Jesus Calms the Storm
Summary of Lesson Activities:
This Games lesson starts with the reading of the scripture story of Jesus sleeping through and then calming the storm. The activities focus on helping the students think more about chaos and the two different reactions to it that we see from disciples and Jesus. 1st activity consist of playing the "Plinko" game from Price Is Right (to demonstrate the inability to control a situation, in this case, the final resting place of a "chip"). 2nd activity is a movement activity where the students pretend to be a balloon being blown-up until there is too much air in them and then exploding (to demonstrate how our fear of chaos builds). The 3rd actvity is a relay race that requires a slow pace and careful concentration to help explain why Jesus wasn't scared of the chaos (because he was paying attention to God and therefore resting/going slowly in God).
For the full lesson, download the attached Word .doc at the bottom of this post. Note that the first three pages of the document are "background" and that the actual lesson starts on page 4 (which is also where you will find the supply list).
From the attached lesson, here are the 2nd and 3rd activities with some of the teaching comments (in first person) included:
- Read the scripture ahead of time.
- Gather the materials.
- Juice Boxes
Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Greet the children and introduce yourself.
Open with a prayer.
Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
- Often, when we find ourselves in a time and place where the things happening around us are unpredictable and uncontrollable, we can start to have feelings of fear about that unpredictablility and uncontrollability on the inside of us. Our feelings get so stirred up on the inside of us, it’s almost like the chaos from the outside got inside of us.
- This is what was happening for the disciples: The storm and the waves became too uncontrollable and too unpredictable and they started to feel afraid of the chaos. Eventually they became very afraid.
- But Jesus had a very different response. He just kept sleeping, until his disciples woke him up. We’ll talk about why Jesus had a different response than his disciples a little bit later in class. But before we do that, we’re going to talk about our response to chaos a little bit more.
EXPLAIN Balloon exercise
- So, when the chaos that is around us starts to get inside of us, it can sometimes take awhile for us to feel it working inside of us.
- We are going to do a movement activity, now, that can help us think about why our feelings about chaos work this way inside of us.
- So first, each of us is going to pretend to be a balloon that is slowly being inflated.
- So, we’re going to start in a squatting position, all curled up on the ground into a little ball, but with our feet flat on the floor.
- Now, with every breath that I take (I'll breathe loudly!), we’re going to get just a little big bigger. Copy my moves as I breathe really loudly.
1. Breath – Slowly raise head
2. Breath – Slowly move arms away from torso
3. Breath – Slowly extend forearms
4. Breath – Slowly extend fingers
5. Breath – Slowly extend knees (so that you’re standing up but bent over still)
6. Breath – Slowly unfold at the waist
7. Breath – Slowly straighten so that you’re standing straight up
8. Breath – Slowly lift arms straight out to the side
9. Breath – Slowly lift arms straight into the air, above head
10. Breath – Stand on the tips of your toes…
11. Breath – Fill your chest with as much air as possible
12. Now…one more breath and… – OH NO! You’re too full! Explode like a balloon with too much air in it! Go running around the room, crash into the wall (or each other), collapse to the floor and lie there.
- You blew up!
- Did you blow up right away? (No)
- Why not? (took awhile for the air to build up or “accumulate” in you)
- This is how chaos and our fear of it works. It slowly builds up inside of us and then once there’s enough of it in us, then we panic or explode and crash into each other.
- So now we’re going to do an activity that will help us think about why Jesus doesn’t have these feelings of fear about the chaos inside of him like the disciples did.
Explain Marble board Activity
- We’re going to get back into our two teams again.
- And we’re going to do a relay race.
- Each team gets this board with juice boxes glued on to it.
- Two members from the team will hold this board (one per side) and walk across the room from this part of the room (designated by a rope) to this side of the room (also designated by a rope) where the next two members of the team will take over.
- First team to have all members walk from one rope to the other rope wins.
- On each board will be ___ marbles (depending on age: 5, 7 or 10 marbles). If one marble or more falls off, then the two people carrying the board have to pick the marble(s) up and return to the start line, put the marble(s) back on the board with the other marbles and start over.
- Any questions?
DO Marble Board Relay Race
- What happened when you went too fast? (the marbles fell off)
- So what did you have to do? (go slow)
- What else did you have to do? (concentrate on keeping the board level with every step)
- Was that hard to do since you were in a race? (probably)
- But when you did go slower and paid close attention to what you were doing, you made less mistakes, right?
- In the story, we see that Jesus does a similar thing. He slows down (in fact, he’s going so slow that he’s fallen asleep!). And instead of focusing on the chaos, we know from other stories that he keeps his focus on God.
- And because he does these two things, we can see that instead of being afraid of the chaos, Jesus has a sense of peace in him. In the middle of all that chaos, he’s peacefully resting.
- So then, when the disciples wake him up, instead of being afraid of the chaos, Jesus is calm instead. And though we’ve seen the fear spread in the disciples, Jesus now spreads the peace and calmness he feels. He even says those words, right? Remember the words he says to the storm? He says, “Peace. Be still.”
- And the storm, the chaos, was still.
- One of the ways that we experience God’s peace is by being still.
- As we saw with the marble activity, going slower was better.
- And that’s the good news for today:
1. When we slow down, then we are more able to pay attention to God.
2. When we slow down and focus our attention on God, then we will experience God’s peace.
3. And when we’re filled with God’s peace, then we will be able to share that peace with others.
End with a prayer.
A lesson written by Nathanael from: rfour.org
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.
If you like this lesson, and are interested in more, visit www.rfour.org/curriculum.html.