The Ten Commandments
Summary of Lesson Activities:
The children will hear the story of the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses and the people’s disobedience. They will then role play situations where the Ten Commandments are not followed and talk about the importance of loving God and neighbors.
Exodus 19:1 -20:20; also 31:18 - 35:35
Lesson Objectives for the rotation:
(see teachers' background)
Additional objectives for the Drama Workshop
At the end of the session, the students will
- recognize that the first four commandments are about our relationship with God and the last six regulate our relationship with other people.
- think about how to live the last six commandments every day.
- Materials to build the “Charlie Brown” dummy: jeans, shirt, shoes, small pillows and towels, balloon, tape, ropes, marker, chair,
- straight pin
- flipchart or whiteboard and two colors of markers
- cue card: “We will do everything that the LORD has said.”
- optional (if time permits): younger children: Bible times puppets; older children: index cards prepared as noted above in Teacher Preparation
- sets of memory verse strips (see Memory Verse activity for details)
- Memento: Peanut’s Charlie Brown stickers
- Shepherd Time: red construction paper hearts, tape, and pencils.
Teacher preparation in advance:
- Read the scripture passages and lesson plan and attend the Bible Study, --.
- Prepare the retelling of the Exodus story (follows).
- Learn the memory verse.
- For optional extra time older children activity: Write the following scriptures references on five different note cards: Luke 10:27; Matthew 22:37-40; Mark 12:30-31; Deuteronomy 6:4; Leviticus 19:18.
- Confer with the Shepherd on age level adjustments needed each week (those included in the lesson plan and your own). Consider the “Stretchers” you can use, especially with the youngest children.
- To our teachers at RCC: The design of this workshop is very intentional. The activities and discussion questions for this workshop were designed to meet the goals of the entire rotation and the educational objectives of the Rotation Model (tm) at River Community Church. While we feel it is important to follow the serendipitous leading of the Holy Spirit, please do not change the lesson plan without consulting a Curriculum Planning and Writing Team member.
- Check out the room before your first Sunday workshop so that you know where everything is located.
- The bin with supplies is located in the Sunday School room. Purchase or request additional supplies from --.
- Cut red construction paper into hearts (enough for one for each child).
Have the materials for “Charlie Brown” out of the way (in a laundry basket or closet so they won’t be a distraction). You will need a chair for “Charlie.”
Greet the children and introduce yourself. Wear your name-tag. (Remember, you are interacting with a different group of students each week who may not know you.) Make sure the children are wearing name-tags.
We had an opening prayer during the gathering time, but you may open with prayer if you feel led to do so.
Explain the purpose of this workshop: Today you will hear the story of how Moses was given the Ten Commandments. Then we will meet a new friend who will help us experiment with following those ten rules.
Read the scripture: “Let’s read a small portion of our story for this rotation. Open your Bibles to Exodus 19: 1-9.”
[Encourage the children to use their Bibles in looking up verses. For example, “To find Exodus, open the Bible to the beginning and you will find Genesis. Exodus is the second book of the Bible. Turn until you find it. Our passage is in chapter 19.” We restate information about Bible organization in each workshop to be sensitive to visitors and new children in the class who may not have any knowledge of the Bible. We never want a child to feel like they do not belong because they do not know this information before they come to class.]
Tell the story:
“What we just read was a small portion of a long story. Listen as I retell the story from the Bible. [Retell the story in your own words, emphasizing that the story comes from the Bible; holding your Bible while you tell is a reminder to them that they are hearing God’s word. A sample retelling is attached.]
- Which commandment did the Israelites break? I wonder why Aaron helped them?
- God was so angry with the Israelites, He was going to destroy them. I wonder if God gets angry with us when we sin?
- Do you think the Ten Commandments are still important today? Why?
Let’s list the Ten Commandments. [Write them on the whiteboard or flipchart. Without telling the children why, write the first four Commandments in one color and the last six in another color. It is okay if they are shortened and in the children’s own words and in the wrong order, as long as the group can list all ten.]
[following is adapted from rotation.org posting by Julie Grendahl.]
“Poor Old Charlie Brown”
Instruct class to stuff the clothes with the pillows and towels, draw a face on the balloon and tape it to the shoulders. Set the life-sized doll in a chair. They have just made “Poor Old Charlie Brown!” Don’t take more than 5 minutes to do this.
Using Charlie as the scapegoat, have the children act out the following scenes. After each scene ask what commandment addresses the situation.
- Choose 2 people. One is Charlie’s sibling, the other their parent. The sibling tries to tell the parent that it was Charlie that broke the bed by jumping on it. The parent tries to find out the truth. Discuss what it is like to have someone tell lies about us.
