The Empty Tomb/Resurrection Appearances
Summary of Lesson Activities:
Children will sculpt a 3-D Tomb scene.
John 20:1-21, Matthew 28:1-15, Luke 24:1-12 and 36-44 (Not all passages used in all workshops. See specific lesson plans for passages used.)
“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.” Luke 24:5 NRSV
Rotation Objectives — children will learn:
That the women found Jesus’ tomb empty. That the stone was moved away not to let Jesus out, but so people could see Jesus had risen from the dead.
- The resurrected Jesus appeared to his followers; first the women, then to disciples in a locked room.
- Jesus was alive! Jesus was raised from the dead to give us new life.
- The empty tomb and resurrection appearances help us believe in Jesus.
- Older kids: where to find the story in the Bible.
- Read the scripture for this lesson.
- Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
- Prepare an opening and/or closing prayer in case you need one.
- Gather the materials.
- Fill milk jug with warm water (our Art room doesn’t have access to a sink)
- Cover the tables with newspaper.
- Pre-cut some pieces of the Plaster Cloth.
- For 1st and 2nd grade: Do some pre-construction on their “tomb” by taking crumpled up newspaper, covering it with one piece of foil, and stapling the foil to the wooden base. (It only needs about 4 or 5 staples. Plaster cloth will help “glue” tomb to base.) We found this step to be necessary as younger kids otherwise had trouble completing their project (too many steps).
- Bibles for grades 3 and up.
- For 1st & 2nd grade: a story Bible telling the story of John 20: 1-16
- Wooden base (one per student)- we used 3/32 inch thick basswood which came 4 inches wide and 24 inches long- this was cut into 4 inch pieces. (So a wooden base was 4x6.) At Michael’s Craft store, each board is about $2.50. So each base works out to about 63 cents.
- “Rigid Wrap” Plaster Cloth by Activa Products. Purchased at Michael’s.
- Clean meat trays, Newspaper (lots!), Paper towel, Wet Wipes, Foil
- Scissors, stapler, staples, pencils
- Painting smocks, Acrylic paint, paint brushes- foam & small
- Clean milk jug with lid, hair dryer
- Sample empty tomb scene.
- Older kids: Pipe cleaners, instructions on making Pipe Cleaner figures.
Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to the art workshop. Introduce yourself and any other adults.
For 1st & 2nd grade:
These students often need something active to do at the start of the workshop. If it appears that this is the case—see the suggested activity at the end of the lesson. (It is ok to ask the Shepherd to lead this short activity).
Say: Let’s begin with prayer.
Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Be prepared to say a prayer yourself, working in prayer requests. A suggestion: “Dear God, Thank you for wanting to have a special relationship with each one of us. At this Easter time we are reminded of the gift of your son, Jesus, who died and yet came back to life again. What a surprise it must have been for the followers to discover the empty tomb. We thank you Lord, for the empty tomb, because we know it means that Jesus is alive. Thank you for this wonderful gift. Amen”
Pass around a basket to collect offering. Remind everyone what the current Missions & Me project is: Habitat for Humanity. (Share something you know about Habitat for Humanity.)
[Note: The Shepherd will quietly take attendance, etc. while you are starting your lesson.]
Ask: What are some symbols of Easter? (allow a few answers: Easter eggs, butterflies, cross, flowers, etc.)
Show the sample, completed art project.
Ask: What about this as a symbol of Easter? (accept all responses)
Say: Today we’re going to learn how this scene is a symbol of Easter. You’ll each get to make one of these creations. The Bible tells us that Jesus was buried in a tomb and the tomb was closed with a large stone. In Jesus’ time, when people died, their bodies were often buried in a cave called a tomb. A large, circular stone would cover the entrance to the tomb. The stone rolled in a channel carved in front of the cave, so the tomb could be opened and closed.
Ask: Does anyone know what happened to that stone on the very first Easter morning? (it was rolled away) Was the stone rolled away so Jesus could get out? (no)
Say: The stone was rolled away so that the followers of Jesus could see that the tomb was empty! Jesus was alive! This is the reason why we celebrate Easter – Jesus was alive. We can talk more about this as we work. Let’s get started.
Start the art project:
For younger students:
Have the Shepherd help you write student’s first and last name on the bottom of prepared “tombs” (see preparations above). Pass them out to students.
For older students:
Give everyone a wooden base. Have them write their full name on one side (first and last name please!) This becomes the bottom of their creation.
Show the students how to take some crumpled up newspaper, cover it with one piece of foil, and staple the foil to the wooden base. (It doesn’t really need more than 4 or 5 staples. Plaster cloth will help “glue” tomb to base.)
For all students:
Have kids roll up sleeves and put on paint smocks.
Demonstrate for the students:
- Pour a little warm water into a meat tray.
- Take a piece of the Plaster Cloth, and dip it in the water.
- Lift out of water and allow it to drip for a few seconds.
- Apply it to their newspaper/foil “tomb”. Place pieces in such a way that they act to help “glue” the tomb to the board.
