In addition to these public lessons and ideas posted below, our Writing Team has created an extra creative set of lessons on this story for our supporting members: Jesus Calls the Disciples ...and You!  The set's lesson summaries and Bible background are open to all.

This thread is for posting Science Workshop Lessons and Ideas for Call of the Disciples.


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The Call of the Disciples

Science Workshop


Summary of Lesson Activities:

Through the use of magnets a discussion will take place about what caused the disciples to follow Jesus.  With adaption for preschool class who will create origami fish with magnets in ‘nose’ for fishing game.

Scripture Reference:

Matthew 4:18-22

Focus verse:

Jesus said to them, “Come with me and I will teach you how to bring in people instead of fish.” (Contemporary English Version)

Lesson Objectives: Children will… (these are the things they will be able to DO)

  • Review the story of the call of the fishermen
  • Define what it means to be ‘called’ by God
  • Create a game for younger children

    They will discover: (These are the ideas, concepts the lessons are designed to teach)
  • Jesus chose specific people to come and be part of his work.
  • Following Jesus can mean leaving something behind and gaining something new.

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture and Bible background sheets for this lesson.
  • Gather assorted size magnets and metal objects—small magnets; magnetic pin holders (from fabric or craft stores) safety pins, nails
  • Watch video "More Parables From Science - Part 1, Magnets."
  • Practice some of the magnet demonstrations from the video
  • Consider what adaptations you will make for each age group
  • Practice making origami fish (Our pattern and directions came from the Whole People of God curriculum : January 27, 2002 Junior activity sheet)
  • Online Origami fish diagrams: http://www.origami-resource-ce...igami-fish.html#fish
  • You might want to copy directions for the origami fish for each student or make a large chart on the wall or easel.

Supplies List:

  • magnets and metal objects;
  • origami paper squares or brightly colored lightweight paper



Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

Greet the children and introduce yourself.


Open with a prayer.


Ask students to recall the story of the call of Peter, Andrew, James and John. Together look up the Matthew passage and check any details you missed.

Dig- Main Content and Reflection:


Activity Summary: Students will:

  1. read story of call of fishermen
  2. explore properties and powers of magnets
  3. discuss what caused the disciples to follow Jesus
  4. create origami fish with magnets in ‘nose’ for fishing game for preschool SS class

Bring out the different size magnets. Talk about the power that a magnet has to pull things to it. It can even overcome a great power-like gravity. Demonstrate power in a variety of ways: how many pins or paperclips can you dangle from your magnet; how far away does the magnet still have pull; use barrier (paper, cardboard, the tabletop) to see if the magnet still has enough power to pull object . If you collected enough magnets and metal objects let the students ‘play’ experiment on their own. They can make magnetic sculpture with a stack of safety pins on a magnetic pin holder found in craft or fabric shops.

Begin discussion while they are working with the magnets.

  • What are things in their lives that are ‘attractive’ that ‘draw ‘ their attention?
  • What ‘attracts’ them to particular people?
  • What kind of people do they want to be with?
  • What kinds of leaders would they want to follow?

Lead from this to a discussion of why the disciples were attracted to Jesus.
Help them to see that the power that drew them to Jesus also drew them away from other things. To be attracted to Jesus means you turn your back to something else. To be drawn to Jesus also meant becoming part of sharing and attracting others to follow.
Go back to the magnets and show how the pin or nail does not have to touch the magnet . The magnet’s power can work through an object to another object. How many pins can be connected? How can the power of Jesus work through us to reach others?

Explain the origami fish project—extending the love of Jesus to the younger children. Making this game for them provides an opportunity to share this story with them and give them a reminder of the fishermen who followed Jesus.

Demonstrate the folds to make the fish one step at a time, allowing students chance to make folds before going on to next step. Tape a small magnet at the nose. If you use the magnet strips that you can get at craft stores you can cut a small magnet piece to fit. This kind of magnet is sticky on one side. Fit the magnet in the fold that you make for the nose of the fish.

Gather fish and tell students whatever plan you have made to visit the preschool class.

Age adaptations


Younger elementary: The origami can be tough for them. Extra sets of hand will be helpful to make sure that the creases are sharp and the folds made correctly. Reassure them that since we are just folding—not gluing or cutting everything can be undone and done over.


Older elementary / middle school: Discussion here on what attracts can wander into matters of peer pressure and the attractions that advertisers and popular culture dangle in front of teens and preteens. If it comes up be ready to go with positive attractions and negative attractions; things that pull us away from Jesus, from walking with him. You could also have a good discussion with thoughtful kids on what we must be like if we are going to bring in people like Jesus said.

Make a tight prayer circle by asking each one to extend left hand into center of circle with hand in a fist with thumb extended. Each person holds the thumb of the person on his/her left. Comment that when we are drawn closer to the center to Jesus, He pulls us closer to each other. Pray asking God’s help that we might all hear Jesus’ call and live as true disciples.

Make any notes to yourself on things you want to be sure to remember next time, things you want to change or have an idea to improve on.


  • More Parables from Science from Woodlake publishers ( ) This video and the first “Parables From Science” demonstrate simple scientific principles and draw parallels to Biblical truths. This is not necessarily a video that you will want to show to the children but rather to watch and learn how to set up a demonstration or experiment for your own research lab workshop.

A lesson written by Lynn C. Wood from: Bream Memorial Presbyterian Church

Charleston, West Virginia

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.


Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer
Original Post

Follow-up critique by author of Science Workshop: Call of the Disciples (above)

We had a lot of fun with the magnets and the kids really 'got' the idea of attraction. They were able to talk about what attracted disciples to Jesus;the responses they made and how they might respond to Jesus.

re: origami fish--This turned out to be tough for the older (5th--6th grade) group so it was modified for younger groups. One option is to make fish using coffee filters. Twist one third of the circle into a 'tail'. Use marker to make eyes or fins. A drop of water will make the color spread. A paper clip or safety pin in the nose will enable the fish to be 'caught' by a magnet at end of string on 'fishing pole'.
Lynn Wood

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Lesson Extension Idea - Fishy Situations (for above lesson)


As an extension to this wonderful magnet activity, we put a "fishy situation" in each fish when we placed the magnet in the nose. The First-5th graders then took turns fishing. As they caught a fish, they read the "fishy situation" and the class discussed the situation to decide if the fish is a "keeper" or not--to show whether they are following Jesus. Some of the fishy situations were:

  1. When kids ask if you are a Christian, you say "No way, Man!"
  2. You forget to tell your sister that you scratched her favorite CD.
  3. You bring a friend to Sunday School.
  4. You made a mistake. Eventhough you'll get in trouble, you tell the teacher what you did.
  5. Kids are making fun of a new boy in school. You don't want to get involved.
  6. When your little sister asks you to play with her, you do. . .and you even have fun!
  7. You decide to try and read a Bible story each night before you go to bed.
  8. Betty starts telling others bad things about you. You tell Betty to stop and decide not to talk bad about her, even though it is very hard.

These fishy situations sparked some wonderful discussions about real-life situations the kids in our classes have been in.

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

For another type of "magnet" "attracting others to Jesus" demonstration... (for above lesson)


Added by Neil MacQueen


Have the kids go fishing in your room using a short pole that has a string and magnet attached to it. Have various objects in 'the water' for them to cast and try to catch.


After they've had a bit of fun, begin to "modify" the magnets and objects to illustrate various analogous points:

  • things that get in the way of being able to reach out someone
  • some heavy things need multiple magnets, multiple poles.
  • some people are closer, more ready/willing to be "caught".
  • why do some people resist being caught by God?
  • baits:  what works? what doesn't? ...when trying to win people to God.


Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

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