- Choose 2 people. Each stands on one side of Charlie. One person will say mean things about Charlie and the other will say how those things are hurtful and then says kind things about Charlie. Discuss how it feels to be singled out and ridiculed. [The honor we show for our parents has to extend to each other.]
- Ask if any of the kids are married. No? Charlie isn't married yet either. So the commandment about being true to spouse doesn't seem to apply. But we can still keep ourselves pure in thoughts and actions. That is also part of this commandment. We also need to be faithful and true to our friends.
- Have each student find something about Charlie that they would like to have (covet). The Workshop Leader should go first. (Suggestion: it doesn’t have to be a material thing, what about Charlie’s great singing voice? Younger Children especially may need a few suggestions whispered in their ears to get them started.) Ask why they covet such things.
- Have each student steal something from Charlie (clothing, pillows, etc.) until he is dismantled and there is nothing left except his head. Discuss what it would be like to have everything stolen from us.
- Use the pin to pop Charlie’s “head.” Talk about how we are commanded not to murder others. We are not likely to commit murder. But being angry at someone is like murdering them in our hearts.
Pulling it all together (closing discussion):
Review the list of Ten Commandments.
Say, “Look at the list of Ten Commandments we made. Did you notice I used two colors to write the commandments? Does anyone know why?”
Tell the children that the first four commandments teach us how to live lovingly with God and the last six commandments teach us how to live lovingly with other people. God wants us to obey these commandments so that our days will be filled with loving behavior.
Our memory verse shows how the Ten Commandments can be summarized into two commandments. This is often called the “Great Commandment.”
Additional Activities (if time permits):
Younger: use puppets to retell the story.
[adapted from The Great Commandment: Great Commandment Rotation by Lisa M.]
Hand out Bibles and place the five note cards with scripture references face down. Tell the children that when you give the signal, they are to turn over their note card and look up the verse in their Bibles as quickly as possible. [If there are more than five children, have them work with a partner.]
Tell them if they find the “Great Commandment” or any part of it they are supposed to point to the verse and raise their hand. [All five verses contain the great commandment, or part of it, so all children should be raising their hands.] Have each group read what is written in their verse.
Ask: Does it surprise you that the Great Commandment appears so many times in the Bible? [Explain that in today’s lesson, you will be thinking about the Great Commandment as it might apply to some real life situations.]
Review the memory verse.
Divide the children into groups of approximately 4 children. Give each group a set of paper strips with the memory verse on them divided as follows:
∙ Mark 12:29-31a
∙ “Jesus replied,
∙ ‘The most important commandment is this:
∙ ‘Hear, O Israel!
∙ The Lord our God is the one and only Lord.
∙ And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart,
∙ all your soul,
∙ all your mind,
∙ and all your strength.’
∙ The second is equally important:
∙ ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’’”
Instruct them to put the phrases in the correct order. If it is the first week of the rotation (or for the younger children), you may want to give them a copy of the complete verse. After the groups have successfully completed putting the phrases in the correct order, remove one of the phrases (and the copy of the complete verse, if applicable) without the group seeing which phrase you removed and shuffle the remaining strips. Instruct them to put the phrases in the correct order again and determine which part of the verse is missing. Repeat 2-3 more times, each time removing a different phrase from the set of phrases.
At 11:45 a.m., turn the class leadership over to the Shepherd. Suggestion: You may wish to give the children a Charles Schultz’ Charlie Brown sticker to paste in their journal or wear as a reminder of the activity.
[adapted from More Than a Rule Book]
Love Notes Pass out pencils and hearts.
Say: “Let’s make love notes to God. On your heart, write one of the Ten Commandments that’s hard for you to obey. Then write how you’ll obey it this week. It could be something you’ll do at home, at school, at church, or while you’re with friends. For instance, you might write, “Honor your father and mother.” Then you might write, “I’ll answer my mother with a kind voice when she asks me to do a chore.”
When you’re finished, pray and ask God to help you obey this commandment. Fold your heart in half and tape it closed. Take your love note home and put it beside your bed to remind you to obey the commandment.
This is meant to be a time of reflection and introspection. Writing and thinking about faith helps clarify lessons. In addition to the suggested activity, children may draw pictures relating to today’s scripture or memory verse, list highlights of the day’s activities, or rephrase the memory verse. Any journal pages will be saved and given to the children at the end of the school year.
You may want to provide an extra activity or worksheet for children who finish their hearts quickly, such as coloring sheets, crossword puzzles, word searches, games. See the Teachers’ Background Notes and rotation.org for ideas.
Before noon, ask the students to stop working for a moment and sit quietly for prayer so they can leave when their parents arrive. Allow them to finish journaling afterwards.
“David said this about the law.” Read Psalm 19: 7-11 to the children.
Older Children: [Pass out the Bibles.] “Let’s pray as David did by reading in unison Psalm 19: 12-14.”
