Drama or Puppet Lessons, Ideas, and Activities for Teaching The Ten Commandments in Sunday School.

Post your drama or puppet lessons, ideas, and activities for teaching the Ten Commandments in Sunday School. 

The Ten Commandments, Exodus 20, Tablets, Mount Sinai, Wilderness, etc.
 
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Original Post

The Ten Commandments

Drama Workshop

 

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Children will use puppets to act out scenarios that violate the ten commandments.  

 

Scripture Reference:

Ex. 20:3-17

Lesson Objectives:

  • Students will learn the commandments.
  • Students will understand which commandments tell them how to love and glorify God.
  • Students will learn which commandments tell them how to love each other.
  • Younger students will come to know God’s will by understanding the basic commandments.
  • Older students will come to know the will of God by understanding the broader meaning of each commandment.
  • Students will be able to recognize day to day situations that call them to contrition and call them to ask for God’s forgiveness.


Concept:

God gave Moses the Ten Commandments to tell the people how God wanted them to live. He knew that all men needed to make changes in their lives if they were to experience that fullness of life, which God always intended them to have. Some of these laws tell us how to worship God and to show our love for Him, while others tell us how we should love and live in harmony with each other.


Leader Preparation:

  • Have the Ten Commandments posted on the wall. Use large script so that they may be read easily.
  • Gather the materials.
  • Read the scripture ahead of time.

Supplies List:

  • Hand puppets will be used to present the scenarios to the younger children. You will need at least two adults for this. Scenarios are very short and require no props or scenery.
  • Copies of the scenarios.


 

Presentation

 

Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

Greet the children and introduce yourself.

 

Open with a prayer.

 

Dig-Main Content and Reflection: 

  • Ask students to review the commandments. If it is the first workshop, read the scripture.( Ex. 20:3-17 )
  • Have students identify which commandments tell us how to love God and which ones command us to love each other.
  • Ask students why God gave Moses the Ten Commandments.
  • Distribute scenarios to older students. Assign parts. Tell students to listen carefully to each scene and then decide which commandment has been violated and how. Next, ask what they would have done in each situation that would have been in keeping with that commandment. (Some scenarios might violate more than one commandment.)
  • For younger children: After each scene ask them what occurred and discuss with them the commandment that was broken. Ask them what they could do in each situation to keep the commandment.


Closing:

Have students sit quietly for a few minutes and think about those things in their lives that make it hard for them to keep the commandments. Think about what they can begin to do in order to make changes in those areas.

Prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for caring so much about us and for the plan you have for us to lead a life that is full of joy and peace and love. When we understand and follow the laws you gave to Moses a long time ago, we will be experiencing that fullness. We do not always keep your commandments. We ask for your forgiveness and ask that you help us to know what you expect of us in difficult situations.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.



 

Scenarios:

First person dials telephone.
Second person answers: Hello.
First person: Hi! Are you going to the movies with us this
afternoon?
Second person: My mother says I can’t go because I need to clean the
garage before Aunt Jane comes. Mom’s just being a
stupid witch about this whole thing. She knew how
badly I wanted to see that movie. She’s crazy if she
thinks I’m going to work away the afternoon just
because she’s too lazy to do the cleaning herself.


1st child: How did you do on your report card?
2nd child: I got a D, but I shouldn’t have. My English teacher, Mr.
Schultz is a real jerk and I told him he was a jerk right
to his face.
1st child: Didn’t you get into trouble?
2nd child: Yeah, but the principal is such a pea brain that he
probably won’t do anything about it.


Parent to child: I want you to come straight home from school this
afternoon.
Child: I can’t. I’m going to Pete’s to hang out for a while.
Parent: No, I want you to come home to watch your brother while I go
to the dentist.
Child: I have to watch him all the time. He’s not my child, he’s
yours, and you should take care of him. I’m not going to
come home.


1st person: Did you se that new kid in school today?
2nd person: You mean the funny looking one with the big ears and red
bushy hair?
1st person: Yeah! He must have rats living in that hair; and did you
get a load of how he talked! He sounds like a real
hillbilly and dresses like one too.
2nd person: Yeah, he’s a real geek. I certainly don’t want him for a
lab partner.


1st person: Would you like to come to my pool party Saturday?
2nd person: Sure. Sounds like fun. Who else is coming?
1st person: Oh, Jan, Sue, Carol, Jim, John, Dan, and all the kids in
our Sunday school class except Kim, I can’t stand her.
I hate all Oriental people with their slanted eyes and
dark skin. They aren’t the same as we are.


