COMPUTER Workshop Lessons & Ideas for teaching Paul's Conversion

"Paul and the Bright Light"

Computer Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:

The story of Saul's conversion on the Road to Damascus using the Life of Paul Software and Life of Christ Software.


Supplies List:

  • Life of Christ CD
  • Life of Paul CD


Leader Preparation:

  • Gather the materials.
  • Read the story ahead of time.
  • Preview the software.


Lesson Plan


Opening:

Greet the children and introduce yourself.

Open with a prayer.

Opening Advice:
Avoid sanitizing the boldness, drama and personal application out of this story. Paul was a serious and dangerous dude travelling with an armed guard. Jesus knocked him to the ground and accused him of persecuting him personally. Paul went blind until he was baptized, and then went into the desert for three years to figure out what had happened to him! Paul was converted. How are WE converted? See my 'background notes' below for more on the boldness and historicity of this encounter, and for more of my Life Application questions for this story.

There are two pieces of software that I use to teach the story of Saul2Paul. Life of Paul CD (ages 5 to 11) and oddly enough, the Life of Christ CD (ages 9 to adult).

Dig:


1. Life of Paul CD
from the Interactive Bible series (Sunday Software)

This CD's 'main interactive story' is the Road to Damascus story. It also has a short animated videoclip on that story, and narrated text of Acts 9 with a few study notes to consider.

The lesson plan in this post uses the Life of Paul CD. Pictured right is the main menu of that CD with its learning areas. You will not be using all the areas, and the rest of the CD covers his journeys and other stories from the Book of Acts.

2. Life of Christ CD (also available from Sunday Software)

Yes, Life of "Christ" has some Paul content! It's not in the 40 lesson section, but rather, you will find interactive study material about Paul, his journeys, and the Book of Acts in the Bible Books, Bible Timeline, and Bible Maps options on the "Professor's Bookshelf". These materials are slightly interactive, studious, but useful for a directed study on their subjects. By "directed" I mean that you should either go with the students into these materials and talk about what you find, --OR-- create a worksheet for them to fill out that will hold them accountable for material and give them notes for a follow-up discussion with the teacher.

Some computer lab teachers have also been known to PROJECT the Bible Books/Timeline screens from Life of Christ CD on the wall to illustrate their Bible study. (Beats looking at your talking head!)

The lesson plan belows does NOT use Life of Christ CD, however, I mentioned it because many computer workshops own Life of Christ CD, and don't realize it has Paul/Acts content.

I have created detailed outlines of each CD with teaching notes at my software website. I also have a customizable student handout for Life of Paul, though the following lesson will suffice! (See disclaimer below).


Paul and the Bright Light Computer Lesson Plan:

I have removed the lesson plan here for Life of Paul CD because I have UPDATED it at my software site. It is still free.

It now also includes better instructions and a reflection activity.  You can now also print it as a PDF.

The set at my software site also has a free Video, Drama, and Game lesson plan!


A less by Neil MacQueen

Note: I am the author of this lesson plan and distributor of the Life of Paul, and Life of Christ CDs. The Rotation Board has encouraged me to post my free lesson plans and I am happy to do so. My software work grew out of my work developing the Rotation Model. <>< Neil

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

Saul’s Conversion - A Blinding Light!

Computer Workshop


Scripture References:

Acts 9:1-27, page 371-373, Little Kids’ Adventure Bible

Memory Verse:
“Anyone who believes in Christ is a new creation. The old is gone! The new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (page 392 Little Kids’ Adventure Bible)

Themes:
God can change and transform lives

Objectives and Life Application:

  • Children will describe Saul’s persecution of Christians.
  • Children will describe Saul’s conversion experience on the road to Damascus.
  • Children will recognize Paul as an apostle and writer of much of the New Testament.
  • Children will explore God’s use of unusual people to accomplish His purpose.
  • Children will memorize 2 Corinthians 5:17

Preparation and Room Set Up:

  • Review the background information sheets and lesson materials.
  • Preview the software.
  • Insert the CDs and have computers on prior to children’s arrival.
  • Make copies of handouts as needed.


