Grade 5 Makes Sense of the Census

In HaMorah Raffel’s Grade 5 Hebrew class, the students completed a learning activity paralleling a modern census versus a Biblical one. Students began by studying chapter one in Numbers (BaMidbar) and discussing the mifkad, which is the poll or census God commanded Moshe to take. Moshe was instructed to count the number of males above the age of twenty in order to form an army. Upon completing this Torah study, the Grade 5 students read an authentic newspaper article from an Israeli paper published at the beginning of this Jewish year. The article focuses on a recent poll done in Israel to determine the number of citizens across the State and which cities are the most heavily populated. This poll also included the number of babies born this past year and the most popular baby names.    

There are many fascinating features to an integrated learning activity like this one. First, students were able to draw parallels between Biblical facts and their modern day applications. Counting people is a concept that has been recognized as an important exercise for thousands of years. Another compelling part of this lesson is that students realized that some key terms used in the Bible are still used in modern texts. Finally, how amazing is it that students in Grade 5 can read and discuss an authentic, Israeli newspaper with the guidance of their teacher and discover so much.   

Did you know that the most densely populated city in Israel is Jerusalem? Or that the most popular baby name for a girl is Noa? And Itai for a boy?