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(WT) Kingdom Parables ~ Art - Construction Workshop

Rotation.org Writing Team

Kingdom Parables: Seed, Leaven, Treasure, Pearl

Art - Construction Workshop


Summary of Activities

birdhouses-orientaltradingIn addition to sharing all four parables, this lesson takes a unique look at the second part of the first parable —the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed that......becomes a tree that birds can nest in. Students will construct their own bird house (using inexpensive kits), and decorate them with images and key words from all four parables.  

Scripture for the Lesson

  • Parable of the Mustard Seed - Matthew 13:31-32
  • Parable of the Leaven - Matthew 13:33
  • Parable of the Treasure in the Field - Matthew 13:44
  • Parable of the Pearl - Matthew 13:45-46

Lesson Objectives

See the Bible Background at rotation.org for this set's complete list of objectives.

Preparation and Materials

  • Read the Bible Background and scripture.
  • Purchase the bird house kits.
  • Paint pens or permanent markers for the birdhouse.
  • Glue gun (for extra reinforcing of the birdhouse joints if needed).
  • Whiteboard or Large Sheet of paper (and appropriate markers).


Lesson Plan

Opening Discussion and Bible Study

The opening Bible study is designed to introduce and explain the parables and concept of "Kingdom of God." Writing on the Board will create a visual reference for the students to consult when decorating their birdhouse with words and images from the parables.

Welcome your students and explain how today's lesson will unfold.

Write the phrase, "Kingdom of God" and "Kingdom of Heaven" on the board. Point out that they mean the same thing and that, "in fact, Jesus told us to pray that God's Kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven. So.....if you know what heaven is supposed to be like, then you know what the Kingdom on earth is supposed to be like."  

Ask your students to define what the Kingdom of God is. If they are stumped, lead them through the following questions:

  1. What is heaven like? (Conceptually, the Kingdom that God is growing can be understood as the earth being transformed into a sort of heaven on earth.)
  2. What is a king? What does the king do? (A king is a ruler who rules over people.)
  3. Why would people want to live in a Kingdom? (protection, loyalty to the king, it's their home)
  4. Who created and rules over everything?  (God) So everywhere is technically God's Kingdom, right?
  5. So if this is God's Kingdom, why does the world seem like it is such a mess? Where is the king? (good question!)

Share this important background:  When people heard that Jesus was the Messiah, the promised new King of Israel, they wanted to know when Jesus was going to take control and throw the Roman army out of Israel. They wanted to know where Jesus' army was. And when Jesus said, "the Kingdom of God is already here and among you," people asked him, "where?!"  They were expecting the king to lead an army and sit on the throne in Jerusalem, just like King David did. But Jesus said his Kingdom was not like that. That it was a different kind of Kingdom, not with Kings and Queens, castles and armies, but a Kingdom that looked like heaven.   Remember the words he taught us in the Lord's Prayer?  "thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." (Matt 6)

Ask: How do people treat each other in heaven? Write these answers on the board. Add your own suggestions. We know from scripture that heaven is a place of peace, worship and singing, no fear, no death, etc.) Jesus said his kingdom was like heaven come among us, —-small, hidden, growing, and worth looking for, if we know what to look for!

Read the Scriptures together.
"Let's listen to how Jesus describes the Kingdom of Heaven in these four short parables."

  • Parable of the Mustard Seed - Matthew 13:31-32
  • Parable of the Leaven - Matthew 13:33
  • Parable of the Treasure in the Field - Matthew 13:44
  • Parable of the Pearl - Matthew 13:45-46

Recap key words and ideas by writing them on the board as students suggest them:

  • seed, sower, tree, place birds to nest
  • yeast, woman, mixed in/kneaded into dough to make it rise
  • merchant looking and finally finds the best pearl, and is ready to give up everything
  • buried beneath your feet, brings joy, and ready to be dug up

These words on the board will be used to decorate the bird house.  Next, invite student to come up to the board together and draw pictures of the words/phrases you've written on the board. These will prime their artistic pumps for decorating the bird house.