Start on time! Sunday School begins at 9:30 a.m.

Time Guidelines:

Introductions/Opening Prayer: 5 minutes
Bible Passage/Discussion Focus: 10 minutes
Computer Exploration 30 minutes
Large Group Discussion 5 minutes
Reflection/Closing Prayer: 10 minutes

Leader Preparation:

  • Make copies of the handout prior to class - one for each computer group.
  • Load the software on the computers (we have 4 CDs)
  • Divide the children into four groups.


Important Note for Computer Workshop Leaders!
As much as possible, try to sit with your students as you go through the software together. The lesson is not what’s on the computer. It’s what you and the students do with what’s on the computer. Guide your students through the content, encouraging them to slow down and absorb what they are experiencing. Share yourself and facilitate their sharing with each other. Model your enthusiasm for the Word of God.

In this rotation’s lesson, there are several questions that should be answered as the children move through the software. Sitting with the small computer groups will help ensure that children answer and discuss these questions.

Divide the children into groups of two to three at computer stations. Each child should have a turn at the mouse -- you may need to divide the time period to facilitate sharing. This is important! One of the biggest complaints the kids have about the CyberSpace workshop is that they don’t get equal opportunity at the mouse! Christians share!



Lesson Plan


Opening:

Welcome the children and introduce yourself. Remember that all of the children may not know who you are! Make sure you are wearing your name tag and that the children have picked up their nametags from FastPass. Always begin each class with introductions.
Tell the children that today you will be learning about one of the early Christians’ greatest persecutors -- how he turned around from being a man who hated Christians to one of the greatest Christian missionaries who ever lived. All because of what happened on the road to Damascus . . .

Opening Prayer:Pray something like this: “Dear God, Thank you for this day and for all the people who are here today. We thank you for amazing stories like this which teach us that you can truly turn anyone around and make them into new creations.” AMEN

Dig:


Bible Study:
Gather the children at the center table with their Bibles. If children did not bring a personal Bible, use the classroom Bibles. Encourage children to bring their Bibles to Sunday School each week.

Each workshop begins with the Bible passage. One of our primary goals is to improve the children’s Bible literacy! Always tell the children where in the Bible the story is found. The handout “Helping Children Use Bibles in the Classroom” will help you as you guide the children through this part of the lesson.

This rotation’s story is found in the book of Acts. Explain to the children that Acts is short for Acts of the Apostles and the stories here tell about what happened to Jesus’ followers after his death and resurrection. It tells the story of the early church. Acts is a book of history -- the only history book in the New Testament.

For Younger children: Read the story “The Story of Saul Who Became Paul,” on pages 371-374 of The Little Kids’ Adventure Bible.

Bible Notes: Be sure to read the following notes and discuss with the children:

People in Bible Times: Saul/Paul, page 371 -- ** Important -- please explain to children that Saul’s name was not changed by Jesus to Paul -- Saul’s Roman name was Paul -- see background information for details!
Let’s Live It! Power to Change, page 372
People in Bible Times Barnabas, page 373.

For Older children: Have the children locate the scripture lesson in Acts 9. You do not need to read the entire text for this age group. During the computer lesson, the children will read the Acts 9 passage and discuss sections of it in great depth. Make sure the children locate the story and discuss the Bible notes below. Include additional information as you feel appropriate from the Background Information and the Discussion Questions.

Bible Notes: Be sure to read the following notes and discuss with the children:

People in Bible Times: Saul/Paul, Acts 9, page 1281 -- ** Important -- please explain to children that Saul’s name was not changed by Jesus to Paul -- Saul’s Roman name was Paul -- see background information for details!
Let’s Live It! Power to Change, Acts 9:1-31, page 1282.

NOTE: As the rotation progresses, the children will become more familiar with the story. Please encourage them to tell YOU what they know of the story. Then fill in the gaps and take the discussion to a deeper level using the discussion questions and background information.

