Ethos Education

Lincoln: Self-Evident Equality

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Assembly Objective:

  • Why is justice important? This assembly explores the Bible’s teaching that all people have equal value.

Film:

  • Lincoln (20th Century Fox, 2013, certificate 12). Click here to buy the DVD online.

Bible:

Supporting Values Education:

  • The values of Respect and Tolerance derive from an underlying belief that everyone is valuable, whoever they are. This assembly enables pupils to explore and apply the principles of justice and equality.

OPENING ACTIVITY

Unequal Equals (quiz)

Download the Justice Unequal Equals PowerPoint with this presentation.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Either ask for two volunteers to take part in a quiz, or play two sides of the room against each other. The players take it in turns to answer questions, with each question consisting of a comparison between two things. The player has to decide whether or not those things are equal to one another. Keep score of the points and, if you like, give a prize to the winner. In the event of a tie, make a big deal of the fact that both players (or teams) turned out to be equal to one another (and keep the prize for yourself).
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • First round: Famous people.
    • Question 1: Is Tom Cruise’s height the same as Jessie J’s height?
    • [click to reveal answer:] Not equal. Tom Cruise is 1.7m tall, which is 5cm shorter than Jessie J (1.75m).
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • Question 2: Is David Beckham’s total of caps for England the same as Lee Dixon’s caps for England, Alan Hansen’s caps for Scotland and Roy Keane’s caps for Ireland?
  • [click to reveal answer:]
    • Equal. Beckham has 115 caps, as do the other three (Dixon: 22 caps, Hanson: 26 caps, Keane 67 caps.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • Second round: Mathematics.
    • Question 3: Is 234 squared the same as minus 234 squared?
    • [click to reveal answer:] Equal. A minus multiplied by a minus always becomes a plus.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • Question 4: Is ten to the power of zero the same as zero?
    • [click to reveal answer:] Not equal. Anything to the power of zero is one, not zero.
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • Third round: Food
    • Question 5: Is the price of a Domino’s Pepperoni Passion pizza (large) the same as the price of a KFC ten piece wicked variety bucket?
    • [click to reveal answer:] Equal. At the time of writing, both retailed at £16.99.
  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • Question 6: Is the calorific content of a deep fried Mars bar the same as the calorific content of eight apples?
    • [click to reveal answer:] Equal. A deep fried Mars bar has between 400-450 calories, while a single apple typically has 53 calories, meaning that eight will have 424 calories.
  • [PowerPoint slide 8]
    • Fourth round: Geography
    • Question 7: Is the size of Wales the same as the size of Iceland?
    • [click to reveal answer:] Not equal. Wales is approximately 20,000km2, whereas Iceland is 103,000km2
  • [PowerPoint slide 9]
    • Question 8: Is the population of Luxembourg the same as the population of Milton Keynes?
    • [click to reveal answer:] Not equal. Luxembourg’s population in 2012 was 531,441, while the 2011 census revealed that 248,800 people live in Milton Keynes.
  • [PowerPoint slide 10]
    • Fifth round: Films
    • Question 9: Is the number of Oscars awarded to Titanic the same as the number of Oscars awarded to The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King?
    • [click to reveal answer:] Equal. Both films won eleven Oscars.
  • [PowerPoint slide 11]
    • Question 10: Is the number of Oscars won by Meryl Streep the same as the number of Oscars won by Daniel Day Lewis?
    • [click to reveal answer:] Equal. At the time of writing, each of those two actors has won three Oscars.
    • After playing the game, explain to the students that the idea of things being equal is something you will be returning to later in the assembly.

Who Are Euclidding? (something to listen to)

Download the Justice Euclid PowerPoint with this presentation.

  • Play the PowerPoint for the students. The slides will transition automatically, but if you prefer a faster presentation, you can manually click through with a mouse. Play an appropriate soundtrack with the presentation. We suggest Mathematics by Cherry Ghost, which is available on the album Thirst for Romance (EMI, 2007). Click here to buy Mathematics online.
  • Here is the text that appears on the presentation.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • The Greek Mathematician Euclid is known as ‘the father of geometry’, but not much is known of his life away from measuring shapes.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • Nobody knows precisely where or when he was born, nor the circumstances and timing of his death. Like many ancient Mathematicians, he lived in Alexandria for some time.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • Euclid described the laws of nature as ‘the mathematical thoughts of God’.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • Euclid’s Elements (all 13 volumes of it) was the main book used to introduce children to geometry for over 2000 years. [click to reveal] Now geometry lessons just feel like they last that long.
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • It is uncertain whether Euclid formulated the geometric principles expounded in his book, but he was the first mathematician to gather them together comprehensively.
  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • The Elements has been described as the world’s most read book, other than the Bible.
  • [PowerPoint slide 8]
    • As well as geometry, Euclid produced works on optics, mechanics, mirrors and reasoning. [click to reveal] The name Euclid means ‘Good glory’.

