Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.
One God, three persons. God is a Holy Trinity, a communion of persons. What a great mystery for our students to seek to understand and for us to teach! This Most Holy Trinity lesson plan challenges students to us historic symbols of the Trinity to explain how God is one substance yet three distinct persons.
Holy Trinity Lesson Objectives
- SWBAT explain that God is one substance, but three distinct persons.
- SWBAT use the symbols for the Trinity to explain the mystery of the Trinity
Holy Trinity Lesson Activities
To introduce the concept of the Trinity, tap into the students prior knowledge of St. Patrick and the shamrock. Bring in a shamrock or show a picture to the students. Ask the students:
- Does anyone know which saint used this symbol to teach about God?
- And what did he explain about God using the shamrock?
- (Or:) What do you think he taught people about God using the shamrock?
After you give the students a chance to explain what they know, use the shamrock to explain that God is one substance yet three distinct persons.
Optional: Saint Patrick Video (members)
2. Trinity Presentation
Offer a more detailed explanation of the Holy Trinity here. Explain that Jesus sent out the disciples to baptize in the name (not the names) of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28). God is one substance, but he is also distinctly three persons.
“It is the Father who generates, the Son who is begotten, and the Holy Spirit who proceeds” (Fourth Lateran Council).
Why is this important for our understanding of God? God is love (1 John 4:8). He is a communion of persons and the perfect model of love.
Reference: Catechism of the Catholic Church, 232-267
3. Practice: The Creed and the Trinity Activity
Give students copies of the Nicene (or Apostles) Creed. Give them three highlighters, markers, colored pencils or crayons. Have them distinguish between the three sections of the creed and label them Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
(Optional: you can also give students a copy of the Baptismal promises showing them how we profess our faith in the Trinitarian God when we renew our baptismal vows.)
4: Practice: Holy Trinity Craft
There are a lot of Holy Trinity craft ideas that would help your students practice meeting the objective of explaining the mystery of the Trinity with symbols.
Here are a few to try out in your Trinity lesson:
- Printable Trinity Shamrock Craft (Catholic Icing)
- Trinity Triangle Craft (Catholic Icing)
- Trinity Triangle Lesson and Craft (Faith Sprouts)
- Holy Trinity Activities and Crafts (The Catholic Toolbox)
5. Practice: Holy Trinity Worksheets
There are a few worksheets available to members of The Religion Teacher that will help students show their understanding of the Trinity. If you are a premium member, you can login and find them here or if you haven’t joined yet, then you can enter your email address here to have them sent to you.
The Trinity Prayer Worksheet: Students will write prayers to each person of the Trinity showing what they know about each yet uniting it together as one prayer.
God So Loved the World Worksheet: Students will reflect on God the Father’s love for God the Son and us.
6. Assessment: Teaching with Trinity Symbols
Divide the students up into groups of 3-4 students. Give each group a print out of a different symbol for the Trinity (download here). Have the students discuss how they can use this symbol to explain how God is one substance, but three distinct persons. Have the groups designate a representative for the group to speak on their behalf to the entire class. Give each group some time to present to the class.
Symbols for the Holy Trinity:
- Shamrock (you can remind the students and use this as a model)
- Triquetra (Trinity Knot)
- Shield of the Trinity (Scutum Fidei)
- Borromean Rings
(Optional: Give the students a research assignment. Have them search online for the history and meaning of each symbol. Make sure they can explain when and where the symbol originated and how Christians have used it to teach about God through the years.)
To get an individual assessment of the students, have them complete an Exit Card: draw the symbol on the blank side and write the way it expresses the mystery of the Trinity on the lined side.
Download the Holy Trinity Worksheets
Here is another link to download a set of worksheets to help students learn about the Holy Trinity. You will get three worksheets: Trinity Symbols Worksheet, Trinity Prayer Worksheet, and God So Loved the World Worksheet. Or, if you are a member just login and find them online.