Making the Bird House

The amount of time you need to make the bird house will depend on which "kit" you purchase and the age of your students. The one from Oriental Trading quickly assembles without nails, ...leaving you more time to decorate it with parable words and images (which are important). Other kits require more gluing and nailing. Older students will enjoy nailing their bird house together, so keep that in mind if you have the class time to spare.  

Tip:  Have a helper use a hot glue gun to add dabs of glue to the bird house kits which do not use nails. The hot glue will bond quickly and keep the houses together while they are being handled during the decoration phase of the project.

Decorating the Bird House

This is perhaps the most important step in the lesson. Once the bird houses are assembled, it's time to decorate them with symbols and keywords from today's parables.

Tip:  Use permanent markers or paint pens to draw words and images on the bird house. These will make transporting much easier. Do not use washable markers, as they will "run" when the birdhouse gets rained on.

As students begin to decorate their birdhouses, circulate and encourage them to get all four parables onto their house in some way, either through words or images.

Teaching Points:  Decorating the bird houses is an opportunity for the teacher to interject a number of key thoughts into the lesson. Here are some to get you started:

  • In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told us that God cares for every bird of the air. In his parable of the mustard seed, Jesus says the Kingdom is a place where birds feel safe enough to nest. How are we "safe" or "saved" with Jesus.
  • What are nests for?  They provide protection from storms, a place where we are fed, and learn how to fly. How is the church like a nest in God's Kingdom?  How is Sunday School like a nest in God's Kingdom?  Think about how you could draw a nest on your birdhouse.
  • In the parable of the woman making bread, she puts yeast in it. How big is yeast? What does the yeast do for the flour?  The yeast gives off carbon dioxide which makes the bread rise. It also gives us that yummy "fresh bread" flavor. Jesus Kingdom is wherever goodness is happening. It is goodness we can taste, and share, just like bread.
  • Evidence of heaven on earth, that is God's presence, is something you need to look for, like the merchant kept looking for the great pearl. But sometimes, it can be an unexpected surprise, —a treasure chest of good things that you stumble upon, and others had ignored. How do you prepare yourself to recognize God in your life? How can you draw the idea of "looking for" the Kingdom?

Reflect

Have each student show their bird house and describe what they put on it. Pray that each of us would be like a bird house in God's Kingdom, protecting each other, making the lonely feel at home, comforting wounded or tired birds, trusting God to help us see heaven on earth, and sharing the gifts of bread and treasure.



Adaptations

For very young students, shorten the opening Bible study, but still write the words on the board as a help to your helpers. Have extra helpers who can not only help them put their house together, they can also think through the parable words and images they want to include on the house.

Bird House Kit Sources

birdhouses-orientaltradingOriental Trading Company, the Sunday School supply house, sells Bird House kits by the dozen for under $2 each. Made of thin wood, they fit together without nails. It is recommended that you apply dabs of hot glue to permanent connect the pieces. Other online and local crafts stores sell bird house kits that require some nailing (which your kids may like. Check around and get a kit that fits your age group and won't eat up your teaching time.)

Here are a few other links. If they go dead, use their search feature on each site.

kit S&W Crafts (aka pinewoodderbycars.com) sell an inexpensive 'nailable' kit.

Some kits do not come with hangers. If yours do not, you should come up with something to hang the bird house with, such as, a piece of rawhide or heavy twine and two small eye hooks.





Written by the Rotation.org Writing Team
Copyright 2017, Rotation.org Inc.


Art or "Construction" Workshop?
Typically, a Rotation Model "Art" workshop would have the student expressing their understanding of the story through an art medium. Building a bird house would be considered a "craft" or "construction" project. In this lesson, the "art" (student expression) is in the decorating of the bird house.  The resulting birdhouse serve as visual reminders of the metaphors Jesus taught.

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Last edited by Luanne Payne
Original Post

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