FILM

  • Play the clip from Lincoln (20th Century Fox, 2013, certificate 12).
    • Start time: 1.12.02 (in chapter 10 of the DVD)
    • End time: 1.15.10
    • Clip length: 3 minutes and 8 seconds
  • The clip starts with Lincoln (Daniel Day Lewis) sitting with two telegraph operators. The first line is Lincoln dictating, ‘Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant…’ It ends with Lincoln saying, ‘…that’s justice.’
  • The clip shows Lincoln explaining how equality of all people is a logical outworking of Euclid’s first principle, that if things are equal to the same thing, they are also equal to each other.

TALK

Download the Justice Lincoln PowerPoint with this presentation.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • It’s important to make the right start. Can you imagine setting out on a journey if someone had reprogrammed your SatNav so that it thought that North was South and vice versa? Everything you did would take you in completely the wrong direction. No matter how hard you tried, you’d never find your way until you realised that the things you were taking for granted were completely mistaken.
    • That can be true in other areas of life as well. The first principles that we build our life on determine how we react to all sorts of things, so it’s important to get them right. Here’s a film clip to illustrate the point. It’s from the film Lincoln, which is set during the American Civil War, a war fought over the issue of slavery. In this scene, President Lincoln is sending a telegram to one of his generals, and he takes some time to explain to the two young telegraph operators some of the first principles of his perspective on life.
    • Play the clip from Lincoln:
      • Start time: 1.12.02 (in chapter 10 of the DVD)
      • End time: 1.15.10
      • Clip length: 3 minutes and 8 seconds
    • The clip starts with Lincoln (Daniel Day Lewis) sitting with two telegraph operators. The first line is Lincoln dictating, ‘Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant…’ It ends with Lincoln saying, ‘…that’s justice.’
    • If you are unable to play the clip, say, ‘Lincoln, discovering that one of the telegraph operators is an Engineer by training, says that he must be familiar with the works of Euclid. He goes on to explain that Euclid said it was self-evident that things that are equal to the same thing are equal to each other. The self-evident truth of equality was the basis of Lincoln’s beliefs, and the basis of his concept of justice.’
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • For Lincoln, as for Euclid, the self-evident truth equality was important. Let’s look at it more closely:
    • [click] Things that are equal to the same thing are equal to each other.
    • That makes sense. [click] In mathematical terms if 5+5=10, and 3+7=10, [click] then 5+5 must equal 3+7. If things are equal to the same thing, they are equal to each other.
    • But Lincoln, wisely, recognised that Euclid’s first common notion doesn’t just apply to mathematics; it applies to justice too. He recognised that equality between people was also self-evident.
    • We can find the idea of equality in the Bible too.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.
    • His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. Acts 17:24-27, New Living Translation.
    • The Bible doesn’t say that people are equal with God, far from it, but it does affirm that we are all equal with one another under God. God sees all people equally. He gave life and breath to all people, and his purpose is for all people to seek after him and to find him. If God sees everyone as being equal in his sight, then it seems self-evident that all people must be equal to each other.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • The idea that all people are equal is one which took a long time to be accepted. Many people opposed it because their wealth was based in trading in slaves, or because they were afraid of what would happen if certain races were given the same freedoms as they enjoyed. Across the world, wars and terrible injustices have been carried out because people were unable to accept the self-evident truth that ‘they’ are equal to ‘us’. But as Lincoln points out in the clip, [click] justice begins with equality.
    • We should be thankful for great men and women like Abraham Lincoln who were able to see clearly and turn the course of history. We should be thankful that year by year, century by century, humanity has been able to free more and more people from the injustice of inequality. But if we think that the job is done, we’re kidding ourselves. Most of us will never find ourselves in the kind of position that Lincoln was, making a decision that will determine the outcome of a war and change the future of a mighty nation, but we all make smaller decisions every day that determine how other people are treated. We all make countless decisions – some that we don’t even think about – which can bring justice or injustice for other people. The challenge for us today is to treat everyone we come into contact with fairness.
    • Do you believe that all people are equal? If you do, that belief should show itself in the way you treat all people.

