1. Have students present their work to the class.

Divide students into the same small groups from Lesson 7, Activity 1. Then invite each group to the front of the class to present their assigned question from Part 2 of the worksheet Mapping Languages and Religions of the U.K. and Ireland and the answer they arrived at. Encourage students to ask questions as groups make their presentations. Ask presenters to refer to the parts of the reading or maps that they used to answer their question.


2. Revisit questions about groups with new understandings.

Have a whole-class discussion in which students revisit some of the questions about what a group is from Lesson 6, Activity 1, with their new knowledge of religion and language groups in Europe. Ask:

  • What types of groups need to have their own region to live in? Why?
  • Which groups can or should be mixed together? Explain.


3. Discuss religious and language groups and country borders.

Then discuss why some language or religious groups might want their own country instead of being mixed with other groups. Ask:

  • Think about what you have learned from the readings and maps in Lesson 7. Have your ideas changed about how religious and language groups can cooperate within a country? How?
  • Should country borders be based on language and religion? Why or why not?

Informal Assessment

Assess students based on their presentations of their answers to the questions after the reading.

Extending the Learning

Ask students to think about religious and language conflicts in their own state or area of the country. Have students list the different languages spoken, or religions practiced, and consider:

  • Where is each language group located in your state?
  • Historically, where were the language groups located? Why have the groups moved or not moved?
  • Have any languages disappeared from your state? Why?
  • Why do some language groups maintain their language, while others are lost?
  • Have different languages caused conflict in your state? Describe the conflicts and how they were resolved.

Subjects & Disciplines

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • explore how religion and language can impact country borders by uniting and/or dividing populations of people

Teaching Approach

  • Learning-for-use

Teaching Methods

  • Discussions
  • Reflection

Skills Summary

This activity targets the following skills:

Connections to National Standards, Principles, and Practices

National Council for Social Studies Curriculum Standards

National Geography Standards

  • Standard 1:  How to use maps and other geographic representations, geospatial technologies, and spatial thinking to understand and communicate information
  • Standard 10:  The characteristics, distribution, and complexity of Earth's cultural mosaics
  • Standard 13:  How the forces of cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and control of Earth's surface
  • Standard 4:  The physical and human characteristics of places

What You’ll Need

Materials You Provide

  • Lesson 7, Activity 1 completed worksheets
  • Pencils
  • Pens

Physical Space

  • Classroom


  • Large-group instruction

Background Information

Ireland is also known as the Republic of Ireland. The United Kingdom includes England, Wales, Scotland, and northern Ireland. People in Ireland and the United Kingdom share similar landscapes and histories. But language and religious differences have led to fierce conflicts between the two close countries for hundreds of years. English kings and queens tried to conquer their Celtic-speaking neighbors, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, for almost a thousand years. Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, along with Brittany in northwestern France, and the Isle of Man, managed to retain their ancient languages and way of life. These areas were able to do so, even when conquered by the Romans and other invaders. Examples of Celtic languages include Gaelic, Cornish, and Welsh. Today, English is spoken virtually everywhere in the British Isles. Gaelic is used by only about one percent of Scots. The Welsh language persists in the place names of Wales. In Wales, laws were passed making all signs bilingual—both in Welsh and English. Still, only a fraction of people residing in Wales are monoglot, meaning they speak only Welsh.


King Henry VIII rejected Catholicism and turned England toward Protestantism in the 1530s. Afterward, the English battled Catholic enemies France and Spain for territories around the world. Ireland remained a loyal Catholic country. It rebelled repeatedly when Henry VIII and his daughter, Queen Elizabeth I, brought the country under English rule. Scottish and English Protestants colonized northern Ireland in the early 1600s. At the same time, England was competing with Spain and France to colonize North America. But the Irish natives resisted change. They retained their Catholic religion and native Celtic language and customs. However, the English were firmly in control of Ireland by the late 1600s. And Protestants were in the most powerful positions in the Catholic country. In 1801, the English empire was at the height of its power and declared that all of England, Scotland, and Wales were a "United Kingdom." But the Irish disagreed. In the mid-1800s, Ireland began a new movement for political independence, or "home rule." By 1922, the southern, more Celtic part of the island became independent. Eventually it was named the Republic of Ireland. But fighting and bloodshed between Catholics and Protestants continued in northern Ireland. The majority of people there maintained strong cultural, religious, and family ties to England. A peace settlement was finally reached in 1998. Now Protestants and Catholics share power in the government of northern Ireland.

Prior Knowledge

  • None

Recommended Prior Activities

  • None



natural or artificial line separating two pieces of land.


a disagreement or fight, usually over ideas or procedures.


geographic territory with a distinct name, flag, population, boundaries, and government.


set of sounds, gestures, or symbols that allows people to communicate.


any area on Earth with one or more common characteristics. Regions are the basic units of geography.


a system of spiritual or supernatural belief.

Articles & Profiles