1st person: (to one who has jostled him) Hey, what’s wrong with you,
you clumsy oaf? Can’t you see two feet in front of
yourself? What’s wrong, four eyes, aren’t those glasses
doing their job or are they just there to enhance your
ugliness?


1st person: Do you know what Sue did to me?
2nd person: No, tell me.
1st person: She said she would go to the movies with me yesterday,
but she called and told me she was sick and couldn’t make
it. I decided I would go play miniature golf instead of
going to the movie and when I got there, Sue was there
with Holly.
2nd person: What did you do?
1st person: Well, I walked up to her and said, “I thought you were
sick”, and she said, “Well, I guess I got caught”, and
then she laughed and walked away.
2nd person: Wow! I bet you were mad.
1st person: I was and I still am. I’m going to get even with her if
it’s the last thing I ever do. I’m going to make her pay.


Liz: Joe and I are looking for an apartment. We need a place that
is close to both our offices and a place that will let Joe keep
his dog. Do you know of a place?
Friend: No, I don’t know of any place off hand, but I guess
congratulations are in order. I had no idea you and Joe
were getting married. When is the big day?
Liz: Oh, we’re not getting married. We just decided it made more
sense to live together for a couple of years. We can save some
money and see what happens. We don’t want to rush into
anything.


Dana: Carl, I’m very unhappy with our marriage. We don’t
communicate most of the time and we don’t have fun anymore.
I just don’t think I want to be married to you anymore.
Carl: I’m not happy either, Dana. There is a girl at work who
really understands me. She’s a lot of fun and I find myself
wanting to be with her more and more. I think we should get
divorced and give ourselves a chance to be happy again.


Gene: Hey, guys! My parents are out for the evening and I’ve got
this X rated movie my friend gave me that I’m dying to see.
Want to come over and watch it with me?
The guys: Do we ever! What time do you want us there?


George: Do you know Susie Croft?
Sam: Yeah, I’ve seen her around. Boy, is she really built!
George: Is she ever! What I wouldn’t do to get her alone
somewhere. I daydream about it all the time.


Jill: Marsha, I’m pregnant with Ron’s baby and he doesn’t want to
get married. He says we are too young to be saddled with a
child.
Marsha: That certainly is a shocker, Jill. What are you going to do?
Jill: Ron gave me the money and I’m having an abortion this
afternoon. It’s the simplest way for all of us.


Jenny: I was sick last night and didn’t feel like studying for our
math exam today. I’m really having a hard time understanding
that last chapter. Are you?
Friend: No, I think I’ll be okay. I haven’t had a problem lately
and I had plenty of time to study for the exam.
Jenny: I sit behind you in class and if I get stuck, could I just
tap you on the back and maybe your could move to the side so
I could see your answers?
Friend: I don’t think that would be the right thing to do. What if
we get caught?
Jenny: Please do this for me if you ‘re really my friend. I
couldn’t help it if I was sick. You know I would do the same
for you.
Friend: Well, okay, but we need to have a plan.


Tom: Someone broke into the school last night and smashed all the
lockers, messed up all the files, and broke a lot of
furniture. The police are questioning everyone.
Friend: Yeah, I know. They questioned me. I told them I didn’t
know anything about it; I don’t want to get in any trouble
with them. I know who did it though, but I won’t squeal on
them.


Mary: I have to go to the store to buy some typing paper. I’m
almost out of it.
Friend: Oh, I’ll give you as much typing paper as you need.
Mary: I don’t want to use up all of your paper. Besides, it’s too
expensive.
Friend: Don’t worry about it. It doesn’t cost anything. They have
piles of it at work and I just bring home what I need. I
never have to buy paper, pencils, or any office supplies.


John: Hey, Jack! Are you washing your car again today? Didn’t you
just do it yesterday?
Jack: Yes, but I drove through some mud and got the tires all dirty.
John: Don’t we have a water usage ban in effect? We are so low on
water they say we might not have enough to drink in a few
weeks.
Jack: Yeah, but I don’t care. This water I’m using won’t make any
difference anyway.


1st person: I’m giving ½ of my allowance this week to the church
mission fund.
2nd person: That’s a lot isn’t it? I work hard for my money and I’m
not going to part with it unless it’s something really
important.


