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Jesus Calms the Storm

Science/Demonstration Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Through science experiments children will discover more about storms on the Sea of Galilee and storms in their own lives.

Lesson Objectives: Throughout the four-week unit, children will be helped to

  • Retell the story of Jesus calming the storm
  • Explore why the disciples were afraid
  • Identify with the disciples in the “storms” of their own lives
  • Recall the qualities of God and God’s faithfulness to us in all situations
  • Discuss and choose ways they will call on Jesus when they need help

Supplies:

  • Eight verse cards from the story, made in advance
  • Eight scene photos from the group’s Drama/Video Making workshop (note: first group of the rotation will not have these photos)
  • Large mixing bowl filled ¾ of the way with water, or a baby pool for more impressive effect!
  • Small toy boat
  • Large spoon
  • Office swivel chair, 2 heavy but soft objects, such as a bag of 5 baking potatos. (Why? Because if the kids let go of the bag it won't kill somebody!)

Note about science experiments:
Practice, practice, practice … the experiments at home before Sunday morning! While a flopped experiment is not the desired effect, always remember you can bring it back around to reminding the children that life often doesn’t go the way we hope or expect, but through it all, Jesus is with us!



Presentation

Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Welcome the children warmly to the Science and Game Cove. Introduce yourself. Ask if there are any budding scientists among you this morning! Very briefly tell how you use science in your career.

In advance, the story will be divided up and printed on eight note cards for you. You will also have available the eight photos of the scenes the group created in the drama/video making workshop. Have the kids work together and match the text with the photos and then put the story in the correct order. Read together the Scripture passage in Mark to determine if they have it correct.

Point out the large map in the workshop and ask the children to locate the Sea of Galilee. Mention these facts about it: 13 miles long, 7 miles wide, and 150 feet deep. Let kids do some comparing of what else might be that long, wide and deep.

13 miles – from your hometown to ____
150 feet deep/high – Statue of Liberty

Dig-Main Content and Reflection:

Experiment #1: Waves on the Sea of Galilee

Have kids sit in a large circle and bring out the large but bowl of water. Place the toy boat in the water. (You may want to scale this up by using a kiddie pool for more dramatic effect.

Let kids know that the Sea of Galilee is shaped like a large mixing bowl with mountains around the edges. The winds that come in over the mountains hit the water and can cause large waves to come up quickly on the sea even in clear weather when it’s least expected. Waves bounced back and forth from shore to shore until the water is whipped into turmoil.

Demonstrate by using a spoon to gently stir the water next to one edge of the bowl. (Or by having students place their hands in ONE end of the pool and slowly moving their hands back and forth). 

Tell them that this is much like the effect the winds have on the Sea of Galilee. Ramp up the wave action until the boat is being tossed to and fro. Talk about being disciples on that bouncing boat.  Discuss why the disciples would be afraid and why they might not have trusted Jesus.

Experiment #2: Paper Clip Float

  1. Drop a paper clip in a cup of water. What happens?
  2. Tear off a piece of paper towel that is slightly larger than the paper clip.
  3. Place the piece of paper towel on top of the water.
  4. Gently place another paper clip on the piece of paper towel. Wait a few seconds. Now what happens?

Explanation: If you drop a paper clip in water, the paper clip sinks. But if you put the paper clip on a piece of paper towel after about 30-45 seconds the paper towel sinks and the paper clip floats. This is because water particles are attracted to each other in all directions, making them "stick" together. However, because there are no water particles above them, the water particles at the surface "stick" only to particles next to and below them. This makes the surface act as if it had a thin "skin". This is called surface tension. The paper towel helps you to lower the paper clip onto the surface gently without breaking the surface tension.
Comparing:
Do you ever feel like the first paper clip – “sunk” when there’s trouble or a problem?
If you’re the second paper clip and the paper towel is Jesus, how does Jesus keep you “afloat”?

Experiment #3: Momentum Machine (Be careful!!)

Put the office chair in the center of the room. Have the adult “shepherd” demonstrate momentum by sitting in the chair with their feet up off the floor. Place a brick in each of their hands with their arms outstretched to each side. Slowly start rotating the person in the chair, then let go and move away. Have the shepherd quickly pull their arms in toward them and they should rotate much faster. If they extend their arms back out they will go slower.

Explanation: http://www.exploratorium.edu/snacks/momentum_machine/

Comparing:
Invite the kids who would like to one at a time to sit in the chair. At these stages ask them the following questions that they can answer aloud or silently:

  1. Sit in the chair: Think about the disciples in the boat in the storm
  2. Put a Heavy but Soft object in each of their outstretched hands: Think of a problem or storm you face right now in your life, small or big
  3. Slowly spin them and tell them to pull their arms in: On our own we get spun around, knocked around by the storm, and can feel helpless and afraid.
  4. Tell them to put their arms out to slow down: Application: Reaching out to Jesus will help slow you down and calm you, like Jesus calmed the storm
  5. Stop them, tell them to close their eyes and get “undizzy” and ask Jesus to help calm their own personal storm.

Reflect:

Why we can trust Jesus:

Closing:

End with a discussion of why we can trust Jesus in all situations. Draw on the qualities of Jesus as God such as …

God is eternal, all knowing, does not change, is holy, truthful, faithful, compassionate, patient … and more!


Resources:


A lesson posted by Jan Hanson from: First Presbyterian Church
Napa, CA

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

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