Ideas for Discussion Questions:
Choose from some of the following discussion questions. You will not have time to ask all of them.

  • What is a Pharisee (religious leader who believed everyone must follow the written and oral laws)
  • What did Saul do to Jesus’ followers and the early Christians? (arrested them, jailed them, killed them)
  • Where do we first hear about Saul in the Bible? (stoning of Stephen)
  • How do you think some of the Christians felt about having Saul with them after he was changed? (worried, didn’t trust him, afraid)
  • Why did Saul have two names? (He had a Jewish name - Saul and a Roman name - Paul because he was a Roman citizen)
  • When did Saul become known as Paul? (when he started traveling later on his missionary journeys to the Gentiles)
  • How do you think Saul felt knowing that he had persecuted Christians before?
  • Paul wrote 13 of the New Testament books of the Bible -- they are letters to new churches. He became known as one of the greatest missionaries. What do you think about God using someone like Saul/Paul to accomplish his purpose?
  • Who did God use to help Paul change? (Ananias, Jesus, other Christians)
  • Do you think God might use you to help someone else change? How?
  • Has God ever used someone to help you change? In what way?
  • How can you tell whether the change is something God wants? (if the change makes you a better person, it is probably something God would want - if it is destructive or wrong it’s not)


Memory Verse: Each rotation we encourage the children to memorize one memory verse. Review the verse with the children at this time.

“Anyone who believes in Christ is a new creation. The old is gone! The new has come!”
2 Corinthians 5:17 (page 392 Little Kids’ Adventure Bible)

Computer Exploration - Grades 1-2, 3-4
Life of Paul CD


Children will explore the story on this software and play some computer games that will reinforce what they have learned.

Insert Life of Paul CD and click on the icon on the desktop.
Click on Paul and the Bright Light.
To have text read, click on the worm on the bottom menu bar.
Click on the right hand finger to advance to the next page.
Pause with the children at the following pages to make sure they understand some key words.

* Page 2 Question: What is the synagogue? (local Jewish places of worship and study - the Temple was only located in Jerusalem)

* Page 3 Question: What does persecuting mean? (killing, throwing in jail, etc.)

* Page 9 Question: Who were Paul’s old friends? (Pharisees -- the Jewish religious leaders, remember Paul was a very important and well-educated Pharisee)

Return to Main Menu.
Click Bible Time Theatre.
Click Road to Damascus.
Click on the green light on the menu bar to begin.
Ask: Did Saul’s friends really run away like the movie shows? (No, they helped him and took him to Damascus since he couldn’t see)

Return to Main Menu.
Click on Hall of Fame.
Click on Life of Paul Exhibit (on right hand side)
Click on and listen to Paul Kills Christians
Click on and listen to Paul Becomes a Christian.
Click on and listen to Paul Escapes in a Basket.

Return to Main Menu.
Click on Fun and Games.
Click on Bible Memory.
Click on 2 Corinthians 5:17 to review our memory verse. (it is written in a different translation, but children should recognize the idea of the verse)

Click on back finger to return to Fun and Games.
Click on Puzzles.
There are three puzzles that relate to today’s lesson -- located on the top row, first 3 puzzles. Children may do one or more of the puzzles as time allows.
Click on one of the three puzzles. (there are 2 difficulty levels. Choose your difficulty level by clicking on the finger at the right hand side of the menu bar)
Grab the puzzle piece and drag into the appropriate spot on the puzzle.

Puzzle One Question:
What is Paul doing in this picture? (persecuting Christians, putting them in jail)

Puzzle Two Question:
What is happening to Saul in this picture?(he sees the light and hears Jesus’ voice)

Puzzle Three Question:
Why is Saul in that basket? (he is escaping the Pharisees who want to kill him now that he is a follower of Jesus)

Return to Main Menu.
Click on Fun and Games.
Click on Word Games. (the audio instructions are not working - but you will need to wait while the animated figure “talks.” Once he is finished, 3 words will appear on the left hand side of the screen.
Find the words on the left in the scrambled letters.
Click on the letters to spell out the words (you have to do them in order)
Once you have clicked on all the letters in the first word, click on the word to the left (it will ding, highlight the word and put a check mark beside it -- you can’t omit this step or it won’t work)
Proceed with the other two words.
There are about 8 different series of words that the children can play.

