Noah and the Ark
Summary of Lesson Activities:
Uses the Noah and the Ark software (Sunday Software)
Commentary from Neil about Teaching the Story of Noah:
Like many, I don't believe Noah is "history" as we think of it, and this is true of some other things in the Bible. Jonah, for example, is a Hebrew short story. Jesus told stories that were not history, --but they were very true.
Teaching the story of Noah is a great opportunity to teach our children how to read the Bible. And we've learned that when we don't do that, many grow up thinking the Bible is against history and science and critical thinking. It's not. A story like Noah doesn't have to be historically correct to be theologically true. Take the parables for example, nobody debates whether or not the Prodigal Son ever exists. It was a story that Jesus made up. But it is probably the most true story about God and prodigals and "other sons" ever told.
Taking our tip from Jesus, I think the best way to explain Noah's story to kids (and most people) is that Noah is a parable. Our job as teachers, then, is to help our kids figure out where WE are in the story.
- Which character are we in the story?
- What is God calling us to do in the story?
- What arks are we called to build?
- What will the people say about us?
- What are we called to save?
- How do we prepare ourselves to persevere?
- And what signs tell us that God with us?
This approach also answers the age-old disturbing question about the "factualness" of God killing all the people of the world in a flood. That detail is storyteller's hyperbole. It is designed to make our eyes and minds and memories snap wide open. Take the Prodigal Parable for example. Jesus says the Father not only killed the fatted calf, he gave the son new clothes and new shoes and put a ring on his finger. Noah's story exudes hyperbole: --the flooding of the "entire" world", the killing of "everything". The building of a ridiculously enormous ark. 40 days and nights of rain. Got your attention yet?
About the Origins of Noah's Story:
The following is something I've shared with teachers and with older children and youth.
Scholars have long pointed out that "world flood" stories are found in many cultures and works of ancient literature, including some which pre-date the Hebrews. It was a logical explanation for the presence of marine fossils on the tops of mountains. The inspired writers of Genesis embraced this ancient story and reworked it into a story of obedience and hope. In the past decade, geologists have also added this intriguing theory. Geological evidence indicates that Middle Eastern flood stories may have preserved a old memory in that region of an actual cataclysmic flood which occurred around 7600 BC when the Bosphorus straits burst open and allowed the Mediterrenean Sea to flood into what eventually became the Black Sea. A National Geographic exploration led by famed undersea Robert Ballard found underwater archaeological and geological evidence to support the theory.
Whether a flood happened or not, however, doesn't diminish the truth of Noah's story: God wants his people to be obedient. God wants to save them. God has had a plan for salvation since the days of Noah that would one day culminate in the building of a new wooden ark, ....this time in the shape of a cross.
- Explore the software ahead of time.
- Read the scripture ahead of time.
- Gather the materials.
- Noah and the Ark (Sunday Software)
Advanced Preparation Requirements:
- Have the software ready to go when the children arrive.
Attached to the bottom of this post is my Student Worksheet. It functions like the central part of a lesson plan. Here are the "bumpers" to it
Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Gather students into separate groups and give them two minutes to come up with a list of all the parts of the Noah story in the most correct order. As you go over their lists, begin sharing your church's point of view on how we read this story. Share that some Christians read it as a historical fact, but that we can read it as a parable, a story that has truth. And the question is: what is the "truth" of this story? What does God want us to learn from it? Make some suggestions: Is it about cute animals? Is it that God wants to kill sinners? What do you think? The software today will help us answer that question.
Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
Dive into the Noah and the Ark CD using the Student Worksheet. They are at the bottom of this post.
Gather your students around the table where you have placed at least six sheets of brown paper in the shape of an Ark. Make your concluding remarks about the story as you slowly reshuffle the brown pieces of paper into the shape of a Cross. (the movement will help focus their attention) You can write the following statements ON the brown papers to help you. Say:
1) The Story of Noah and his Ark tells us that God wants to save us and the world we live in, when he could just as easily wipe it all out.
2) The Story of Noah and his Ark tells us that God wants us to be obedient and follow his commands no matter how hard they might seem (the ark was huge!).
3) The Story of Noah and the Ark is one of many stories in the Bible which tell us about God's Covenant, that he promises to always be our God no matter what.
4) The Story of Noah is one of many that reminds us to worship God with thanksgiving for what he has done for us.
5) And the Story of Noah eventually becomes the story of Jesus Christ, who came into the world to build us a different kind of ark that would save us from our sins.
6) That ark is called the cross, and we can carry it in our hearts. (Yes, even the closing is a story to snap our eyes and hearts wide open.)
Let Us Pray: God of Noah, thank you for the way you teach us and save us, and call us to do the right things in our lives. Thank you for your Ark, for the cross which saves us. Help us to bring others aboard to hear and obey your message. And all the sons and daughters of Noah say, "ay-ay!"
See my "Science/Storytelling" Workshop in this Noah forum for my "ark-boat building/floating parable project"
Alternative software for Noah:
Noah's story is found to a lesser degree in the Play and Learn Children's Bible CD for Preschoolers-1st. A nice retelling of the story is also found in the Charlie Church Mouse CD. Neither has nearly as much content as Noah & the Ark CD, or as wide an age range.
Please resist the temptation to "cute-i-fy" this Bible lesson with a meaningless animal crafts or computer animal pictures projects.
THIS STORY IS NOT ABOUT CUTE ANIMALS. It's about people, obedience, and their true salvation.
A lesson written by Neil MacQueen from: Sunday Software
Disclosure: I have been the distributor of this CD. The Rotation Board has encouraged me to post my free lesson plans and I'm happy to do so. My work with CE software grew out of my work with the Rotation Model. <>< Neil
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.