Summary of Lesson Activities:
Play games to help children learn Psalm 100 – set up an obstacle course to be driven by remote control cars.
For scripture and objectives, see above.
- Read the scripture for this lesson.
- Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
- Gather the materials.
- A variety of Bibles: NRSV, CEV, NIV, TEV, and MSG (for older students)
- One purple Adventure Bible with tabs (Law, History, etc.)
- Remote control cars, with their controllers (at least two)
- Extra batteries
- Copy paper (8.5 x 11")
Before Start of Class:
- Fold the paper in half lengthwise. Write the psalm in large letters on one half of the paper, breaking the psalm into portions. Example: Shout for joy/ to the LORD/ all the earth/ etc. (You are making little tents.) Make two copies.
Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to the Games Workshop. Introduce yourself and any other adults. Pass around a basket to collect any offering.
[Note: The Shepherd will be quietly taking care of attendance, etc. while you are starting your lesson.]
Say: Let’s begin with prayer. Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Be prepared to say a prayer yourself, working in prayer requests. A suggestion: “Dear God, we are thankful to be here to learn about your word. Help us today to listen, to participate, and to rejoice. Amen.”
Say: Today we are learning Psalm 100. This psalm includes the line: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise.” Because this is the beginning of a new school year, lets take a few moments to learn each other’s names by using that line from the psalm. [For 1st grade shorten this to just “Enter his gates with thanksgiving.”]
Instruct each person to think of something they would want to be thankful for. Have each person say their name and “I'm going to enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise, and I'm going to bring _______ in thanksgiving.” For example, someone might bring good health or another my family (repeats are ok).
Say: Now you know part of Psalm 100! “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise.” Let’s hear the rest of the psalm.
Dig- Main Content and Reflection:
For 1st and 2nd graders:
Hold the purple Adventure Bible.
Say: The Bible is our guide for how we should live. That's why it is important to read and study the Bible. Today I will read to you from the Old Testament of the Bible. These are words that Jesus would have heard when he was your age. I will read from the book of Psalms. Today we are learning Psalm 100.
Slowly read Psalm 100.
3rd grade and up:
Distribute Bibles. [Make sure that students have different versions of Bibles – at least one person with a CEV, one with an NIV, etc.]
Say: Today we are studying Psalm 100. The psalms were written many years before Jesus was born.
Ask: Where do you suppose would we find this book in the Bible? (old testament) Will someone explain why the Bible is divided into two testaments? (New Testament was written after Jesus was on earth; the Old Testament is the Hebrew Bible that Jesus learned when he was a child)
Say: It’s easy to find the book of Psalms. If you open your Bible about in the middle you will probably open it right at the book of Psalms, or very close.
Help the children locate Psalm 100 in their Bibles.
Say: Besides being divided into two testaments, the 66 books in the Bible are further divided into collections. We say that the book of Psalms is part of a collection of Bible books called “Poetry”. Poetry books include: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs.
Say: If you have your own Bible today, be sure you receive a tab for the poetry section of your Bible. [Show the classroom Bible with tabs.]
Have students take turns reading out loud, Psalm 100.
Ask: Did you notice when we were reading Psalm 100 that sometimes the words in your Bible were different than what someone else was reading?
What language was the Bible originally written in? (Hebrew, Greek, some Aramaic)
Say: There are many different versions of the Bible. Some (like NRSV & NIV) are translations written to stick as closely as possible to the original Hebrew and Greek words. Other translations (like TEV & CEV) stay close to the ideas expressed but don’t always follow the exact original wording or word order. Paraphrases (like the Message) reword scripture into everyday language with a goal of ease of understanding. You can read different versions of the Bible on the Internet.
For all students:
Say: This psalm is telling us how and why we worship God. Psalm 100 is in fact a collection of commands.
Ask: Did anyone hear any commands in this psalm?
Guide the students to see that we are instructed to: [from an NIV Bible]
- Shout for joy
- Worship the Lord
- Come before him
- Know that the LORD is God
- Enter his gates
- Give thanks
- and Praise his name
Ask: How do you suppose the psalmist is feeling as he writes these words?
What is his emotion?
Have you ever had a similar emotion or feeling?
Say: There is a challenge during this Rotation to see who can learn Psalm 100 – not to memorize it like you would learn facts for a test; this is a different sort of learning. We say we are keeping God’s word in our heart. There may come a time when you are feeling low, like you’re nobody special, and then from your heart come the words from Psalm 100: “we are his people, the sheep of his pasture”. And you’ll say, oh, yeah – I am God’s sheep. God is taking care of me! Let’s play a game that will help us to learn Psalm 100.
Play the Game
Set out the folded paper sheets. Start with just the three papers that include the first verse: “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.” Set them up a distance away from each other. (See page 7).
Instruct the students to use the remote control car to try to run over (or knock into) the pieces of paper – in order! As the student drives into the sheets of paper, instruct the whole class to say the words of the verse. Give everyone a chance to try driving the “obstacle course.” As each person drives the course, the entire class says the verse.
When you deem it appropriate, add the next verses and/or add another car and papers, separating the class into two groups. [Have the Shepherd stay with the other group to lead the reading of the verses out loud.]
Alternative game: have the two teams race their cars against each other.
As you add the various verses make the following comments/questions:
- Worship the LORD with gladness:
Ask: What does worshipping the Lord with gladness look like?
What is worship?
Say: This psalm was originally written in Hebrew. The Hebrew word used for “worship” means to work or to serve. We might think of the word worship as what happens for an hour once a week, but in reality this word worship includes what we may do at any time – experiencing joy in serving the Lord.
- Come before him with joyful songs:
Ask: Why do we come before God with joyful songs?
- We are his people, the sheep of his pasture:
Say: We are told in this psalm that God is our creator and that we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Sheep easily get lost. Admitting that God is our shepherd means acknowledging our weakness. God is in charge, not us.
- Enter his gates with thanksgiving:
Ask: How often do we try to enter God's gates with demands, or complaints, or something other than glad worship?
Say: When we figure out that God is our creator and our shepherd, then we are invited to step into his presence. We do so, entering our worship with praise and gladness, our joy bubbling out of us in shouts. For we recognize that we serve a God who is good, shows us enduring love and is perpetually faithful.
- Corey UMC. Posting at rotation.org: Obstacle course idea with remote control cars. Oct. 20, 2003. https://www.rotation.org/topic...0#295011598215931940
- Wezeman, Phyllis. “Psalm 100: Teaching Suggestions.” (idea for opening name game)
- Scripture quoted is taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
A lesson written by Carol Hulbert from: First UMC
Ann Arbor, MI
If you use this material, even in a modified form, please include the following reference:
Hulbert,Carol. “Psalm 100: Games Workshop." August 2006. Place URL where lesson found inside angle brackets<>.
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.