A Hike Up Mt Sinai and Into the Ten Commandments
Computer Workshop Lesson Plan
Software: The Ten Commandments (from Sunday Software)
Alternate software approaches described below.
Sunday Software's Ten Commandments software is now available free-of-charge to the supporting members of Rotation.org for use in their teaching ministries in Sunday School and home use by their church families. Learn more.
- Read the Guide to the Ten Commandments software and Neil's Notes below.
- Install and explore the software to decide which parts of it you want to use/skip.
Neil's Notes on Teaching the Ten Commandments
Many churches either focus on the story of "what happened at Mt Sinai" or "what ARE the Ten Commandments." A few teach the concept of "God's Law" and its connection to Jesus and the Cross. A few look at the concept obedience/disobedience. The Ten Commandments CD has content on ALL these aspects of teaching the Commandments. Ideally, you will come back to these concepts and individual commandments in many lessons, years, and venues. For example, many of the individual commandments should be taught in children's sermons or fellowship group lessons. CREATE a GRAND PLAN for approaching all aspects of the Commandments so that you know what your workshops should focus on.
Many of the presentations throughout this program feel like discussion starters. The kids will want to keep moving so the teacher going along with them will want to "pick your spots" for what to visit, what to linger over, and what to skip based on your needs and time.
The program is "about" the Commandments and the concepts of law and obedience. While the opening does cover some of the "story" of God writing the tablets, Aaron and the Golden calf, etc. This program is mostly focused on remembering and understanding the commandments themselves as a living guide and not just a set of stone tablets.
This is a big program which could easily be used several weeks in a row by one class. In the rotation model, you'll likely have one 40 minute lesson to use the program, and thus you'll need to pick & choose your way up the mountain. Thus, this lesson plan has a ONE WEEK suggested path, picking and choosing from among the program's many content areas. The guide to the program suggests multi-week lessons. But let me put in a plug for having your older children/youth do a TWO Week computer workshop with this program. It has plenty of content. The topic is that big. And frankly, the older kids need more of this particular topic than your first graders.
Your kids virtually climb Mt Sinai to the top to see what Moses saw. The hike is through unique 'photobubbles' shot on location ON MT SINAI. Content is entertainingly hidden along the trail and found by moving the mouse. (The guide reveals all). Because it's cool technology that creates a desire to want to explore it all, and because a lot of discussion questions can be bypassed with the click of a mouse, the teacher needs to go on the journey alongside their students, or at least provide a worksheet that guides students to select content and holds them accountable for answering certain questions.
I'm especially proud of the emphasis we placed on the connection between God's Law and Christ/Salvation. You'll see that as you cross "The Chaos Canyon Bridge". The last plank is missing, ...requiring a leap of faith. Nobody is good enough to make it on their own. We need Christ. Those scriptures and ideas appear onscreen. This is why that section is the only one that cannot be bypassed, --author's prerogative ;-)
Some content in the virtual hikes was put there especially for OLDER children and youth. The S.S. "My Way" shipwreck at the bottom of Chaos Canyon is a good example of this. If you're doing a two-week lesson, you can come back to certain content in week two for follow up.
Many of the content presentations can be projected nicely to large groups using an LCD project hooked up to your computer. In addition to large classes, some content projects and fits well with children's worship. I've known pastors who've projected just the top photobubble to illustrate their Mt. Sinai sermons.
Age Range: Younger children and probably some adults! will need help manipulating the photobubbles with the mouse. Some content is not narrated and will need to be read, but this being a discussion creating CD, that means a teacher or helpful older children will be right there. This CD is sophisticated enough for youth and adults.
Some Key Highlights:
- If you're mainly looking for the "Story of the Golden Calf" you'll find it at the very beginning in Mose's Mt. Sinai office. However, the program doesn't dwell on that particular story.
- If you're just looking for games/activities to "learn all ten", click the Ark of the Covenant inside the monastery, click the Ten Scramblements game in the second level, and click Moses' computer in Chapel on top of Mt. Sinai.
- There's a quiz about the Ten Commandments they can take (or bypass). It's on the second level beyond the canyon.
