Jesus Calms the Storm
Summary of Lesson Activities: Three science demonstrations intend to spark discussion.
- Use Alka-seltzer in water and in oil to demonstrate how being filled with chaos leads to chaotic reactions but being filled with God's peace leads to no chaotic reactions. (Lesson included below.)
- Use Alka-seltzer tablets to pop the tops off of film canisters, to show how a build-up of chaos causes us to “lose” it. (Lesson included below.)
- Build a dam using clay and popsicle sticks to show how the dam has to be filled with God's Holy Spirit, instead of being empty, in order to keep the water/chaos out. (Lesson not included.)
For the full lesson (including supply lists, pictures, and "background") download the attached Word .doc at the bottom of this post.
More detailed "Summary": This Science lesson starts with the reading of the scripture story of Jesus sleeping through and then calming the storm. The three science demonstrations focus on helping the students think more about chaos and the two different reactions that we see exhibited by the disciples and Jesus.
First activity consists of guessing which type of liquid (water or vegetable oil) will react to the storm (AKA the Alka-seltzer tablet). Taking this idea further, the second activity illustrates why having a reaction to the storm is not desirable by putting water and oil in 35 mm film canisters and guessing what will happen (the top will blow off the water one). 3rd demonstration is of a constructed dam that isn't solid and seeps water until it is filled with something solid (best material for this being kitty litter) to demonstrate how being filled with the Holy Spirit is what determines why Jesus is not reactive to/filled with fear towards the storm/chaos.
(Note: Though I like the idea behind the dam demonstration, it's a LOT of prep time. I also am not sold on the idea of equating kitty litter with the Holy Spirit. That being said, I haven't been able to think of another type of demonstration that clearly shows how being filled with GOds Spirit/love means we can't simultaneously be filled with something else, like chaos or storms or fear. Any thoughts are appreciated.)
For the full lesson, download the attached Word .doc at the bottom of this post. Note that the first three pages of the document are "background" and that the actual lesson starts on page 4 (which is also where you will find the supply list).
From the attached lesson (which includes an opening and reading the story) here are the 1st and 2nd science activities with some of the teaching comments (in first person) included...
Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Greet the children and introduce yourself.
Open with a prayer.
- You might remember this from other classes: The people who first heard this story (2000 years ago), understood the “sea” in stories to also be a symbol for chaos.
- Basically, what that means is that the people who first heard this story heard that the disciples and Jesus were sailing on the sea, but they also hear/understand that Jesus and the disciples in the middle of chaos.
- We may not know what chaos is, so let’s talk about chaos for a moment.
- Chaos is something that we cannot predict or control. Chaos is when lots of things are happening all at once or when the things that are happening don’t make any sense.
- For example, when an accident happens, then we often experience chaos.
- In the story that we read today, though, Jesus and the disciples responded very differently to the chaos. Why might that be? We’re going to look at one reason why right now.
Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
Explain and Do Alka-seltzer demonstration with water and oil
- We’re going to pretend that these two glasses are not glasses, but people.
- We’re going to pretend that this glass over represents the disciples.
- And this other glass, we’re going to pretend is Jesus.
- Do you notice anything different about the two glasses? (the disciples glass has water in it; the Jesus glass has some yellowish/gold stuff [vegetable oil] in it)
- That’s right! The disciple glass has water in it. And what does water represent in the Bible stories? Chaos, that’s right! But right now, the water in the disciples does not look very chaotic does it? Instead it looks pretty peaceful, right?
- The reason that the disciples have this water/chaos in them is because if we’re not focused and paying attention to God, then instead of being filled with God’s holy spirit, we get filled with other things. Other things that might look calm at first…but then….Something else happens.
- So let’s introduce something else.
- Let’s introduce a storm.
- The storm is going to be represented by this alka-seltzer tablet.
- So what happens when we drop the storm into the middle of the disciples?
- [Accept answers from class then drop the alka-seltzer tablet into the water and watch it fizz. Congratulate those who guessed/hypothesized correctly]
- The storm really stirred the disciples up, didn’t it?
- So let’s go over to Jesus now. He’s not filled up with water. He’s filled up (ok, PRETEND he’s filled up if the glass is not full) with the Holy Spirit instead of chaotic water.
- What do you think will happen once we introduce a storm and drop into the middle of his nap?
- [accept answers from class and then drop the alka-seltzer tablet into the water and watch it just sit there and NOT fizz. Congratulate those who guessed/hypothesized correctly]
- As we can see, because Jesus was paying attention to God and was therefore filled with God’s Holy Spirit, the storm did not have any effect on him, did it?
- So maybe you think the fizzing is kind of cool (and it is in a science class). But let’s do a demonstration about what happens to us when we’re filled with chaos
Explain and Do Alka-Seltzer pop-off demonstration
- We’re going to take a 35 mm film canister and we’re going to pretend that this film canister is like the disciples.
- They are slowly filling up with something other than God’s Holy Spirit. They’ve had a long, hard day and are feeling a little grumpy and hungry. And because they are still students, they haven’t got super-good, yet, at remembering to focus on God at all times.
- So we’re going to put some water in them (fill 1/2 to 2/3rds full with water).
- And just like last time, we’re going to introduce a storm to the disciples.
- [Pull out a alka-seltzer tablet, wave it around, then drop it into the film canister with water in it. Then put the top on it. MAKE SURE that you keep the canister pointed at all times toward the ceiling and away from the students. Once the lid flies off, if you quickly put the lid back on, it’ll happen again, only a little less powerfully]
- While you wait, ask: What do you think will happen?
- [When lid pops off, then say]: When we are filled with other things besides God’s holy spirit, and then chaos things, like a storm are introduced, we get all stirred up inside and eventually what happens to us is that we panic. What this means is that we say or do things because we’re really afraid. And when we’re acting out of fear, we will not make the best decisions.
- So again, what happens if we pretend Jesus is this canister and we fill him with the Holy Spirit vegetable oil? What would happen? (Nothing!) Right. Which means that Jesus is able then to know what to do in the moment.
End with a prayer.
A lesson by Nathanael from rfour.org
If you like this lesson, and are interested in more, visit www.rfour.org/curriculum.html.
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.