Joseph and His Brothers
Summary of Lesson Activities:
The children will play a game to help them learn the story of Joseph and apply the lessons of the story to their own lives.
Genesis 37, 39
At the end of the session, the students will:
- know God’s Spirit can help them be faithful.
- Read the scripture passages and lesson plan and attend the Bible Study, ...
- Prepare a closing prayer.
- Learn the memory verse.
- Consider the age level adjustments needed each week (those included in the lesson plan and your own). Confer with the Shepherd on “Stretchers” to use, especially with the youngest children.
- To our teachers at RCC: The design of this workshop is very intentional. The activities and discussion questions for this workshop were designed to meet the goals of the entire rotation and the educational objectives of the Rotation Model (tm) at River Community Church. While we feel it is important to follow the serendipitous leading of the Holy Spirit, please do not change the lesson plan without consulting a Curriculum Planning and Writing Team member.
- Check out the room before your first Sunday workshop so that you know where everything is located.
- The bin with supplies is located in the Sunday School room. Purchase or request additional supplies from -- by January 24.
- Prepare cards for memory verse activity.
An overhead projector and screen need to be set-up so all the children can see the puzzles. The children can sit on the floor.
- Game spinner (with three divisions: Bible, Life, and Wild Card)
- Overhead projector
- Transparency sheets and transparency marking pens
- Minute timer
- List of game questions (See resources list at end of lesson)
- Puzzle handouts for K-1st
- God’s Story by Karyn Henley
- Two paper bags
- Index cards or strips of paper
- For extra game for younger children: multicolored crepe paper streamers, a coat or man’s shirt, spring-hinged clothespins (at least one for each child).
- Memento: stickers (maybe hearts for God’s constant, faithful love)
- Shepherd Time: blank paper, lined or plain
Opening-Welcome and Introductions:
Greet the children and introduce yourself. Wear your name-tag. (Remember, you are interacting with a different group of students each week who may not know you.) Make sure the children are wearing name-tags.
We had an opening prayer during the gathering time, but you may open with prayer if you feel led to do so.
Explain the purpose of this workshop: Today we are going to play a game similar to the Wheel of Fortune to help you remember the story of Joseph and learn that God’s Spirit can help you be faithful.
Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
Instruct the children to open their Bibles to Genesis 37 and tell them that this is where the Bible story is located. As the children begin to look up the passage, tell them that the Bible is divided into two parts, the Old and New Testaments. Also tell them that Genesis is the first book of the Bible and the first book of the Old Testament. [We restate information about Bible organization in each workshop to be sensitive to visitors and new children in the class who may not have any knowledge of the Bible. We never want a child to feel like they do not belong because they do not know this information before they come to class.]
After locating the passage, have the children close their Bibles and put them away. Tell them that because the Bible passage is such a long passage for this lesson you will be reading a version of the Bible story from a Bible story book that makes the story easier to listen to. When the children hear the word “brothers” they will say “Mumble, mumble, mumble” as if they are angry.
Read the story from God’s Story, by Karyn Henley. [Note: This paraphrase of the Bible story refers to Joseph’s brothers, but does not tell the reader that Joseph had 11 brothers. Also, this paraphrase refers to Potiphar as the captain of the king’s guard, but does not give his name. Include these two pieces of information when you read the story. There are questions about this information in the game.]
With game show enthusiasm, explain that this activity is called “Wheel of Misfortune.” Divide the class into two groups. The game is played like hangman, except players must answer a question related to the story or life application or do an activity in order to choose a letter.
Choose a group to begin and have a group member come up and spin the spinner. If the spinner lands on ‘Bible,’ the group must answer a question from Bible category. (Allow the children to use their Bibles to find the answers to the questions, if needed.) If the spinner lands on ‘Life,’ the group must answer a question from the Life category. If it lands on ‘Wild Card,’ all of the group members must do what the Wild Card instructions say (from the Wild Card List).
Make sure the children answer questions and choose letters as a group (help them to agree, if necessary) so no one is singled out or left out.
If the group correctly answers the question or follows the Wild Card instructions, then they may guess a letter for the puzzle. If they guess a letter that is in the puzzle, write the letter in the correct blank(s) on the transparency. If the group guesses a letter that is not in the puzzle, list it on the side or bottom of the transparency to remind the groups of the letters already guessed.
The next group then has a turn to spin the spinner and answer a question. Continue in this manner until all the letters of the puzzles have been filled in and the phrase is revealed. Do not allow anyone to guess the phrase ahead of time. Once they know the phrase they can choose letters more accurately, but the point is to review all the Joseph story questions, not to figure out the phrase first. Each turn consists of a spin, answering the question, picking a letter (unless the question is answered incorrectly), and trying to solve the puzzle. A timer might help to move the game along. Repeat questions or write more if necessary.
Phrases used (add more if necessary):
God is always with me.
I can talk to God.
God is my faithful friend.
Joseph is one of Jacob’s twelve sons.
FIELD TEST NOTE: The older children became bored once they knew the answer if they had to keep saying letters until all the letters were filled in. So let them say what it is when they know it and have plenty of transparencies with phrases related to the story prepared.
Pulling it all together (closing discussion):
(Adapted from God’s Story and Me by Karyn Henley)
When Joseph was living in Egypt he was very far away from home. He didn’t have his father or mother to tell him what to do. The people in Egypt did not believe in God. There was no one around Joseph to tell him to obey God or to do what was right.