1st person: I’ve enjoyed our Sunday school class so much. It has inspired me to devote some time each day to meditate and pray.
2nd person: I don’t have time to do all that. I have so many
activities I’m involved in at school, and I don’t want to
give up any of them.


1st person: Would you like to go to the movies with me on Friday evening?
2nd person: Wait just a minute. Let me see what my horoscope says.
1st person: You have got to be kidding. You don’t really believe in
that stuff, do you?
2nd person: I surely do. I don’t do anything without consulting the
stars. If it says I shouldn’t do something, then I
don’t.


1st person: What is wrong with you? You seem to be very upset.
2nd person: The big game is tonight and I left my lucky pig at home.
If I don’t talk to my pig and ask him to bring me luck,
we won’t win the game.
1st person: You believe that really works?
2nd person: Oh, yeah. I talk to my pig all the time, and he helps
me. I even thank him when things go right. If I don’t
have him with me all the time I get into trouble.


1st person: Are you cooking something for lunch?
2nd person: Yeah, I’m frying hamburgers.
1st person: I think they might be burning; I smell smoke.
2nd person: Oh my God! They are burned and the skillet is ruined.


1st person: I’ll see you in church Sunday, right?
2nd person: I don’t know if I’ll be there or not. I think I’ll sleep
in late and then go to brunch.


1st person: Did you hear Joe yelling at Sam?
2nd person: He was really angry, wasn’t he?
1st person: He surely was. He called Sam all kind of names and told
him where to go in no uncertain terms. I won’t repeat
what he said.


1st person: Can you come over to visit after church tomorrow?
2nd person: No, I’m leaving church early because I have so much work
to do. I want to clean my house and wash the car and
wash the dog.


1st person: Hey, did you hear about what happened to Betty?
2nd person: No, do you have some dirt on her?
1st person: Boy, do I ever. Listen up!


1st person: I broke the remote controller to the TV this morning and
Mom and Dad are going to be really mad.
2nd person: How did you do that?
1st person: I put it on the floor and forgot about it. When I got up
I stepped on it. I won’t say anything when Mom asks me
what happened to it. Maybe she will think either John or
Jim did it. We will all say we didn’t do it and they
will never know who really did it.


1st person: Mom, can I have a Gucci handbag? I would love to have a
red one.
Mom: No, they are very expensive and you can find something just as
serviceable for a lot less money.
1st person: Mom, please. I’ve got to have it. Everybody who is
anybody has one. I don’t know what I’ll do if I can’t
have it. Please, I want it so bad. Everyone has one.
Even Jenny has one. You just want me to be different.


Don: Do you know Janice Peak?
Rich: Isn’t she Joe’s girlfriend?
Don: Yes, but I think she is really special. I wish she was my
girlfriend. I can’t get her out of my mind, and I’m going to
do everything I can do to take her away form him.
Rich: You are going out with Millie right now, and she is a very
nice girl.
Don: I know, but I want Janice.


Younger Children:


Moderator: Joan and Jerry are getting married, saying their wedding
vows.
Joan: Jerry, I promise to stay married to you all my life and I will
never leave you for another man.
Jerry: Joan, I promise to stay married to you all my life also and
to help take care of you and any children we may have
Moderator: Three years after Joan and Jerry were married we over
hear this conversation.
Joan: Jerry, I’m sorry, but I met another man and I love him. I
don’t love you anymore.
Jerry: I’m very hurt, Joan, but I guess you don’t want to be married
to me anymore.
Joan: No, I don’t, so I’m moving out of the house so I can be with
John.


1st person: Did you know John got into a fight last night?
2nd person: No. What happened? Was he hurt?
1st person: He and another person were fighting over something very
silly. I think it was about whom should have the last
cookie on the plate. Anyway, the other guy hit John and
pushed him so hard he fell down and hit his head on the
table. He couldn’t get up, so they took him to the
hospital and they don’t think he will live.
2nd person: All that because of a little fight over something so
stupid.


1st person: Did you read in today’s newspaper about the woman who was
arguing with her boyfriend? She was carrying a gun and
she shot him three times.
2nd person: She must have hated him very much to shoot him.
1st person: Yes, and she let that hatred be the cause of taking
another person’s life.


Father: What is that all over your clothes? And look, it’s all over
the kitchen table too.
Child: I wanted to make my toys a different color.
Father: Let me see what you have done. Oh my, it’s red paint!
Didn’t I tell you to never open the paint, that it is not a
plaything?
Child: I guess so.
Father: Your clothes are ruined and so is the table.


