Summary of Lesson Activities:
Students will make “dirt” from crushed Oreo cookies. They’ll learn how “crushing” experiences can separate us from family and friends, yet we are never separated from God. Knowing this helps us respond differently when we face disappointments. [Note: 1st – 3rd graders visited this workshop.
Portions of this lesson were from a free cooking lesson that use to be available from Potter’s Publishing, unfortunately they closed their site on 1/1/2020.
Genesis 37:1-36, 39:1-6b
“We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him.” Romans 8:28a (CEV)
- Read the scripture for this lesson.
- Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
- Gather the materials.
- One cup size liquid measuring cups – 1 for every 4 students
- Serving spoons and spatulas – 1 for every 4 students
- Washable cups –1 per student
- Milk – 1 cup for every 4 students
- For 3rd grade: purple Adventure Bibles, One with tabs (Law, History, etc.), and Bible tab writing kit: tabs, fine-line Sharpie pen
- The Beginner’s Bible and The Children’s Illustrated Bible
- Plastic, quart-sized jars with tight fitting lids – 1 for every 4 students
- Wax paper
- Snack size (or sandwich size) plastic zipper bags (1 per student)
- Large box (6 serving size) Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix – 1 box for every 8 students
- Oreo Cookies – 1 per student
- Gummy worms (1 per student)
- Kitchen shears
- Wooden mallet
- An easel; appropriate marker
Before Start of Class:
- Wash a metal table.
- Divide the contents of each box of pudding in half, placing each half onto sheets of wax paper. Fold-up these wax paper sheets of pudding mix (to protect them).
- Leave the separated pudding mix and the plastic quart-sized jars on the metal table in the kitchen. Arrange serving spoons and spatulas and washable cups close at hand.
- Place Oreo Cookies into zipper bags – one cookie per bag. Prepare one bag per student.
- If gummy worms are large, cut them in half using kitchen shears provided. Place the gummy worms and the spoons (for eating) accessible in the Social Hall.
- Have the bags of cookies and the wooden mallet in the Social Hall. Keep the wooden mallet hidden.
- Write the key Bible verse on the easel.
- Book mark a purple Adventure Bible to Genesis 39:1.
Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Gather everyone around the tables in the Social Hall. Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to the Cooking Workshop. Introduce yourself and any other adults.
[Note: Ask the Shepherd to take care of attendance/nametags while you start the lesson.]
Say: Today we are learning (continuing to learn) about the Old Testament story of Joseph and his brothers – Joseph thinks he’s on top of the world because he receives a very special coat as a gift from his father, but then something really awful happens.
Ask: Does anyone know what awful thing happened to Joseph? (allow a few answers)
Say: We’ll talk about what happens and how Joseph reacts, but first let’s begin with prayer.
Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Use the Lord’s Prayer as the ending. [You may ask one or two students to lead the Lord’s Prayer.]
A suggestion: Dear God, Thank you for the chance to be together. Help us to recognize your work in our world. Remind us not to look for you wearing a flashy coat like Joseph’s. Help us remember that you are near to us, comforting us always. (End with the Lord’s Prayer) Amen.
Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
For portions of this lesson it refers to the free cooking lesson that use to be available from Potter’s Publishing, unfortunately they closed their site on 1/1/2020). and so the instructions for the “Smash the Cookie” segment is no longer available.
Tell the story:
[Might need to say: I need you to pay attention to the story, so push your bag of crushed cookie towards the center of the table. After we talk about our Bible story we’ll talk about what we’ll do with the cookies.]
Say: Our Bible story is about Joseph. Joseph had an experience that left him feeling crushed.
Ask: If Jesus learned this story when he was your age, where would we find it in the Bible? (in the OT)
Say: Our Bible story happened a long time ago. We find our story in the book of Genesis, which is the first book of the Old Testament in the Bible.
For 3rd graders:
Say: We say that the book of Genesis is part of a collection of Bible books called “Law.” Law books include the first five books of the Bible. They are called the books of Law because they include the commandments or laws that God revealed to his people. If you have your own Bible today, be sure you receive a tab for the Law section of your Bible.
[Show the classroom Bible with tabs. Have the Shepherd a do Law tab for students who bring their Bibles. Use the classroom Bible with tabs as an example.]
For all students:
Show page 74 in The Beginner’s Bible.
Say: Joseph was the only one in his family to receive a special coat as a gift from his father.
Ask: Do you suppose that this was a crushing experience for Joseph? (no, he probably liked getting a nice coat)
For whom was it a crushing experience? (Joseph’s brothers)
Show page 75 in The Beginner’s Bible.
Say: Here is Joseph dreaming. This looks like a nice pleasant dream about bundles of wheat.
