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Reply to "COMPLETE LESSON SET: Joseph in Egypt from FUMC, Ann Arbor, MI"

Joseph in Egypt
Art Workshop- 3rd grade and up:

Summary of Lesson Activities:
Creative narrative picture scrolls with hieroglyphics (picture words). 

Scripture Reference:
Genesis 39–45, 46:5-7

Key Verse:
“We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him.” Romans 8:28 (CEV)

Workshop Objectives:

  • Identify Genesis as the first book in the Old Testament; locating the story in Genesis.
  • Retell the story in their own words – Describing how with God’s help, Joseph came to be the most powerful man in Egypt.
  • Tell how Joseph forgave his brothers. God calls us to work for reconciliation and forgiveness.

Leader Preparation:

  • 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

Supplies List:

  • Scrolls (one per student) – made from two narrow cardboard tubes & 36” of plain wallpaper that looks like “old” paper (pre-glued to tubes with hot glue)
  • Markers, colored pencils, crayons
  • Masking tape
  • Scratch paper – for testing design ideas
  • Examples of hieroglyphics
  • Bibles

Lesson Plan

Gather everyone seated around tables. Greet your students warmly. Introduce yourself and any other adults. Pass around a basket to collect any offering.
Say: Today we are going to make scrolls that tell the story of Joseph and his brothers. Since this story takes place in Egypt, we’re going to borrow an ancient Egyptian way of writing, to make our scrolls. First, 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 bringing all of us here today. Thank you for teaching us about Joseph and his family. We can learn from Joseph to forgive others, even when they have hurt us. Help us to forgive. Help us remember your love is always with us. Amen.”

[Note: The Shepherd will be quietly taking attendance, etc. while you are starting your lesson.]

Ask: Where in the Bible would we find the story of Joseph? (Old Testament, Genesis) In the Old Testament we find stories about Jesus’ life, right? (no!)
Say: The Old Testament contains stories that happened before Jesus was born. In fact, Jesus would have heard these stories read from scrolls.

Distribute Bibles. (Encourage everyone to bring his or her Bible every week.) Have them find Genesis, chapter 40.

Ask: What do you already know about the Joseph story?
These students are visiting the Art Workshop at the end of the Rotation. Get them to tell you what they know about the story. Prompt them to fill in details by using the chapter headings in their Bibles – example: Chapter 40, “The Cupbearer and the Baker”: Who were the cupbearer and the baker?
Where was Joseph? Then what happened? Etc.

Say: Let’s look more closely at what happened when Joseph finally told his brothers who he was.

Have students turn to Genesis chapter 45, verse 1. Going around the table, have each student (who wants to) take a turn reading one verse from Genesis 45:1-15.

Ask: What did the brothers think when Joseph said, “I’m your brother”? (scared) What do you suppose they expected Joseph to do? (get revenge)
What does Joseph do? (offers forgiveness) How does he know that his brothers have changed? (they show concern for Jacob - that he would be heartbroken; they offer to take place of Benjamin in jail)
Do you think it was hard for Joseph to forgive his brothers? When have you had to forgive someone that hurt you? What happened?

Say: Joseph had some hard things happen in his life. But all these events helped Joseph to grow, not just in terms of getting older, but growing in his trust in God. Hearing and understanding Bible stories can help all of us to grow in our trust in God. The same God who was with Joseph is with us too. The same God who helped Joseph do the really hard task of forgiving his brothers can help us forgive too.

Introduce the Art Project:
Ask: At the time that this Bible story takes place (about 3800 years ago) what do you know about how people wrote? (hieroglyphics)
Say: People wrote using symbols or pictures to denote objects or concepts.

Show some examples.

Say: Let’s make a scroll that depicts events in the Joseph story – to remember the events that helped Joseph grow in his faith and brought him to an understanding that allowed him to forgive his brothers.

Brainstorm with the students, ideas about what symbols of their own design could be used to depict parts of the story. They may show whatever portion of the Joseph story they would like to depict. Encourage students in their creativity.

Pass out scrolls and markers, coloring pencils or crayons.
[Hint: Use small pieces of masking tape to keep the scroll flat while drawing.]

Discussion: (while the kids are working, ask)

  • While Joseph was in prison, how do you think he felt towards his brothers?
  • While in prison, how hard must it have been to keep faith in God?
  • Do you ever feel like things aren’t going so well, and maybe God has forgotten you?
  • What do you do to get back in tune with God?
  • How did God signal to Joseph (even while in prison) that he was still on Joseph’s side?
  • Does God promise to save us from hard times or get through them?

Talk briefly with the class about the meaning of reconciliation – explain that in the end of the Joseph story, Joseph and his family are reconciled.

  • What does reconciliation mean? (dictionary definition: end of a conflict, renewing a relationship)
  • What does God call us to do? (work for reconciliation)

If there is time, discuss what it means to be reconciled to God through Christ.

If You Have Time (additional discussion point):
Ask: Why doesn’t God speak to us today through dreams, as he did to many people in Old Testament times? Could He?
[People of Old Testament times did not have the Bible, as we know it today. Only a few had small portions of it; thus maybe God spoke to chosen people in a more direct way, through dreams or angels, or personally.]

Say: God loves you and is working for good in your life. We can learn from the Joseph story that hard times can turn out good and forgiveness is possible when we open our hearts to God.


A lesson from First United Methodist Church
Ann Arbor, MI
Copyright 2003 First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI.
Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material 

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