Younger Children: Ask God to help your students obey God’s commandments and thank God for showing love to us by giving us commandments to follow.
Tidy and Dismissal:
- Ask children to help tidy the room. Give any specific instructions for clearing the workshop room.
- Remind them to take home their folded hearts and pray about them during the week.
- Give everyone the parent take-home flyer the first week of the rotation; give it only to children who were absent and have not yet received it the other weeks of the rotation.
You will need to decide how best to adjust the lesson for older and younger students. Keep the children active and involved in activity. Do what works for you and the children. Some ideas in addition to those in the lesson plan:
- For classes composed primarily of pre-readers, show the children how to find the passage in the Bible and then have them do it. After everyone has found the passage, have them close their Bibles and listen while you read.
- The Workshop Leader (or the Leader and the Shepherd) may have to do the Charlie Brown role-playing situations.
- They may need to dictate their responses to the Shepherd Time activity to the Workshop Leader and Shepherd.
Additional activity if time permits (or if the younger kids just aren’t quite “getting” Charlie Brown):
Act out the story with puppets.
- Crane, Amy. Posting at the rotation.org Idea and Lesson Exchange under “Exodus: Ten Commandments: Ten Commandments and the Golden Calf - Drama Lesson.” (Retelling of the story.) https://www.rotation.org/topic/drama-or-puppet-workshop-lessons-and-ideas-for-the-ten-commandments?
- For additional information on retelling Bible Stories, see Amy Crane's manual on Biblical Storytelling in the rotation.org IDEA AND LESSON EXCHANGE in the Workshop Design and Teaching Resources section under “Storytelling”http://rotation.infopop.cc/eve...8106381&m=4066088121
- Grendahl, Julie. Posting at the rotation.org Idea and Lesson Exchange under “Exodus: Ten Commandments: Ten Commandments for Small Churches.” (Charlie Brown game.) link
- Group Publishing. Idea from childrensministry.com: “LESSON 10, MORE THAN A RULE BOOK.” (Shepherd Time activity.) link removed - no longer works (a search of childrensministry.com was not successful)
- Lisa M. Posting at the rotation.org Lessons and Ideas Exchange under “The Great Commandment: Great Commandment Rotation.” http://rotation.infopop.cc/eve...56088121&m=959607606
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
The Ten Commandments: the Law Is Given and Forgotten
Story adapted for retelling by Amy Crane. Copyright 2001 Amy Crane.
Permission granted to freely distribute and use, provided the copyright message is included.
Adapted from Exodus 15 - 34, Today's English Version.
Long, long ago, before the time of Jesus, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - the Israelites- were slaves, building pyramids for the Pharaoh in Egypt.
God heard the Israelites cry out to Him for help, and He called upon Moses to lead the Israelites to freedom. Moses and his older brother Aaron stood before the Pharaoh many times, telling him that “The Lord God has said ‘Let my people go.’” But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Pharaoh would not let his slaves go free.
So God sent many plagues upon the Egyptians. But still Pharaoh’s heart was hardened. Until the last plague, the tenth one, the most awful plague of them all. The first-born sons of all in Egypt were killed, including the Pharaoh’s son. But the angel of death passed over the homes of the Israelites.
The Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron to him, and told them to take the Israelites, their wives, their children, their livestock, and leave Egypt at once.
The Israelites quickly escaped, through the Red Sea, and into the desert, where there was much rejoicing, led by Moses’ sister Miriam.
But the rejoicing was soon followed by grumbling. “This water is not fit to drink!” So Moses called upon the Lord, and He instructed Moses to throw his staff into the water, and it was sweet to drink.
But soon there was more grumbling. “There is no food to eat!” So Moses called upon the Lord, and He sent quails in the evening, and manna every morning.
But again, there was more grumbling. “There is no water in this desert to drink. You have brought us out of Egypt so we could die!” So Moses called upon the Lord, and He instructed Moses to strike rocks with his staff, and water poured forth.
After three months of wandering in the desert (“Are we there yet?!"), the Israelites arrived at the foot of Mount Sinai, and made a camp there. God told Moses what to say to the people: “You saw what I, the Lord, did to the Egyptians. You saw how I carried you as an eagle carries her young on her wings. Now, if you obey me and keep my Covenant, you will be my own chosen people.”
Moses called together the people and told them everything the Lord had commanded him. And the people answered together, saying, “We will do everything that the Lord has said.”
God told Moses to have the people prepare and purify themselves, because in three days He would come down upon the mountain so that the Israelites would hear Him speaking with Moses, and would believe.
On the morning of the third day, there was thunder and lightning. A thick cloud appeared on the mountain. A very loud trumpet was heard. The people trembled with fear. Moses led them out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was covered in smoke, because the Lord had come down on it in fire. The smoke went up like the smoke of a furnace. The sound of the trumpet became louder and louder. Moses spoke, and God answered him with thunder. The Lord came down on the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain.
