During review and renovation of this forum, we saved this lesson as a "storytelling lesson" rather than how it had been classified originally as a "cooking" lesson. Normally, graham cracker houses are one of those "over done" projects, but as a storytelling prop, and given that the story features a house and roof, we thought it was good to save.
Our reviewers suggest that you SPLIT UP the monolog into PARTS for the kids to speak. If you have someone who can play Peter's mother-in-law, however, it might be good! Our reviewers suggest that the script be adapted so that INSTRUCTIONS are included at various points for how to act out the story using their graham cracker house.
In this lesson, the house is constructed, then the scripture (in the form of the story) is shared.
This lesson lacks a well-developed opening and reflection activity.
Man Through the Roof
Graham Cracker House & Storytelling Lesson
Summary of Lesson Activities:
Building a Graham Cracker House to act out the story of the Paralytic who was let down through the roof.
- Graham crackers, vanilla wafers, small and large marshmallows for building materials
- Pretzel sticks, large marshmallows and wafer cookies for beams and supports
- Chocolate frosting mixed with marshmallow cream for mortar or mud
- Fruit roll up for stretcher
- Pretzel sticks for stretcher and doors/windows
- Licorice rope for ropes
- Gummy figures (sour patch kids) or little Elfin cookies for people
- Misc. candy for decoration
- Gather the materials.
- Read the story ahead of time.
Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Tell kids we will be building something so we can act out the story from today. Just like in the story, they will have to work together to make it work. Present them with the materials and tell them they need to build a house, a stretcher, the paralytic, his friends, Jesus and the crowd. Show pictures of houses from the time period and pictures of Capernum today (available on-line from several sources). Remind them that the houses were different than the houses we live in. They were made from rocks and mud to conserve wood for fuel and shipbuilding. Only a few beams of wood would have been used to give support.
Give them a time limit (Shepherds name a time that will leave about 10 minutes at the end of class to act out the story and eat the house). Let the kids decide which materials they should use for what. Encourage them, but let them work though their mistakes and learn to work together. If the group is large, you may want to divide them into 2 groups. This works best with about 4-5 in a group. Stress this is not a competition, however, but recognize the differences in the finished houses.
At the end of building project, have them act out the story AS IT IS BEING READ.
Talk about how Jesus first dealt with the man’s spiritual problems (Your sins are forgiven) then helped with his physical problems (Take up your mat and walk). Then ask if they would help one of their friends if they needed. Discuss what they could do to help their friends with their spiritual problems as well as physical problems. Then, they may eat their creation.
Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
Script for Story Tent character:
Miracles of Jesus: Story Tent Monologue grades 1-5
I want to tell you about a miraculous thing that happened at my house one day. I am the mother-in-law of a man named Peter. You may have heard of him. He is pretty famous in our part of the world because he is a disciple of a man called Jesus. Now our village of Capernum is not very large. We all live in houses made of mud bricks with flat roofs that we use as patio when the weather is nice. One day Jesus actually came to stay in our little village! And he was going to stay at MY HOUSE!
Now Jesus had only been teaching for a short time, but we had already heard stories of miraculous things that he had done. My son-in-law Peter told me of the night Jesus called him and his fisherman friends to be disciples. They had been fishing all night long, and hadn’t caught even one fish. They had given up, and were putting away their nets, when Jesus walked up to them and told them to go back out and throw out their nets one more time. So they tried one more time, and miraculously, in moments their nets were about to break because they were so full of fish. They filled up their little boat and had to call their friends to come with another boat to help them bring in the fish. Peter was so amazed he fell down on his knees and worshipped Jesus and then they left everything behind and became disciples or faithful followers of Jesus.
After that time, we kept hearing stories about Jesus’ miracles. We heard how Jesus turned 6 huge stone jars full of plain water into wine, when the bridegroom ran out of wine. He also healed a man who had leprosy, which is just about the worst disease you can have, because you can’t even live in town or touch anyone because it is contagious. He even healed me of a terrible fever when people thought I might die. Well, Jesus walked in the house, and just held my hand, and I was well instantly. I was so happy; I got up and made them dinner!
But I can see I’m getting off the subject. I want to tell you about the night at my house in Capernum. See, Jesus had come to visit, and everyone wanted to be near him and touch him, and hear him speak. Well that night after dinner, Jesus began to preach. Word spread throughout the village and soon my poor house was packed with people. There must have been 40 people there in there! Even more people were outside, pushing to get in or straining to hear by the windows. They wouldn’t let anyone else in to the house! Now I didn’t know at the time, but that poor paralyzed boy from 3 doors down was trying to get in to see Jesus. Well, I guess he isn’t a boy anymore, he’s a man now, but I’ve known him since he was your age. He believed that Jesus could heal him. Poor thing, he wasn’t even allowed to go into the synagogue because the Pharisees, the men who ran the synagogue, believed that he was paralyzed because he was a sinner. Well this poor boy had that group of friends that he grew up with and they always helped him do things, so they put him on a mat and tried to push their way into the house. Well, no one was going to give up their spot, so they just pushed them back out!
Well, then his friends had an idea. Those boys always were getting into mischief like that, so they went up the stairs to the roof. The boys grabbed some tools my husband had left out and started digging into the clay roof right over where Jesus was! Now, everyone was concentrating on what Jesus was saying, so for a long time, we didn’t even notice what was happening, until chunks of roof started falling down on us! They had tied ropes to the poor paralyzed boy’s mat and were lowering him down through the roof. I was so worried at first. The ceilings in our houses are high to let the heat out, so a fall off that mat could have killed him! But he didn’t even seem worried. He was staring a Jesus with this peaceful look on his face. He knew that he was in the presence of God!
When he got to Jesus, he didn’t even have to ask; Jesus knew his faith, and said to him, “Your sins are forgiven.” Now you could have heard a pin drop. Everyone was waiting to see what the Pharisees would say, because only God could forgive sins. We knew that they were thinking that Jesus was blaspheming, or saying that he was God.
Jesus read their minds too and said, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority of earth to forgive sins….” He said to the boy, ”I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” And then, HE DID!!!!!! He just got up, picked up his mat and walked out of the house. The people made a path for him; they were all so stunned.
Now this was no trick, I have known this boy since he was a tiny little thing, and he had never walked in his life. We all jumped to our feet and praised God, it was so amazing.
Now that is a night I will never forget. Jesus went on to do even more miracles, feeding 5000 men, bringing people back from the dead, but nothing will ever amaze me more that Jesus healing that poor paralyzed boy, because I see him all the time. He still lives 3 doors down, goes to synagogue, and has a job now. But he and his friends will never stop praising Jesus and telling people about that miraculous night. I neither will I.
End with a prayer.
A lesson written by Teri Smith for Lake Highlands Baptist
Sulphur Springs, TX
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.
Moderator adds: Below photo is from Janice Loeb of St. Andrew's Presbyterian, Lindsay, ON, where they built their houses out of premade gingerbread walls. This is a lot more work as she made the gingerbread pieces in advance, but thought you'd enjoy the photo.
- Pretzels 5 pieces per child (ladder)
- 5 Teddy Grahams per child (people)
- Icing (to hold it all together)
- Sprinkles Green (Roof) and Brown (Ground)
- 4 wooden skewers (beams for roof)
- Gingerbread pre-made walls (3 walls-2 with holes for skewers, 1 roof, 1 wall door/window, 1 floor)
- Gingerbread base (styrafoam or cardboard covered cake circle from bulk barn)
- Spearmint Jelly Leaves
- Bushes – marshmellow mushroom candies
- White Chocolate rocks for pathway
- Red Licorice ropes
- Fruit Roll-up for mat