Rotation.org Writing Team
Purim: The Story of Esther
Summary of Activities
Students will see and interact with the Story of Esther found in the Awesome Bible Stories software, take a quiz that reinforces story knowledge, learn how Jewish children celebrate Purim in synagogues today, and play the "Haman vs Mordecai" game.
Note: Awesome Bible Stories is now available free-of-charge to the supporting members of Rotation.org. Learn more and download the software!
Scripture for the Lesson
The Book of Esther
The story is presented by the software.
Key/Memory Verse: “Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.” Esther 4:14b (NRSV)
See the Bible Background at rotation.org for this set's complete list of objectives.
Like the Video Workshop in this lesson set, this Computer Workshop lesson does a good job of giving your students an overview of the entire story, condensing the story to its essentials, and presenting dialog from scripture in a fun way.
The lesson also contains two "voting" activities that work together to prime the subject.
Preparation and Materials
- Read the Bible Background and scripture.
- Preview "The Story of Esther" in the Awesome Bible Stories software.
- Print the Story of Esther Handout attached to this lesson.
Welcome students and tell them what they'll be doing today in the workshop.
Prime their thoughts with these voting questions. Have them move to different locations in the room to cast their vote.
1. When I see someone being hurt or threatened, I say something.
Always, Sometimes, Rarely
2. When someone I know has a problem...
I offer to help, I wait for them to ask for help, I usually stay quiet
3. When I am afraid to step forward and do or say the right thing, I usually...
Overcome my fears and step up, Wait for someone else to step up, Keep quiet
4. When I see someone being evil or hear about something bad in the news, I "boo" that evil...
To anyone who will listen, I "boo" that evil only to myself, I usually have no comment
At the Computer
Assign students to your computer workstations and give them copies of the handout. Note that the handout doesn't mention taking the quiz, and that they should take it after first going through the main interactive story. It's best to work in pairs and take turns navigating the story. While one is navigating, the other can take notice of the questions on the handout —many of the answers to which are in the story.
If you have more than 30 minutes of class time available, consider having the students go through the story a second time, letting another student navigate (younger children will particularly appreciate "getting their turn").
If you're working on one computer, or projecting the software on the wall to a group from one computer, you can use the handout as a teaching guide of "what to ask" when the program pauses in-between scenes.
Before starting in the story, click the "Boo Haman" button on the Esther Menu for an explanation of the tradition of "booing Haman's name." Add that the idea is "speak up and not remain silent" when we see evil. Evil's greatest strength is fear.
Order of Activities
- Work through the Esther Story in the software.
- Take the Quiz.
- View the video clip about Purim today.
- Pause for discussion with completed handouts.
Students rarely do a complete job of filling out the handouts, but as you ask a few questions from the handout, that will help them begin to respond.
- Discuss "How much like Mordecai and Esther are you?" (See below)
- Play Haman vs Mordecai after the following reflection discussion below.
Final Reflection Vote: How Much Like Mordecai and Esther are you?
The following voting reflection is an opportunity for you and your students to share final thoughts.
Say: I will read a statement and then you will walk to one side of the room or the other to cast your "vote" and declare your answer.
1. How much are you like Mordecai who encourages people to do the right thing and stay away from evil things?
I am a lot like Mordecai , Some, A Little
2. The Church is a lot like Mordecai. We call people to bow only to God and always do the right thing. How difficult is it for you to always do the right thing and reject evil?
Easy, Hard, Really Hard
3. God wants us to be more like...
Haman, Xerxes, Mordecai & Esther
(Yes, it's that simple: be like Mordecai, Esther, and who else!? Jesus!
4. Who knows? Perhaps YOU have been put on this earth to speak up against evil?
Definitely I need to know more before I agree with that! No way...too scary.
Let your students play the "Haman vs Mordecai" game in the software.
For Younger Students: Help them take the quiz. Use the handout as a teaching guide with non-readers. Let them know they'll "get their turn."
Written by the Rotation.org Writing Team
Copyright 2016, Rotation.org Inc.
Handout Copyright, Sunday Software. Used with permission.
Photo courtesy Hampton United Church, Hampton, ON Canada.