God spoke: “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, where you were slaves.
“You must worship no God but me.
“You must not make and worship images or bow down to idols.
“You must not misuse my name.
“You must observe the Sabbath and keep it Holy.
“You must respect your father and mother.
“You must not commit murder.
“You must love and be faithful to your husband or wife.
“You must not steal.
“You must not lie.
“You must not desire what belongs to someone else.”
The Lord gave Moses these ten laws and many others. Moses told the people all of the Lord’s commands. They said, “We will do everything that the Lord has said.”
The Lord said to Moses, “Come up the mountain to me, and while you are here, I will give you two stone tablets which contain all the laws that I have written for the instruction of the people.”
Moses went up Mount Sinai, and again a cloud covered it. The dazzling light of the Lord’s presence came down on the mountain, and it looked like a fire burning.
Forty days and forty nights passed. When the Israelites saw that Moses had not come down from the mountain, they gathered around Moses’ brother Aaron and said, “It’s been forty days! We do not know what happened to this Moses who led us out of Egypt. Make a god to lead us.”
Aaron replied, “Bring me your gold jewelry.” He melted it, poured the gold into a mold, and made a gold calf.
The people said, “This is our god, who led us out of Egypt!” The next day, the people made offerings to the calf. They had a festival, with singing and dancing.
The Lord said to Moses, “Your people, whom you led out of Egypt, have rejected me. They have made a gold calf, and are worshiping it and saying it led them out of Egypt. Now don’t try to stop me, for I am angry, and am going to destroy them. Then I will make you and your descendants a great nation.”
Moses pleaded with the Lord, “Lord, why should the Egyptians be able to say that you led your people out of Egypt in order to kill them in the mountains? Stop being angry. Do not bring disaster on your people. Remember your promise to Abraham, and to Isaac, and to Jacob, that you would give them as many descendants as the stars in the sky.”
So God did not destroy the Israelites. And Moses went back down the mountain, carrying the two stone tablets with the commandments written on both sides. When Moses came close enough to the camp to see the gold calf and hear the singing and see the dancing, he became furious! There, at the foot of the mountain, he threw down the tablets he was carrying, and broke them. He took the gold calf and melted it. “Aaron,” he said, “ what did these people do to you, that you made them do this awful thing?”
Aaron replied, “You know how these people always grumble and complain. They said, ‘We don't know what has happened to that Moses who led us out of Egypt. Make a god to lead us.’ I collected their gold jewelry, and cast it into the fire, and out came this gold calf!”
Moses called upon all who were on the Lord’s side to put on their swords and kill those who did not follow God's commands. About 3,000 men were killed that day.
The next day, Moses said to the people, “You have committed a terrible sin. But now I will go up the mountain to the Lord; maybe I can get him to forgive your sins.” Moses went to the Lord and the Lord forgave His people. God again wrote the commandments on two stone tablets. The covenant was renewed with the Israelites, God’s chosen people.
Years passed. Moses continued to lead the Israelites in the wilderness, toward the Promised Land, for forty years. And the people could no longer look upon his face, for it glowed radiantly, for he had spoken with the Lord.
TIPS FOR TELLING:
- Read the story in several translations of the Bible and in Bible storybooks to see other ways to tell it. If time permits, read a commentary or study helps.
- This is an exciting and dramatic story. Tell it with amazement and excitement.
- Bring the story to life with your movements and emotions as well as the words. Try to visualize the action, and then include small parts of it in your telling. When speaking for God, hold yourself erect and tall and speak in a “Godly” voice. Cower along with the people when there is thunder on the mountain. Take a few steps and wave an imaginary tambourine when the people dance around the calf. Get angry with Moses and stomp your feet.
- Use your best whiny “Mommy, I’m hungry!” voice for the Israelites complaining in the wilderness and while waiting for Moses. Invite your listeners to grumble along with the Israelites. Use a cue card.
- Before beginning, have your listeners practice saying, “We will do everything that the Lord has said,” in unison and invite them to join in when you are telling the story.
- If you cannot learn this story by heart (to tell it in your own words), read and reread it until you are very comfortable with it. Then you will be able to look up and make eye contact and interact with your listeners while you are reading, which will help bring the story to life for them. (Consider making your “cheat sheet” copy of the script into a scroll so that it looks like an ancient text.)
Scripture taken from the Good News Bible in Today's English Version - Second Edition, Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by Permission.
A lesson written by Amy Crane from: River Community Church
Copyright 2004 Amy Crane. Permission granted to freely distribute and use, provided the copyright message is included.
Photo of 'Poor Charlie Brown' from Luanne Payne, Hampton United Church, ON, Canada.
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.