Ethos Education

The Maze Runner: Reasons for Rules

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Assembly Objective: 

  • Why do we have rules? This assembly explores the Bible’s teaching that good rules flow from the need for good relationships.

Film:

  • The Maze Runner (20th Century Fox, 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 how good rules flow from the need for good relationships.

OPENING ACTIVITY

Yes/No (game)

  • Invite three students out to the front of the assembly. Explain that you are going to ask them a series of ten questions in turn and they must speak their answer out loud and honestly. There are only two simple rules: they are not allowed to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and they are not allowed to repeat themselves.
  • The following questions are examples of the sort of things you could ask.
    • What is your favourite subject at school?
    • Did you say ____ (repeat their answer)?
    • What about Maths, do you like Maths?
    • Did you say yes?
    • Maths is important wouldn’t you agree?
    • Are you good at Maths?
    • Can you do this simple sum: what’s 2 + 2?
    • Did you say five?
    • Are you sure?
    • Are you absolutely certain?
  • You could also ask for another volunteer to help you decide if they have broken any of the rules of the game; give them a buzzer or a bell to strike if the contestant fails the task.
  • Make the point that this game involved only two rules, and yet it’s very hard to stick to them. Explain that during today’s assembly we’re going to be thinking about the rules that God gives us, and what their purpose is.
  • This game would also work on members of staff if you do not think that you would get students to volunteer. You can buy the Yes/No Game, which includes lots of cards with appropriate questions on, rather than having to think of your own – click here to buy the game.

New School Rule (something to do)

Download the New School Rule PowerPoint for use with this activity.

  • Explain to the students that you want their help in deciding on a new school rule. Explain that there are four possible rules, and you want them to vote for which one to adopt.
  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    Proposed rule number one: [click] Teachers have the right to choose a student to wash their car for them during lunch break.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    Proposed rule number two: All packed lunches have to be shared with the rest of the school. At lunch time, everyone pools their food, and then anyone is free to grab whatever food takes their fancy.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    Proposed rule number three: Year seven students may be called upon to carry the bags of students from other years up and down staircases.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    Proposed rule number four: Students may opt for trial by combat as an alternative to detention. If they can defeat the teacher setting the detention at arm wrestling, fencing or boxing (teacher’s choice), they are free to go.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    Explain after the vote that none of the new rules will, in fact, be coming into effect in the school. Point out that all of them are bad rules – rules that may be good for some people, but which are very bad for others. In today’s assembly, you are going to be thinking more about what makes a good rule.

Dumb Laws (something to think about)

Download the More Dumb Laws PowerPoint for use with this activity.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    Explain that you are going to show the students a collection of laws from around the world. All of these are as reported on www.dumblaws.com, and all of them have apparently been actual laws in the stated country – and may well still be on the statute books.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2] In Germany, it is illegal to wear a mask.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3] In Swaziland, young girls may not shake hands with men.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4] In Israel, it is forbidden to bring bears to the beach.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5] In Denmark, you cannot be charged for food at an inn unless, in your own opinion, you are ‘full’.
  • [PowerPoint slide 6] In Australia, only licensed electricians are allowed to change a light bulb.
  • [PowerPoint slide 7] In Switzerland, clothes may not be hung out to dry on a Sunday.
  • [PowerPoint slide 8] In Thailand, you must wear a shirt if you are driving a car.
  • [PowerPoint slide 9] In Canada, citizens are not allowed to publicly remove bandages.
  • Explain that although these rules may sound ridiculous to us, in each case there was presumably a good reason why the rule was introduced. In today’s assembly we are going to be thinking about rules and the effect that they have on our lives.

FILM CLIP

  • Play the clip from The Maze Runner (20th Century Fox, 2014, certificate 12)
    • Start time:       0.04.43 (in chapter 2 of the DVD)
    • End time:         0.06.50
    • Clip length:      2 minutes and 7 seconds
  • The clip starts with Alby (Aml Ameen) saying, ‘We eat here, sleep here…’
  • The clip ends with Alby asking, ‘You understand me, Greenie?’
  • The clip shows Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) – referred to as ‘Greenie’ in the clip, because he can’t remember his name and nobody else knows it – being shown around the Glade by community leader Alby. Alby explains the three rules that the Gladers live by.

TALK

Download the Rules Maze Runner PowerPoint with this presentation.