I wonder why Joseph might have been tempted to disobey God?
Did Joseph obey God and do what was right anyway?
Joseph knew God and knew God’s rules. Joseph didn’t turn away from God. No matter what happened, people could trust Joseph to do what God said was right. Joseph was faithful.
Review the memory verse
Before playing the memory verse game, make sure the children understand what the Bible verse means. Make sure they understand the words faithful, covenant, and generations.
Divide the class into two groups (change the groups from the earlier game). Divide the Bible verse into several parts (more for the older children and less for the younger children) and write the parts on strips of paper. Place the strips of paper in a paper bag. Make two sets of the Bible verse. On “GO” the first player of each group runs to the bag and pulls out one of the parts of the verse. The player carries it back to his group and puts it on the floor in front of them. He tags the next player in line who runs to the bag, pulls out another part of the verse, and places it in the correct order in relation to the first card. He tags the third player and the relay continues until each group has the verse in order in front of them. The group that has the verse complete and in order first reads the verse.
Repeat the game as time and interest permit. Or ask for volunteers to stand up and say the memory verse by themselves.
By 11:45 a.m. ask the Shepherd to pass out the journal pages and pencils/markers. Suggestion: You may wish to give the children a sticker or some memento to paste in their journal as a reminder of the story or activity.
Younger: Draw a picture of a time when you did something the way God wants you to even though no one was around to remind you to obey God.
Older: Write a prayer telling God about a situation where it is hard to obey Him and ask Him for help in being faithful.
This is meant to be a time of reflection and introspection. Writing about faith helps clarify lessons. In addition to the suggested activity, children may draw pictures relating to today’s scripture or memory verse, list highlights of the day’s activities, or rephrase the memory verse. The journal pages will be saved and given to the children at the end of the school year.
You may want to provide an extra activity or worksheet for children who finish their journals quickly, such as coloring sheets, crossword puzzles, word searches, games. See the Teachers’ Background Notes and rotation.org for ideas.
Before noon, ask the students to stop journaling for a moment and sit quietly for prayer so they can leave when their parents arrive. Allow them to finish journaling afterwards.
Ask God to help the children be faithful to Him no matter where they are or what has happened to them.
Tidy and Dismissal:
Ask children to help tidy the room. Give any specific instructions for clearing the workshop room.
Collect the journal pages before they leave. Make sure their names and the date are on them.
Give everyone the parent take-home flyer the first week of the rotation; give it only to children who were absent and have not yet received it the other weeks of the rotation.
You will need to decide how best to adjust the lesson for older and younger students. Keep the children active and involved in activity. Do what works for you and the children. Some ideas, in addition to the suggestions in the lesson plan:
add more phrases to solve.
if more questions are needed, review the memory verses from the past year. For example, give half of one of the verses and the citation and have them finish the verse. (They may use their Bibles to look up the verse, if they wish.)
Fill in some of the letters of the puzzle so the children do not have to guess as many letters. You may also want to give the children a handout of the puzzle to they can try filling in letters to decide in advance what letters they would like to guess when it is their team’s turn.
assign the Workshop Leader and Shepherd to be readers for each group in the memory verse game.
add an extra game if interest in the Wheel of Fortune game dwindles: “The Beautiful Coat,” adapted from Bible Story Games for Preschoolers.
Have the children sit in a semicircle with the crepe-paper streamers and clothespins in the center and the coat (or shirt) a few feet away. Say, “Joseph’s brothers were jealous because they did not have a beautiful coat to wear. But today each of you will have a chance to wear a beautiful coat that we are going to decorate!”
Have each child hold out a fist and tap each child as you say this counting-out rhyme:
Decorate the coat
On the floor!
Let the child whose fist is tapped on the last line select a piece of crepe paper and use the clothespin to attach it to the coat. (Help with the clothespins, if necessary.) Have the child sit down, but do not include his or her fist in the counting-out rhyme. Children can repeat the rhyme with you until each child has had a turn to decorate the coat.
Then start over with all fists in for a new counting-out rhyme:
Help the child whose fist is tapped on the last line put on the decorated coat and model it for the group. Lead the children in admiring the beautiful coat as each child models it after being selected with the counting-out rhyme.
- Henley, Karyn. God’s Story: The Bible Told As One Story. Wheaton, Illiniois: Tyndale House Publishers, 1998.
- Henley, Karyn. God’s Story and Me. Wheaton, Illiniois: Tyndale House Publishers, 1998.
- Live the Adventure: Discovering God Is Everything I Need: Promiseland Summer Event. Willow Creek Association, 1999. Exchange Volunteer notes: This resource appears to no longer be available. It was the source for the game questions. As an alternative, use the Game Questions in this lesson (located on this site). For the "Bible" category use the "Just the Facts Questions." (You can easily write more questions like this). For the "Life" category use "Open Ended Life Application Questions." And for the "Wild Card" use any of the other questions.
- Niles, Lori Haynes, editor. Bible Story Games for Preschoolers. Loveland, Colorado: Group: 1998.
This lesson was written by Jamie Senyard for River Community Church.
Copyright 2003 Jamie Senyard. Permission granted to freely distribute and use, provided the copyright message is included.
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability and fix broken links.