- Show them how they can smooth out the Plaster Cloth with damp fingers.
- Not too many layers (max of 5, but 2 is plenty). Not too wet!
- Add pieces of Plaster Cloth to cover tomb. Shape as desired.
Give everyone a meat tray and a few pieces of the Plaster Cloth. Pour a little warm water into each meat tray (doesn’t take much). Allow access to scissors for cutting smaller pieces of the Plaster Cloth. Let the creations begin!
Before being painted, the tombs need to dry a bit. Do a quick hand clean up so you can move on to reading the Bible story. Leave smocks on! Have kids wipe their hands with wet wipes and paper towel. (Try to avoid trips to wash hands in the bathroom, as it will take too much time. They are going to get messy again when they paint their creations.)
After a majority of students have finished with shaping their tomb, start in on reading the Bible story. First ask these questions:
Ask: What are the first four books of the New Testament? (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John)
What do we call these four books? (the Gospels, which means good news)
Say: Open your Bible to the Gospel of John.
Ask: Does everyone remember the quick way to find the New Testament? (Open the Bible at its halfway point. Take the back half and divide it in half – you will be at the beginning of the New Testament.)
What do the Gospels tell about? (stories of Jesus)
Say: All four Gospels tell what happened on the first Easter. Each of them tells the story a little differently; that’s because the gospels were written by different people. Let’s hear what John wrote.
For 3rd grade and up:
Have the kids find John, chapter 20, verse 1, in their Bibles. Going around in a circle, have kids take turns reading verses 1- 16, each reading one verse. (They may pass if they don’t wish to read.) Remember to encourage kids to bring their own Bibles.
For 1st and 2nd grade:
Read the Arch Book: The Story of the Empty Tomb. Show the pictures as you read. [Note that to follow our workshop objectives, the wording to this story has been modified. Read the post-it notes in the book as the story text.]
For all students:
Say: I’m going to have you start painting your tomb. While you’re painting we can talk about the story we just read. (Note: It is possible to paint the tombs even if they aren’t completely dry. Try a hair-dryer on any that are really wet.)
Work some more on the art project:
Supply acrylic paint in small puddles on meat trays. Have the Shepherd help you dispense paint. The foam brushes work best at applying paint; a dabbing motion works better than trying to swipe the paint on. A little paint goes a long way! Show them how to use several colors for a more natural effect.
Additional Discussion (While working, bring up any of these topics):
Say: Mary Magdalene went to the tomb on the first Easter.
Ask: What did she find? (stone rolled away, empty tomb)
What was Mary’s reaction? (surprise, fear, thought body had been taken away)
Say: Mary went and told Peter and John, and they went to look at the empty tomb.
Ask: How do you suppose Peter and John felt? (confused)
I wonder why Jesus showed himself to Mary at the tomb, but not Peter?
Why didn’t Mary recognize Jesus? (allow all answers)
Say: Jesus had told his disciples many times that he would be killed but on the third day, God would raise him from the dead.
Ask: Why were the followers of Jesus surprised to find that Jesus had risen and was alive? (they forgot Jesus’ promise or maybe they just didn’t understand what Jesus had been saying)
Say: We hear the words “resurrection of Jesus”, what does resurrection mean? (literally means "rise again")
This empty tomb scene isn’t your typical symbol of Easter. Most symbols of Easter are bright and colorful (think butterflies, flowers). What is it about the empty tomb that still makes it an important symbol for Easter? (the empty tomb means Jesus is alive!)
Say: The empty tomb and Jesus appearing to his followers, helps us believe in God’s power. God promises us new life if we believe in )
[This topic good for older kids]
Say: At Christmas time we have manger scenes – crèches – to remind us of Jesus’ birth. This empty tomb scene is sort of like a crèche for Easter.
Ask: What is it about Easter that gives us a reason to celebrate Christmas? (God using his power to raise Jesus from the dead shows that Jesus was God’s Son, we thus have a reason to celebrate his birth)
If there’s additional time (option for older students): [Note: this activity may be too difficult for younger students.]
If students get done painting and have time to create some “people” for their scene, show them how to make pipe cleaner people. Use the printed sheet from Family Fun magazine.
Say: Today you created a wonderful symbol of Easter. When you show this to your family you can say: The important message is that the tomb was empty! Jesus’ death was not the end; it was a new beginning. The empty tomb reminds us of the new life that God has promised each of us. Jesus is alive!
Encourage everyone to come back next week for another workshop, and to invite friends to come too!
Resources for this Art Lesson:
- MacQueen, Neil. A www.rotation.org posting on an art idea posted here at rotation.org.
- Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church, Cary, NC. “ Resurrection”
- “Pipe Cleaner People” came from http://familyfun.go.com/crafts...peppy-people-666374/
- The “busy” activity for 1st and 2nd graders was a song with motions from Cokesbury’s curriculum - “Exploring Faith: Early Elementary Spring 2002”.
(which cannot be reproduced here for copyright reasons).
A lesson written by Carol Hulbert from: First UMC
Ann Arbor, MI
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.