If you have extra time:
Have children use KidPix to type in the Rotation Memory Verse.
They can click audio to have the verse read back to them.
Or, children can type in their memory verse and illustrate it.

Computer Exploration - Grades 5-6

Life Application Bible Exploration
Insert CD.
Click on icon on desktop.
Close trivia window.
(Screen will open with a split screen - Bible will appear on left with Genesis in topic area)
Type in Acts 9 - enter.
Read the scripture - Saul’s Conversion Acts 9:1-25.
Click on the suggested “Insight diamonds” (the right hand side of the screen will pop up with information to help children understand the scripture in more depth) Have children read the insight comments and answer the worksheet questions as they go along. Some of the questions may require discussion in their small group. Tell the children that after they have spent time in their small groups, the entire class will come back together to discuss their answers to these questions.

Insight Diamonds to Read:

Acts 9:2
Who were “Followers of the Way?” ____________________. (Christians, believers in Christ)

Acts 9:2-5
Sometimes God breaks into life in a dramatic way as he did with Saul on the Damascus Road. Sometimes conversion is more quiet or gradual. The right way to come to faith in Jesus is whatever way __________. (God brings you)

Group Question:
How has God gotten your attention before?
Acts 9:3
By stamping out Christianity in Damascus, Saul may have thought he could prevent ________________ (its spread to other areas).

Acts 9:3-5
Paul did not see a vision, he saw ______________________ (the risen Christ, Jesus Christ) himself.
True conversion leads to _________________ (new and changed life)

Acts 9:5
Saul was persecuting _________ (Jesus) himself, not heretics as he thought.

Acts 9:13
What did Ananias think about the possibility of Saul becoming a Christian? (he thought it would be impossible)

Group Question:
Why do you think God would use such an unlikely person such as Saul to take his message to the world?

Acts 9:15-16
Faith in Christ brings many blessings but is no guarantee against suffering. “God promises to be with us ____________ (through) suffering and hardship, not to spare us from them.”

Click on link to 2 Corinthians 11:23-27. List some of the sufferings Paul endured:
put in _________ (jail)
5 times received ___________________ (39 lashes)
3 times ______________ (beaten) with rods
once ___________ (stoned)
3 times _______________ (shipwrecked)

(To navigate back, click on the back arrow at the top menu bar.)

Acts 9:17
Ananias greeted Saul lovingly, calling him “Brother.” How are we to respond to other believers, even when we are afraid or doubt their motives? with ______________ (loving acceptance)

Saul in Damascus and Jerusalem:
Acts 9:21-22
Two things made Saul’s arguments very powerful. He was a __________ (brilliant scholar) and his ___________ (life) was changed.

Group Question:
Paul didn’t just “talk the talk -- he walked the walk” too. How do you show others that you are a believer? What evidence do others see when they watch you?

Scroll to top on left hand side of screen - Saul’s Conversion.

Click on Art: Saul meets Jesus on the Road to Damascus
Click on Photo: Straight St. in Damascus
Click on Art: Saul escapes from Damascus
Click on Art/Photo icon on top menu bar
Click Photos on right side of screen
Scroll down to Damascus City Wall and click
Click on Personality Profile: Paul. Read this section.

Group Question:
God used all of Paul to accomplish his purpose in the world. Are you willing to let God do the same for you? How do you think God might use you -- your strengths and weaknesses?

Large Group Discussion (Grades 5-6):
Once children have completed the computer exploration and worksheets, have them return to the center tables. Discuss the different groups’ answers to the worksheet questions. Be willing to share your own personal answers to these questions as well. This discussion will serve as a bridge into Journal time.

