path your life takes.
    • The people of Israel were great at remembering. We’re going to read a short passage from the Bible, which comes just after the Israelites have crossed over into the Promised Land. The Bible tells how God stopped the flow of the River Jordan to allow the whole nation to cross the river. This is the response to that miracle:
    • [click] So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, ‘Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.’ Joshua 4:4-7, Today’s New International Version.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • Those stones had been taken from the river bed, stones that were usually covered with water but which had been exposed by God’s miracle in holding back the water. There was nothing special about the stones themselves, other than how the Israelites had been given access to them. [click] The point of the stones was to act as a reminder, to help the Israelites to remember all the things that their God had done for them. The stones were something physical to trigger the question, ‘What’s that about?’, so that different generations would come to know what God had done for his people.
    • Reminders are good, particularly things that remind us of important things. At the end of another school year, with many people moving on from the school, on to the next stage of life, it’s good for us to take some time to remember what we’ve learned.
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • It’s good to remember the things you’ve learned in your lessons, particularly if you are going on to a University course or a job that’s going to be built on that learning, but there are other things you should make sure not to forget as well. You will want to remember the people you met at school – your friends, your teachers – and the times and experiences you shared with them. Most of all, you will want to remember the values that you have learned at school. [The following values are deliberately vague in order to fit a wide range of contexts. You may well want to substitute particular values that form the ethos of your particular school]. You will want to remember how to treat other people with respect, how to work hard towards your goals, how to be part of a community, not just an individual with no concern for anyone else.
    • When you look back, your school years may well seem like a small part of your life, but I can guarantee that they will be a hugely important part of your life. In fact, your ability to remember the lessons of this time, and to act on them will go a long way to shaping what the rest of your life is like. If you want to thrive in the future, you have to remember the past. Let me encourage you to find a way of placing memorial stones, like the people of Israel did. Find something that will constantly remind you of the values you’ve learned in this place, enabling you to build on those lessons and build a fantastic life for yourself.

Headings and Bullets

Download the Moving On Impossible Astronaut PowerPoint for use with this presentation.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Forgetting things has consequences, often bad.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • Have you ever realised you’ve forgotten something important?
      • [click] Someone’s birthday.
      • [click] Mobile phone.
      • [click] Homework.
    • Introduce clip – an example of someone who suffers because they don’t remember something important.
    • Play clip from Doctor Who: The Impossible Astronaut.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3 – initially blank]
    • Remembering things is important.
      • Woman in clip paid with her life.
      • Your memory unlikely to be so costly for you.
      • Plays a big part in the path your life takes.
    • The people of Israel were great at remembering.
    • Introduce passage.
      • Israelites have just crossed into the Promised Land.
      • Bible tells how God stopped the flow of the River Jordan to let them across.
      • This passage tells their response to this miracle.
    • [click] So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, ‘Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4] 
    • In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.’  Joshua 4:4-7, Today’s New International Version.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • Ordinary stones, taken from the river bed.
      • [click] A reminder of what God did for the Israelites.
      • Something physical to trigger the question ‘What’s that about?’
      • Passing on the memory to different generations.
    • Reminders are good.
      • When leaving school, it’s good to remember what we’ve learned.
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • Good to remember:
      • What you learned in your lessons.
      • The people you met and the experiences you shared.
      • The values of the school.
    • School years are a small, but hugely important part of your life.
      • Your ability to remember the lessons of school helps shape the rest of your life.
      • To thrive in the future, you have to remember the past.
      • Find a way to place your own memorial stones.
      • Find something to remind you of the values you learned in school, so you can build on those lessons and build a fantastic life.

Photo Copyright for Moving On Impossible Astronaut Talk PowerPoint: Slide 1 BBC / Slides 2 and 6 iStockphoto.com / Slide 3 image 5 and Slide 4 image 7 SweetPublishing/FreeBibleimages.org Slide 5 Freeimages.co.uk


RESPOND

Prayer

  • Dear God, thank you for the years we have spent together at this school. Thank you for the memories and the things we’ve learned, and thank you for the contribution that all of our leavers have made to the school. Help us to remember them warmly, and help them to remember what this school has given them as they continue their journey through life.

Traditional Prayer of Parting

  • May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.

Reflection 

  • What will you remember about your time at this school? Who are the people that have made the biggest impression on you? What are the values and skills that this time have given you? What will you do to make sure that you remember the important things of your time here?

YOU WILL NEED:

  1. Doctor Who: The Impossible Astronaut (from series 6 episode 1, BBC DVD, certificate 12). Click here to buy the DVD online.
  2. Remember Monsters Quiz PowerPoint.
  3. Moving On Impossible Astronaut PowerPoint.

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