The Ten Commandments
Summary of Lesson Activities:
The children will discuss and learn the Ten Commandments, as they perform several different experiments, reinforcing the laws given to us by God.
- Go over the scripture and background materials.
- Gather the supplies.
- Nice-sized rock
- flat cookie sheet
- several cups or bowls
- a pitcher of water
- red food coloring
- pepper and other dark-colored spices
- and liquid soap
- Overhead projector
- two plastic transparency sheets
- a permanent marker
- a magnet or magnet wand
- and iron filings.
Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introductions:
Begin by welcoming the students to your class. Explain that you will be studying the laws given to us by God, called the Ten Commandments. You will be using 3 different experiments to prove the points that we need laws to guide our lives, and we need to trust God to be our source of guidance.
Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
Ask one or more students to read aloud the scripture from Deuteronomy 5:1-22.
Then say: Let's talk today about laws. Laws are set up for our good. They help protect us. For instance, the law says people can't break into other people's houses. If they do, and if they get caught, they go to jail. Jail is for people who break the law.
We have laws out on the streets. They are for our good. One of these laws is the speed limit, so folks won't drive too fast. Another law on the street is a stop sign. Everyone can't drive through intersections at the same time. There would be accidents.
Do you know there are laws of physics, too? Physics is an area of study in science. It's really cool. One of the laws of physics says that all things have an attraction for each other. This attraction is called gravity.
Experiment #1 Gravity
Now, the biggest thing around here is the earth, so the earth has the most gravity. That's why, when something is let go it falls down, not up. I have a penny and a rock here. If I were to drop them both at the same time onto this cookie sheet, which one do you think would hit first?
What's the best way to find out? Right! Let's drop them. Watch and listen closely. Here goes. What happened? That's right, they hit at the same time.
That's what the law of gravity says: all things are pulled down equally. You can't break that law. (Allow the opportunity for one or more of the students to try this experiment, if desired).
Did you know that there are laws in the Bible, too? Just like the speed limit, and gravity, these laws are there and aren't to be broken. As we read from Deuteronomy 5, the Old Testament of the Bible is filled with different laws. When Jesus came, he taught that all those laws could be summed up in two laws: love God with all your heart and love other people as much as you love yourself. Remember the "Great Commandment you studied in September here in Sunday school? If we love God and we love other people, we will be obeying God's laws. God made the law of gravity, and it can't be broken, but God doesn't make us obey his laws. We don't have to do what the Bible tells us, but he wants us to choose to love him and obey him because he loves us and knows what is best for us.
Experiment #2 - Water Surface Tension Experiement
Now let's switch gears a little bit and try a different kind of experiment. How many of you know a bit about the story of Moses, and how he was called to lead God's people out of Egypt? (Responses) Let me tell you about the great trust that Moses had in God, and how that trust helped to set the people of Israel free from slavery in Egypt. Read aloud for the students the scripture found in Exodus 14:1-31. Then have your students gather around the newspaper and say: The Israelites really needed a safe way to cross the Red Sea. They couldn't do it without God's help.
- Pour water into one of the cups, and add red food coloring to the water. Then sprinkle pepper on top of the water.
- Let the students try to use their fingers or their breath to make a clear area in the bowl.
- After the children try several techniques, say: The Israelites needed God's help, and it looked like we need some help, too. Put a small drop of liquid soap on each child's finger, and have the children touch the water again.
- What happened when you put your soapy finger in the water?
- How did it feel when the pepper spread away?
- How do you think the Israelites felt when the Red Sea parted for them?
Fill other bowls with water, and let kids try the same experiment with other spices.
- Do you always get the same results?
- Why do the spices move away from your finger when it has soap on it and not when it's clean?
Say: Water molecules are very attracted to each other, and they create a strong bond with each other. The spices we put in the bowls floated on top of the water's bond. Soap weakens the water molecules' bond with each other; when the bond is weakened, the spices move with the water. The soap in this experiment is kind of like God's power when he parted the Red Sea. God can do anything; we just need to trust him.
Read aloud Exodus 14:31, and ask:
- How did the Israelites respond when God parted the Red Sea?
- Do you think God will be there to help you if you need help?
- What is something God could help you do?
- How can you get help from God during this next week?
Say: When you see God's power displayed in the world around you, it can help you to know that you can trust God with everything in your life and he will take care of you.
Experiment #3: Transparency Magnet Maze
Now let's try one more experiment. (Have one student read Psalm 16:11), then say: It isn't always easy to know what to do, but God has promised always to show us the right way to go. This experiment is a fun way to help us see that God can guide us through every day!
Have the students gather around the overhead projector. Place one transparency sheet on the overhead projector, and draw a straight pathway and a simple maze design on the transparency sheet with the permanent marker. Then sprinkle a few iron filings onto the sheet. Lay another plastic transparency sheet on top, and turn on the overhead projector light.
Say: Watch! I can guide these iron filings through the maze. Demonstrate how to do this, drawing the magnet through the maze along the top transparency sheet.
- What is happening?
- Why are the iron filings moving?
Say: I am using a magnet to move the iron filings. Magnets attract or are attracted to other metals such as iron, steel nickel, and cobalt. Magnetism is such a strong force that it can even work through such materials such as plastic.
Just like this maze zigs and zags, sometimes you may feel like your life doesn't have a very clear direction.
- Can you think of a time that it seemed like your life was zigging or zagging? Explain.
Now move the iron filings to the straight path, and use the magnet to move them along in a straight line. Say: Other times, you may feel like your traveling on a straight path.
- Can you think of a time your life felt like a straight, easy path? Explain.
Say: Just as the magnet moved the iron filings down the maze and down the straight path, God is working in our lives no matter what. Whether you feel like your life is a maze or an easy path, you can know that God, like the magnet, will guide you always.
Let's close with a prayer….
Dear God, we are thankful that you have given us rules to live by so that we know what you want us to do. Help us to always be able to ask for forgiveness when we don't obey. Help us to remember your laws and to obey them. And all God's children said…AMEN!
A lesson from Augustana Lutheran Church
St. James, MN
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