Reflection:

(All Groups): The last 10 minutes should be reserved for Journal Reflection time. This is an opportunity for processing and reflection about what the children have learned. Ask the shepherds to pass out the journals and pencils/pens and the journal question sticker for the day. Workshop leaders and shepherds should sit down with children in small groups to facilitate discussion and writing in Faith Journals. Adults should write in journals as well. Memory verse stickers are also included for each lesson. Children may copy the memory verse and illustrate it as an alternative to journal questions.

Journal Questions:
Grades 1-2:
Saul heard Jesus’ voice and saw a great light. Draw a picture of what you think this looked like.
Grades 3-4: What do you think Saul was thinking while he was blind in Damascus for 3 days?
Grades 5-6: After Saul met the risen Jesus he was a changed man. His life was totally different. How do others know that you are a believer? What in your life is evidence of it?

Extra Activity: If you have extra time, review the memory verse with the children.

Closing Prayer: Encourage the children to come back next week for another workshop, and to invite their friends. Remind them to bring their Bibles. Ask for prayer requests and pray together.

Clean-up: Help the Shepherd collect Journals and nametags and put away. Clean up computer stations replacing CDs in correct cases. Shut down computers.

Release children only to parents, older siblings, or by prior arrangement with parents. Make sure parents sign their children out on class clipboards.


A lesson from State Street UMC – G.R.E.A.T. Adventure

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

Saul's Conversion

Radio Show


Summary of Lesson Activities:

The teacher is the host of a radio show called “This is Your Life”. (There used to be a TV show where people were invited onto the show, and the story of their life would be narrated to them based on interviews with people from their past). As a class, you will produce a radio episode “This is Your Life, Saul”.

Radio Show Background:
Making radio shows has become a top request in our computer workshop.  We use the free audio recording program called audacity.  This program and website provides plenty of instructions on how to use the software - its really quite simple and easy to use!  Kids record their own voices as radio hosts/guests/commercial spots/theme songs/etc.  The teacher helps guide the process and if time allows we add sound effects.  After class the teacher completes any remaining edits to the sound file and then emails the final project to the families of the students involved.  Kids love making them and we get rave reviews of families listening to them together.  It is quite possible that our computer workshop will become largely devoted to this style of teaching!

Lesson Objective:

As students create a radio show they will look at the story from the perspective of lots of different characters to highlight just how dramatic (miraculous!) Saul’s change of heart was.


Characters:

Listed in order of importance to the activity – assign as many as you have students in your class:

  • Saul
  • A traveling companion
  • Ananias
  • Jesus
  • Stephen
  • A Christian who heard Saul preach at the synagogue in Damascus after his conversion
  • Modern-day person who has read of Paul
  • The high priest
  • Judas (the man who owned the house Saul stayed at)
  • A Christian besides Stephen who had been persecuted by Saul


Lesson Plan


Opening:

Assign parts to the students. Explain that you will a read part of Saul’s story from the Bible, and then record an interview with the characters from that part. Then you will move on to another part, until everyone has been interviewed. You will introduce the characters on air (allow for applause) before each interview and thank them for their contribution before introducing the next character. You will occasionally get Saul’s input as you interview other characters.  

If there is time, have the kids chose a snappy theme song to introduce the show or create a commercial to run during the show.  

You are the host of the show. Keep an eye on the time and be sure to get to every character and finish the story.

Dig:


Basic Radio Script Outline 

<RECORD> 

Say: Welcome to “This is Your Life”. Our special guest today is Saul of Tarsus, also known as Paul the apostle. (Have the kids loudly applaud). He started out by being a terrible persecutor of the early church, but after a miraculous transformation he became one of the church’s greatest preachers and writers. How did this happen? Let’s talk to some of the people in Paul’s life to answer this question. 

<PAUSE> 

Ask the class what they know about Stephen – fill in the gaps. Stephen loved Jesus and believed that He was the Savior. There were many who didn’t believe this, and they got so mad that they stirred up others to tell lies about Stephen so that they could kill him. The high priest and the other Jewish leaders put him on trial, and when Stephen preached about Jesus, they were very angry.

