Editor's Note: Carol wrote this lesson based on an earlier lesson by Amy Crane (attached below). In 2016, Carol, Amy, and Neil significantly improved this lesson and posted it as part of the Writing Team's Beatitude's Lesson Set (open to supporting members). In addition to tweaking the game, they modified most of the questions so they weren't just "look it up." Supporting Members can see that new Games Workshop in The Beatitudes lesson set. See the attachment for Amy's original game questions which Carol's lesson below references.
Summary of Lesson Activities:
Explore how to live as Jesus taught while playing a Beatitudes life-sized board game. [Note: 1st – 2nd graders visited this workshop. 3rd graders will go to a special Bible class on the week they would have visited this workshop.]
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.
- Life-sized game board – canvas tarp with painted spaces (4 colors)
- Game wheel (with corresponding 4 colors)
- A large piece of fabric to cover the game wheel
- Game questions (See the attached PDF of Amy's Original Lesson & Questions)
- Story Bible: The Big Book About Jesus; one purple Adventure Bible
Before Start of Class:
- Listen to the provided MP3 file of the songs for this Rotation. Decide which song to incorporate into this lesson as a closing.
- Sort through the game questions and note any that are inappropriate for the class you will have (too easy or too hard).
- Cover the game wheel so it won’t distract the students during storytelling.
Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Gather students sitting in a circle on the carpet. Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to the Games Workshop. Introduce yourself and any other adults.
[Note: The Shepherd will be taking care of attendance/name tags while you are starting your lesson.]
Say: I would like to go around the circle and have everyone say their name and one thing that makes you happy.
Allow all to respond. [Passing is ok if they can’t think of anything. You don’t want this to take too long!]
Say: Thank you for sharing with us what makes you happy.
- Ask: Do any of the things you listed provide long-lasting happiness or do they only provide happiness for a little while? (accept a few answers)
Say: Today we will learn more about Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon on the Mount includes a collection of Jesus’ teachings called “the Beatitudes.” Jesus gave us the Beatitudes as “keys” to how we should live. We can think of the Beatitudes as being keys that open the doors to long-lasting happiness.
- Ask: Does anyone know where Jesus taught the Beatitudes?
Say: Jesus taught the Beatitudes while sitting on the side of a mountain. That’s why it’s called the Sermon on the Mount. In Bible-times disciples were people who hung out with Jesus. They learned from Jesus and they tried to be like Jesus. Later they taught others about what they’d learned.
- Ask: Do you suppose that today we can be disciples of Jesus?
Can we learn from Jesus and try to be like him and try to teach others?
Say: Yes! We can be Jesus’ disciples! It’s part of why we come to church – to learn about Jesus so we can be his disciples. Before we learn about the Beatitudes, let’s have a time of prayer.
Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Use the Lord’s Prayer as the ending. [You may ask one or two students to lead the Lord’s Prayer.] A suggestion: “Dear God, Thank you for this day and for everyone who is here today. We ask that you help us learn about you and how you would have us live as your disciples. (End with the Lord’s Prayer) Amen.”
Dig- Main Content and Reflection:
- Ask: If we want to read something that Jesus said, where would we find it – in the Old Testament or the New Testament of the Bible? (new)
- Ask: Who can tell me the first four books of the New Testament?
We have a name for what we call these first four books of the New Testament. Can anyone tell me what that name is? (the Gospels)
Say: The word Gospel means “good news.” These first four books of the New Testament tell the story of the good news about Jesus. Our story can be found in the Gospel of Matthew.
Show them the picture for story # 8 (“Jesus’ Famous Sayings" in the book, The Big Book About Jesus.
Say: Here is a picture of Jesus teaching the people and his disciples. Jesus told the people eight Beatitudes. [You could count off the eight speech balloons in this picture.] Listen while I read the Beatitudes from a Bible. Listen carefully because we’ll be playing a game where I will be asking you questions about our Bible passage.
Read Matthew 5:3-10 from a purple Adventure Bible.
Say: For the Word of God in scripture, for the Word of God among us, for the Word of God within us…
The class says: Thanks be to God!
Say: We say those words in the worship service after the scripture is read.
Play the Game:
Lay out the canvas game boards. Have everyone take off his/her shoes.
Explain that students will work in teams to move across the game board – squeezing onto spaces as needed. The object of the game is not to be first to reach the end, but for all teams to reach the end, or to get as far as time permits, and to have fun doing it.
Ask the Shepherd to help you divide the class into teams of 2 or 3 players each. [Preferably in 2’s but 3 is ok if needed]. Have the team with the person whose birthday is this month, go first. [Remind everyone that the meek - those not judged by the world’s standards to be strong and powerful – will inherit the earth.]
One member of a team spins the wheel. While the wheel is spinning, ask the question of the team. All the people on a team should confer/work on an answer. Checking Bibles is OK! (for readers) Remind the children that only the team in play should be talking. You might just ask the same question a second time so everyone should listen carefully. Take time for discussion! If the team answers correctly they get to move to the next space that is the color that was spun. Note: it is OK to start groups of kids from different ends of the game board.
Stop the game so as to allow enough time for “closing”.
Have the children sing one of the two songs… Note: words to songs can not be included here due to copyright reasons. The songs were: Song of Hope, a Schutmaat/Argentinian Folk Melody and Go Now in Peace by Natalie Sleeth.
Say: Living as Jesus taught is hard! When we live as Jesus taught us to live – when we live the Beatitudes – we receive God’s blessings. Jesus loves you! Living the Beatitudes makes the world a better place and we receive that long-lasting happiness that Jesus spoke about!
If you have extra time:
Ask more game questions.
A lesson written by Carol Hulbert for First United Methodist Church Ann Arbor, MI based on Amy Crane's original Game Lesson found attached to this one!
Copyright 2009 First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI.
Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material
If you use this material, even in a modified form, please include the following reference:
Hulbert, Carol. "The Beatitudes: Games Lesson." Sept. 2009. Place URL where lesson found inside angle brackets<>.
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