Ask: Do you think that was a crushing experience for Joseph? (no)
Say: OK, listen while I read you the story about Joseph; see if you can identify any “crushing experiences” for Joseph.
Read to them pages 56 and 57 in The Children’s Illustrated Bible.
Note: Later in the month encourage the kids to tell you the story. Fill in any missing details.
Say: For the Word of God in scripture, for the Word of God among us, for the Word of God within us,
The class says: Thanks be to God!
Say: We say those words after we read in the Bible. We say that what we’ve read is the word of God and we are very thankful to have God’s words!
Say: So, the brothers ganged up on Joseph, throwing him in a pit and eventually selling him! That’s a crushing experience!
Ask: How did the brothers come to have such bad feelings for Joseph?
What did Joseph have that they wanted?
Say: They were probably jealous of Joseph.
Ask: What does jealousy mean? (feeling unhappy because of another person’s possessions or advantage)
Tell me about a time when you felt jealous.
Why do you suppose Jacob (the father) played favorites and gave only Joseph a special coat? (allow all responses)
Say: Jacob had four wives but the Bible tells us that Rachel, who was Joseph’s mother, was his favorite wife. Perhaps that’s why Jacob gave Joseph a special coat.
Ask: Perhaps Jacob felt that God had special plans for Joseph? (allow any response)
Do you suppose that God has a plan for your life?
How do you suppose that God makes his plans known to us?
Say: God’s activity in our lives may appear to be hidden to us, but God does have a plan for each of you. God is always with you, at work in your lives. Let’s look at our key Bible verse for this month.
Refer to the easel with the key Bible verse. Ask students to say it with you: “We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him.” Romans 8:28a
For 3rd grade:
Say: We find this verse in the New Testament book of Romans, chapter 8. That little “a” after the verse number 28, means that we stop reading after the first sentence that is in verse 28.
For all students:
Say: This is a good Bible verse to know by heart. When something crushing happens to you, you can pull this verse out of your memory. [Refer to the easel.] “We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him.”
Ask: Earlier you were telling about how you’ve handled crushing experiences you had. What do you suppose Joseph did with his disappointment? (allow any answers)
Say: We actually need to peek ahead in the Joseph story to find out what happened to Joseph in Egypt. We’re going to learn about that part of the story next month but I’ll tell you this much – Joseph didn’t give up his faith in God! He knew that no matter what – he would never be separated from God; that God was always at work. Joseph made the best of his bad situation.
Follow the “Brainstorming Ideas” segment and the “Making Dirt Pudding” of the Potter’s Publishing Cooking lesson.
This portions of the lesson was from a free cooking lesson that use to be available from Potter’s Publishing, unfortunately they closed their site on 1/1/2020.
Back to the Social Hall – More discussion with eating:
Serve Gummy worms.
Allow everyone to enjoy the snack.
Say: Joseph had really been through a crushing experience. His brothers had sold him to some traders on their way to Egypt. Joseph was probably really bummed, but he didn’t let it get him down. Joseph remembered that God would always be with him; he would never be separated from God. Let’s read a little bit about what happened to Joseph.
For 3rd grade:
Distribute purple Adventure Bibles. Have everyone find Genesis 39:1 in the Bible.
For all students:
Read to them Genesis 39:1-4.
Ask: Do you suppose that God will fix it so nothing bad ever happens to you? (no)
Say: God’s promise is not to stop all trouble. We unfortunately are still going to have crushing experiences. But God’s plan is to help us grow stronger. Learning to handle problems is one way we experience growth.
Say: We’ve made a tasty snack from broken pieces of cookie. It may not always be easy to fix our crushing experiences but always remember that God is with you.
If you have extra time:
Have each group that worked together to create “dirt” recite a portion of the key Bible verse. For example, if there were 4 in a group break up the verse as…
We know that God is always/ at work for the good/ of everyone who loves him./ Romans 8:28a
Have each group repeat the verse faster, louder, or softer.
- The Beginner’s Bible. Brentwood, TN: Mission City Press, 1989.
- Hastings, Selina. The Children’s Illustrated Bible. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1994.
- Klusmeyer, Steve & Brenda. “Joseph the Dreamer.” Oct. 2002. (Lesson is no longer at this site.)
- “Living in Land of Many Colors: Joseph Remains Faithful”. Bloomington, IL: Potter’s Workshops, 2000.
- The NIV Adventure Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zonderkidz, 2000.
A lesson written by Carol Hulbert for First United Methodist Church
Ann Arbor, MI
Copyright 2010 First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI.
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Hulbert, Carol. "Joseph’s Coat: Cooking Workshop." Jan. 2010. Place URL where lesson found inside angle brackets<>.
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