Read Acts 7:54-8:3 (Or listen to it on the Illustrated Bible video included on your laptop). Tell “Stephen” and “Saul” to pay special attention. 

Call up “Stephen” and “Saul” and start recording your first interview. You may wish to show students the questions you will ask them and briefly discuss answers with them if they are unsure. Make sure the whole class is quiet and listening when you start recording. 

<RECORD> 

Say: Stephen is an early believer in Christ who was stoned to death for his faith.

  • Why did you keep telling people about Jesus even though you knew that some people might harm you for that?
  • Saul was there when you were stoned – what did you think of him?
  • What do you think Jesus thought of Saul?

Say: Saul, you were at Stephen’s murder and did nothing to stop it. Why did you feel so strongly that Stephen should be stoned? Now that you are a Christian, how do you feel about your actions?  

<PAUSE> 

Read Acts 9:1-2. Tell “the arrested Christian” and “Caiaphas” to pay special attention.

Call up “the arrested Christian” (ask them for a pretend name) and “Caiaphas”. 

<RECORD> 

Say: (make up a name) was an early Christian whom Saul arrested and put into jail. 

  • What did you think about what Saul was doing to you and your family and friends? 
  • What do you think about Saul later becoming a leader in the early church?

Say: Caiaphas was the high priest who wrote letters for Saul, allowing him to arrest Christians.

  • Were you happy with the work he did persecuting the Christians? 
  • What did you think when you heard that Saul actually became a Christian?
     

<PAUSE> 

Read Acts 9:3-9. Tell “Saul’s traveling companion” and “Jesus” to pay special attention.

Ask the class:

  • What happened to Saul along the road? 
  • Could they hear Jesus talking to Saul? (no – just a sound). 

Call up “Saul’s traveling companion” (ask them for a made-up name) and “Jesus”. 

<RECORD> 

Say: (make up a name) was with Saul as he traveled to Damascus. 

  • What happened as you traveled with Saul? 
  • Saul was now blind—what did you think was going on? 

Say: Now, we are going to interview a very special person in Saul’s story – Jesus! (extra loud applause) 

  • What did you say to Saul alongside the road to Damascus? 
  • Saul was doing some pretty nasty things to the people who believed in you. Why in the world did you use him to become a great preacher and writer?  

<PAUSE> 

Read Acts 9:10-19a. Tell “Judas”, “Ananias”, and “Saul” to pay special attention. 

  • We don’t have these details, but Judas was probably a Jew who didn’t believe in Jesus. 
  • Ananias said that he came so that Saul would be able to see again and also be filled with the Holy Spirit. Did Saul have the Holy Spirit before, when he was persecuting Christians? 

Call up “Judas”, “Ananias”, and “Saul”. 

<RECORD> 

Say: This is Judas of Damascus. He let Saul stay at his home while he was still blind. 

  • What did you think about Saul’s miraculous turn-around?

Say: Please welcome Ananias, who had a very important job from God. He had to go to Saul and give him a message. 

  • Ananias, what did you think about this mission from God? 
  • Why did you go speak to Saul even though you didn’t want to—after all, you could have ended up in prison or even dead!? 

Say: Saul, why did you get baptised after your eyes were healed? What would you like to say to Ananias—especially about the role he played in your miraculous transformation?  

<PAUSE> 

Read Acts 9:19b-22. Tell “the synagogue listener” and “the modern day Christian” to pay special attention. 

Call up “the synagogue listener” (ask them for a made-up name) and the “modern day Christian” (use their real name).


A lesson from member ZBCC

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

 

Re: Paul Radio Program

This is a good idea for a Drama Workshop too. --a twist on the "Newsroom" workshop idea.

I did something similar with the Creation story, --having sound effect "props" and sounds made by kids on cue.  The kids worked them into the script like a radio show. We simply recorded it on a laptop and burned copies to CDs to take home.

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