Headings and Bullets

Download the Justice Lincoln PowerPoint with this presentation.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Important to make the right start.
      • Imagine a SatNav that thought North was South.
      • Everything you did would take you in the wrong direction.
      • Until you realised your assumptions were wrong, you’d never find your way.
    • That can be true in other parts of our life.
      • Principles we build our life on decide how we react to many things.
      • Important to get them right.
    • Introduce film clip.
      • From Lincoln, set in American Civil War.
      • President Lincoln is sending a telegram to one of his generals.
      • He takes time to explain his first principles in life.
      • Play the clip.
      • Start time: 1.12.02 (in chapter 10 of the DVD)
      • End time: 1.15.10
      • Clip length: 3 minutes and 8 seconds
    • The clip starts with Lincoln (Daniel Day Lewis) sitting with two telegraph operators. The first line is Lincoln dictating, ‘Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant…’ It ends with Lincoln saying, ‘…that’s justice.’
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • For Lincoln, equality was a self-evident truth.
    • [click] Things that are equal to the same thing are equal to each other.
      • [click] If 5+5=10, and 3+7=10.
      • [click] then 5+5 must equal 3+7.
      • If things are equal to the same thing, they are equal to each other.
    • Lincoln saw that this is true for justice as well as mathematics.
      • Equality between people is also self-evident.
    • The idea of equality is found in the Bible too:
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.
    • His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. Acts 17:24-27, New Living Translation.
    • Bible doesn’t say people are equal with God.
      • All equal with each other under God.
      • God sees all people equally.
      • God gave life and breath to all and wants all to seek after him and to find him.
      • If God sees everyone as equal, it’s self-evident that all people are equal to one another.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • The idea of equality took a long time to be accepted.
      • Many opposed it because it would affect their wealth.
      • Many opposed it because they were afraid of consequences.
      • Wars and terrible injustices occurred because some wouldn’t accept equality for all.
      • [click] But justice begins with equality.
    • We should be thankful.
      • For great men and women like Abraham Lincoln who saw clearly and turned the course of history.
      • That year by year humanity has freed more and more people from the injustice of inequality.
    • But the job isn’t done.
      • Most of us won’t be in Lincoln’s position, determining the outcome of a war and changing the future of a nation.
      • We all make smaller decisions every day that affect other people.
      • Our decisions can bring justice or injustice on a smaller scale.
      • Our challenge today is to treat everyone fairly.
      • Do you believe that all people are equal? If so, that should affect the way you treat all people.

Photo Copyright for Justice Euclid PowerPoint: Slide 1 and 4 public domain / Slide 2 public domain / Slide 3 NASA / Slide 5 and 7 Euclid’s Elements, Folger Shakespeare Library Digital Image collection, geometry set iStockphoto.com / Slide 6 public domain / Slide 8 wellcome images

Photo Copyright for Justice Lincoln Talk PowerPoint: Slide 1 DreamWorks II Distribution Co / Slide 2 public domain / Slide 3 Sweet Publishing/FreeBibleimages.org image 8 / Slide 4 Sweet Publishing/FreeBibleimages.org image 9 / Slide 5 iStockphoto.com


RESPOND

Prayer

  • Dear God, thank you for the great figures of our history, men and women who have shaped our world today by making a stand for justice and equality. Help us in our own small way to make your world a more just place. Help us not to show favouritism, but to treat everyone equally. Amen.

 Reflection

  • What does it mean to treat people as equals? Is it possible to treat people differently while still treating them as equals? Think about the people you interact with during a typical day. Do you treat them all the same? Could anyone accuse you of treating some of them unfairly?

YOU WILL NEED:

  1. Lincoln (20th Century Fox, 2013, certificate 12). Click here to buy the DVD online.
  2. Justice Unequal Equals PowerPoint.
  3. Justice Euclid PowerPoint.
  4. Justice Lincoln PowerPoint.
  5. Mathematics by Cherry Ghost.

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