- There are three reflection activities at the top to choose from. (A music video, a guest reflections book, and a Ten C's rephrasing activity.)
A Lesson Plan
Welcome your students and tell them what you hope they will learn today and how they will be learning it!
You'll want to spend a maximum amount of time in the software, especially if you have just one week to use it. Otherwise, you might include a "why do we have rules" and "what happens when we break rules" discussion (or better yet, a demonstration) to kick off the lesson.
Software Lesson Plan "Hike":
- First Level:
Listen to Moses in his office and view his computer presentation on the Golden Calf.
- Click the Camel
- Click the hidden entrance to the monastery and then click the Ark of the Covenant to open it.
Rollover the commandments to hear them.
Click the stained glass and select from one of four video clips. For young children, select "Why Follow?" and "Honor Your Parents". Older children may view all four to discuss if you have time.
- Back outside the monastery, click the grove of trees to go to Chaos Canyon Bridge.
You must view the two signs to see why it's called Chaos Canyon, then proceed across the bridge plank by plank. You cannot skip the Bridge, but you can stop each plank's presentation after it has started if you want to move more quickly. The final plank "Leap of Faith" must be viewed.
Now you have come to the cross which we put between the first and second photobubble. Why did we do that? What relationship does the Cross of Jesus have with the Ten Commandments? Which one saves? Discuss.
(Things skipped so far in this particular lesson plan: the rock near the camel about 'casting the first stone', the Sun hotspot about the Sabbath, one or two video presentations in the monastery, and the canyon shipwreck.)
- 2nd Level: On the trail going up the mountain.
Click and discuss the hotspot on the SUN about "thou shalt not steal" ...and ways people 'steal' from others. Have your students ever thought about that way of thinking of "thou shalt not steal"??
Play the Ten Scramblements Game (click the critter near your feet)
Play the Ten Commandments Quiz (can be skipped if necessary)
(2nd level things skipped in this lesson include the "Idol" billboards and the Great Commandment hotspot)
- Top Level:
These are their reflection activities:
Find the I am Yahweh video hotspot (near the people in their sleeping bags) and after viewing it, do the discussion printed here below.
Alternately, complete the Commandment "Rephrasing" activity found inside the mountaintop chapel. Share your work with the class.
Visit and have each student individually complete the Guestbook after the music video/discussion. Whatever the kids type into the guestbook will be saved on that computer for future students to view. In a lab setting, let them roam between computers to view each other's guestbook entries.
"I Am Yahweh" Music Video STUDY
This song uses the Hebrew word for God's name -'Yahweh". It is often translated as I Am, I Was, I Will Be. Some translations shorten it to "I AM", others to "The Eternal One", and it is the name which God revealed to Moses at the burning bush. It is sometimes spelled "Jehovah." The lyrics of the song play on the similarity between "Yahweh" and "Way" --which is sort of the point!
Lyrics to I Am Yahweh
I am Yahweh
I am, I was, I always will be
I am Yahweh
Come follow me and you will see
Life as it was meant to be
Hear my words and them obey
Start your life, start living it my way....
Interlude of children's voices summarizing the commandments (see below)
And when you're travelin' through dangerous lands
Remember this, I hold you in my hands....
I am Yahweh
Questions for discussion:
- According to Yahweh, what is life meant to be?
- What were some of the words seen in the landscape as you flew over? (Compassion, honor, obey, love, and more) and why were they there? What are they trying to tell you? (those things are Yahweh's "way")
- What were some of the youth voices saying during the video?
(Bring honor to your family, Don't let possessions possess you, Love your Creator) They neatly summarize the Commandments. You might want your students to write them down.
- Why was the cross put in this video? (The author says: "Yahweh's way is not just to follow some good rules. Yahweh brings us to the cross of Jesus, which reveals the full expression of God's way, God's truth, and the Godly life we are to live in forgiveness and joy. Feel free to expand on that!)
- What are some of the "dangerous lands" young people must travel through to follow God?
- In what ways does God "hold us in his hands", as the music said?
A lesson written by Neil MacQueen -- author of the software
and lesson contributor here at rotation.org