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Cooking Workshop

Grades 3-6


Summary of Lesson Activities:

Children will taste things that represent parts of the story. 


Scripture Reference:

The book of Jonah.


Lesson Objectives:

  • To show students that wanting revenge on someone can make you feel miserable
  • To encourage students to reach out to someone they don’t know or might not like
  • To remind the class that God is merciful, even to wicked people


Supplies List:

  • Small paper plates
  • Small paper cups
  • Lemon juice
  • Beef jerky
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Lemonade mix
  • Celery
  • Licorice
  • Small bags of M&M’s
  • Knife

Teacher Preparation:

  • Mix the lemonade(weak and sweet) and salt water in a pitcher or large glass and pour them into the small cups before the class arrives.
  • Also pour the lemon juice into the small cups.
  • Cut the beef jerky, celery, and licorice into small pieces. 




Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

Welcome the students when they arrive. Ask the class if they have ever seen someone do something really wrong and not get punished for it. How did it make them feel? Tell the students that today’s story is about Jonah and how he felt about some people who were behaving in a wicked way.


Dear God, thank you for being a loving and forgiving God. Thank you for showing mercy on us when we sin, especially when we sometimes do things that are very cruel or hurtful. And all God’s children said: AMEN. 


Dig-Main Content and Reflection:

Read the book of Jonah. This is a short book in the Bible and there should be time to allow students to read, if they would like to. If time is short, you may want to read it. For discussion, ask the following questions: Why do you think Jonah ran away from God? Answers will vary. 

  • Why didn’t the sailors want to throw Jonah overboard? (They were afraid God would blame them for killing Jonah)
  • How long was Jonah inside the great fish? (3 days and 3 nights)
  • What did the Ninevites do when Jonah said that God would destroy Nineveh? (Everyone fasted and put on sack cloths)
  • Why do you think Jonah said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”? (Answers will vary)


Ask the students what they think Jonah tasted like to the great fish. It is likely you will get quite a variety of answers. And while the answers will have no bearing on the lesson, they might be fun to listen to.

Tell the class that they are going to taste 6 different items. Tell the students what they will taste before they try it. Encourage them to try each sample but if someone does not want to taste something, that is OK. 

Tell the students that each taste will represent one of the following characters or symbols from the story of Jonah: Jonah, The Sailors, The Great Fish, The People of Nineveh, The vine, and God. If a chalkboard is available, these can be listed so it will be easier for the students to remember them. 

Give each student a paper plate with each of the solid items and paper cups with each of the liquid items. Have them sample the items in the following order: lemon juice, beef jerky, salt water, lemonade(one cup that tastes weak and one cup that tastes sweet), celery and licorice.

After the class has sampled each of the items, have them work as a group to figure out which sample represents each of the characters or symbols written on the chalkboard. Have the class give you all six of their answers at one time. If any of their six answers are incorrect, they have to start over with six new answers. If you start to run out of time, then you should start excepting answers one at a time, eliminating the characters or symbols on the chalkboard that are correct.

Encourage the students to think about the items on the chalkboard. How would they describe them? Have the students think about the items they taste. How would they describe them? Have them see if they can find any similarities between the two groups. Here is a list of the descriptions for each of the characters or symbols from the story. They can be used the give the students clues if they are having difficulty figuring some of them out:

Jonah(Lemon Juice): Jonah was sour. We sometimes say people are sour when they feel anger towards someone on want to get revenge. Jonah was angry at God for not punishing the people of Nineveh, even though they obeyed God and were looking for forgiveness. Jonah was also angry with the vine for dying and taking away his shade, even though he had done nothing to help the vine grow. 

The Sailors(Beef Jerky): We think of sailors as being tough, like beef jerky. We think of the hard work they have to do on the boats and the long periods of time they are at sea. They would also have to have a tough personality to throw someone into the sea, like they did to Jonah. Would you be able to do something like that? But remember that, as tough as these men probably were, they were also afraid that God would be angry with them for throwing Jonah into the sea.

The Great Fish(Salt Water): When we think of a great fish, we would probably think of a whale, even though the Bible does not say that a whale is what ate Jonah. We know that whales live in the ocean. What does sea water taste like?

The People of Nineveh (Lemonade): The people of Nineveh went through a change. At first they were weak of faith and very sinful. Then they repented and became followers of God. These were still the same people but with a stronger faith. The two cups of lemonade are essentially the same except one has more sweetener in it. Just like a little extra sweetener can make a big difference in the taste of lemonade, a stronger faith can make a huge difference in two people who are otherwise pretty similar.


The Vine(Celery): This comparison should be pretty obvious to the class. If you need to give some clues, ask questions like “What does celery look like?” or “How does celery grow?” 

God (Licorice): If you hold a piece of licorice, if is pretty stiff. And yet it is flexible enough to bend it. God is very stiff and rigid in the kind of life He wants us to lead as Christians. But God is also flexible in His judgment of us. God could have very easily punished the people of Nineveh for their sins. But He showed his mercy and compassion by sparing them, just as he shows mercy and forgiveness for us even though we are sinful.

When you are finished playing the game, give each student a small bag of M&M’s. Tell the students that they should give this to someone they don’t know or even someone they may not like. Remind them that in our daily lives we may sin without anyone ever knowing it, but God always knows. And likewise, no one will ever know what you do with the M&M’s. But God will know what you were SUPPOSED to do with them. Tell the class that you would like to hear who they give their M&M’s to, if they would be willing to tell you.



Have the students write the memory verse in their journal. Ask the class to think about someone who has been really cruel to them. Have them tell how they could get this person to stop being cruel in a way that would be acceptable to God.


Dear God, help us to show mercy and kindness to people who are cruel to us as you showed mercy and forgiveness to the people of Nineveh. And all God’s children said: AMEN.



A lesson from Augustana Lutheran Church


A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.


Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

Jonah Cooking Ideas


Posted by Sue

A really fun idea we used in Deb's Diner for our Jonah rotation was to use a pre-baked pizza shell and cut it to resemble a fish. (Cut wedges out to make a tail) Then spread on ready made sauce. We then used a clean paper punch to punch out holes in pepperoni slices for eyes and mouth and added them to the pizza. We had "Jonahs" in the belly of the whale. 


Posted by JoOhrlein


You could also say that Jonah "turned over" control to God instead of running away.
We typically have lots of kids, so instead of making turnovers, we made turnover cookies. They're like turnovers, but with less of a flaky pastry feel and much smaller. Google turnover-cookies for lots of different recipes.


Posted by Snix


We just did a Jonah's Belly Of the Whale Feast. After talking to the kids about how uncomfortable, smelly and generally nasty 3 days in the belly of a fish would be, I had them make a "feast" for the congregation of things Jonah might have had to "eat".


We did Jelly fish salad of small molds of blue jello with blueberries, 3 different plankten dips, (salsa, french onion and a blueberry & cream cheese to compliment the jelly fish), dead fish crackers, seaweed (spinach) salad, fish bones of pretzel sticks, chum salad (tuna) and tummy juice tea. The kids made the foods and labeled everything and the congregation was blown away at after church coffee hour! It was a whale of a good time! (oops....sorry!)

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

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