Scripted Talk

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Do you ever feel that rules are just there to hem you in? To frustrate you and stop you from doing the things you want to? [If you used Opening Activity: Dumb Laws, refer to it here]. Have you ever wondered why you’re not allowed to run in the corridors, or to play on your mobile phone during lessons, or hit other students just because they annoy you?
    • Most rules, whether we believe it or not, are made for good reasons. We’re going to watch a clip from the film The Maze Runner. In the film, Thomas wakes up to discover that he is now part of a strange community of young men, living in a glade surrounded by vast man-made walls on all sides. In this scene Alby, the leader of the Gladers, explains the community’s rules to Thomas.
    • Play the clip from The Maze Runner:
      • Start time:       0.04.43 (in chapter 2 of the DVD)
      • End time:         0.06.50
      • Clip length:      2 minutes and 7 seconds
    • The clip starts with Alby (Aml Ameen) saying, ‘We eat here, sleep here…’
    • The clip ends with Alby asking, ‘You understand me, Greenie?’
    • If you are unable to play the clip, say, ‘the community has three rules – do your share of the work, never harm another Glader, never go beyond the walls.’
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • Three simple rules, and all of them with good reasons to support them. The community can survive, but it’s hard work and they need everyone to do their bit; the community can survive, but only with mutual trust. That means they have to know that Gladers aren’t going to turn on one another. And as for the walls, as Thomas finds out, there are very good reasons why it’s not safe to go wandering beyond them, but I’ll not spoil the film by telling you what they are.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • The Bible is often misrepresented as a big book of rules – thou shalt not do this, thou shalt not do that – but actually, when the Bible lays down rules, there’s something important we should understand about the context of those rules. The most famous set of rules in the Bible is the Ten Commandments. If we look at the very beginning of the Ten Commandments, it will help us to understand the basis of these rules.
    • [click] I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. Deuteronomy 5:6, New Living Translation.
    • From there it tells us not to steal, not to commit adultery, not to tell lies about people and so on. But the verse we’re focussing on reminds us that these rules are given in the context of a relationship. The person making the rules is God, the same God who freed the Israelites, who led them out of slavery in Egypt and who has promised to bring them to a new home. They aren’t pronouncements by some distant, unfeeling dictator, they are rules from someone who has proven that his intentions are good.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • The school rules we talked about a few minutes ago, annoying as they may seem to some people, are also based on good reasons. We don’t run in the corridors because we might collide with someone and hurt them; we don’t play on our phones in lessons because we’re meant to be working, to be getting on with our learning. And we don’t hit people who annoy us, because everyone has the right to go through the school day without worrying about being the target for acts of violence.
    • All of those rules are made with the purpose of making our school community a good place for learning to happen. They are made to make us feel safe and secure as we learn. [click] There are reasons for rules, but rules make more sense to us when we remember that rules are rooted in relationships.

Headings and Bullets

Download the Rules Maze Runner PowerPoint with this presentation.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Do you ever feel rules are only there to frustrate you?
    • Refer to Opening Activity: Dumb Laws if used.
    • Ever wondered why you can’t run in corridors, play on your mobile phone during lessons or hit other students who annoy you?
    • Most rules are made for good reasons.
    • Introduce clip from The Maze Runner.
    • Alby (the leader of the Gladers) explains the community’s rules to new-boy Thomas.
    • Play the clip from The Maze Runner:
      • Start time:       0.04.43 (in chapter 2 of the DVD)
      • End time:         0.06.50
      • Clip length:      2 minutes and 7 seconds
    • The clip starts with Alby (Aml Ameen) saying, ‘We eat here, sleep here…’
    • The clip ends with Alby asking, ‘You understand me, Greenie?’
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • Three simple rules, all with good reasons:
    • It’s hard work for the community to survive, so everyone has to do their bit.
    • The community can only survive with mutual trust, so you don’t hurt each other.
    • As for the walls, the reason for that becomes clear later in the film, but I won’t spoil that for you if you haven’t seen it.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • The Bible is often misrepresented as a big book of rules:
    • ‘Thou shalt not do this, thou shalt not do that’.
    • But when the Bible lays down rules, there’s something important we should understand.
    • The Bible’s most famous rules are the Ten Commandments.
    • If we look at the very beginning of them, we see something that explains the basis of those rules.
    • [click] I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slaveryDeuteronomy 5:6, New Living Translation.
    • From there it tells us not to steal, not to commit adultery, not to tell lies and so on.
    • Our verse tells us that the rules are given in the context of a relationship.
    • The person making the rules is the same God who set the Israelites free.
    • Not pronouncements from a distant, unfeeling dictator, but rules from someone who has proven his intentions to be good.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • The school rules we mentioned before are also based on good reasons.
    • We don’t run in corridors in case we collide with someone and hurt them.
    • We don’t play on our phones in lessons because we’re meant to be learning.
    • We don’t hit people who annoy us, because everyone has the right to get through the day without being the target of acts of violence.
    • All those rules make our school community a good place for learning to happen.
    • They make us feel safe and secure.
    • [click] There are reasons for rules, but rules make more sense when we remember they are rooted in relationships.

Photo Copyright for New School Rule PowerPoint and More Dumb Laws PowerPoint: images from iStockphoto.com

Photo Copyright for Rules Maze Runner Assembly PowerPoint: Slide 1 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation / Slide 2 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation / Slide 3 iStockphoto.com / Slide 4 TM and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation


RESPOND

Prayer

  • Dear God, thank you for the people who are responsible for our well-being, in school and elsewhere. Help them to make good rules that enable everyone to thrive and flourish, and help us to follow those rules even when we don’t always understand the reasons behind them. Help us to remember that rules are rooted in relationships, and we ask that you will strengthen the relationships within our school community. Amen.

Reflection

  • How do you react to rules? Do you naturally do what they ask of you, or are you more likely to push against them to see what you can get away with? How do you feel when you are adversely affected by other people breaking the rules? Do you ever think about the effect of your actions on others?

YOU WILL NEED:

  1. The Maze Runner (20th Century Fox, 2014, certificate 12). Click here to buy the DVD online.
  2. New School Rule Assembly PowerPoint.
  3. More Dumb Laws Assembly PowerPoint.
  4. Rules Maze Runner Assembly PowerPoint.
  5. Buzzer or bell for the Yes/No game opening activity, or buy the Yes/No game which includes the bell.

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