SRSP 11-16 Topic 3 Unit 1a – Early Influences


In this topic pupils consider the beliefs of some early cultures. They reflect on how aspects of these cultures may have contributed to the later development of science, and on whether any of these activities could be considered to be an early form of science in themselves.

Science and religion, as the western world knows them, are both founded on an understanding of the reliability of human reason and of the rational ordering of the cosmos. Both search for objective truths. Both celebrate order and reject chaos. These highly influential ideas have their bases in the beliefs of early cultures. Humanity’s first concerns were to understand the connection between order and chaos, to seek order and to subdue chaos. Order was seen to give greater access to truth, and was recognised as leading to a better and more comfortable existence than chaos.

This unit consists of 3 lessons and is suitable for students aged from 11 to 14 years, and 2 lessons for students from 14 to 16 years.


Key Questions

  • How have our perceptions of time developed from ancient cultures?
  • How has the way we perceive what science is changed over time?
  • How were science and religion connected in ancient times?
  • The way that science is practised has changed since ancient times. Give examples of ways in which religious practice has also changed.

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Ages 11-14

Unit Resources

Unit Overview (Word)


Lesson 1

Lesson Plan: Marking time (Word)

Student Resource: How did people in the ancient world view time? (Word)

Student Worksheet 1: Marking Time (Word)

Student Worksheet 2: Dendera (Word)

Teacher Answer Sheet 1: Marking time (Word)

Teacher Answer Sheet 2: Dendera (Word)

Student Extension Sheet 1: History, Science and Religion (Word)


Lesson 2

Lesson Plan: Looking for clues (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 1: What is doing science? (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 2: Stonehenge (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 3: The Venus Tablet (Word)

Student Worksheet: Were the people who made Stonehenge and the Venus Tablet doing science? (Word)

Teacher Answer Sheet: Were the people who made Stonehenge and the Venus Tablet doing science? (Word)


Lesson 3

Lesson Plan: Order and Reason (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 1: Creation Stories (Word)

Student Worksheet 1: Creation Stories (Word)

Teacher Answer Sheet 1: Creation Stories (Word)

Powerpoint: Creation Ideas (PPT)



Ages 14-16

Unit Resources

Unit Overview (Word)

Map of Mesopotamia (Image)


Lesson 1

Lesson Plan: Early religious and cultural influences – Part I (Word)

Student Resource Sheet: Egyptian and Mayan information sheet (Word)

Student Worksheet: Questionaire (Word)


Lesson 2

Lesson Plan: Early religious and cultural influences – Part II (Word)

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