Mother to child: I want you to pick up your toys now.
Child: (whining) I don’t want to do it right now; I’m tired.
Mother: I’m going to put the laundry away and when I get back I
expect the toys to be up. (Mother leaves the room.)
Mother: (coming back) Your toys are still exactly where they were
when I left here. Didn’t I tell you to put them away?
Child: I told you I didn’t want to pick them up. You do it.



1st person: Come on Lillie. Let’s say prayers before we eat.
Lillie: Who hears your prayers?
1st person: Well, I pray to God and He hears my prayers.
2nd person: I don’t want to pray to your God. I’m going to pray to
the moon and the sun.
1st person: Lillie, you can’t pray to the moon. The moon can’t hear
you.
Lillie: Well, I can’t see your God, but I can see the moon. Hey, I
know. Let’s make our own God out of modeling clay and then
we can see to whom we are praying.


1st person: Jennie yelled at me today when I accidentally stepped on
her toe.
2nd person: Oh yes, I heard her. She really said some bad words to
you and she called you some bad names, too.
1st person: She cursed me and that’s something my mom told me never
to do.


1st person: Can you stand on your head?
2nd person: Nope, but I wish I could. Can you?
1st person: Sure. Watch me. (Stands on head.)
2nd person: Oh my God, can you teach me to do that?


Jane: Sarah, I’ll see you at Sunday school and church on Sunday,
okay?
Sarah: I’m not going this week. I’m going to sleep late and them
I’m going to a party. I might not be in church for a long
time because I’d rather play with my friends.


Mother: Tommy, have you been eating candy?
Tommy: No, I haven’t.
Mother: What is that brown stuff all over your face?
Tommy: I don’t know. Probably nothing.
Mother: Let me see. Just as I thought. You have been eating
chocolate candy.


1st person: Amy told me it was okay for me to come to her house for a
sleep over last night. But guess what happened?
2nd person: I don’t know. Did she get sick and have a tummy ache?
1st person: No. When I called to see what time I should be there,
her mother told me Amy had not asked permission to
have anyone over.
2nd person. What did you do?
1st person: I didn’t get to go so I was really disappointed and I
cried too. I had already packed my suitcase.


Terry: Mom, I want a dolly just like Kelly’s.
Mom: You can’t have a dolly like Kelly’s because you don’t have any
money.
Terry: I want a dolly just like Kelly’s. I want it really, really
much. Could you buy it for me, Mommy?
Mom: No, I can’t. The doll is too expensive, and besides, you have
many dolls, in your room you don’t even play with.
Terry: (Louder) I want that dolly. I want that dolly.
Mom: Quiet, Terry. I said no.
Terry: (Crying and screaming) I want that dolly. I want Kelly’s
dolly.


1st person: I really wish I had a pair of shoes like yours. They are
really pretty.
2nd person: Thank you. I think they are pretty too.
1st person: I mean I really want those shoes. Will you trade shoes
with me?
2nd person: No, I don’t want to.
1st person: (muttering under his or her breath) I’ve got to have
those shoes. I have to find a way to get them.


A lesson written by rotation.org member pajs from: Desoto Presbyterian Church

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

 

The Ten Commandments

Drama Workshop 

Summary of Lesson Activities:
Children will learn about the Ten Commandments through discussion, repetition and acting.

Scripture Reference:
Exodus 20:1-17

Memory Verse:
Jeremiah 31:33b (CEV),
"I will write my laws on their hearts and minds. I will be their God, and they will be my people."

Concepts:

  • People are precious to God so we should love and care for other people.
  • God gives us rules to show us how to live with God and with others.


Lesson Objectives:

  • The class will understand how God’s commandments help us live together by acting out a modern interpretation of each commandment.
  •  Children will watch a movie of their acting out the commandments.

Teacher preparation in advance:

  • Read the scripture passages and attend the Faith Quest Leaders Bible Study.
  • Prepare a closing prayer.
  • Gather props.
  •  Check out the room before your first Sunday workshop so that you know where everything is located. Have all the equipment set up and ready to go.


Supply List:

  • Props as desired, suggested items: statue, bibles, chairs, rolling pin and bowl, wedding veil, top hat, stocking or mask, assorted toys
  • Video camera, TV/VCR, tape, tripod extension cord, blank tape


Presentation 

Opening-Welcome and Introductions:
Greet the children and introduce yourself. Wear your nametag. 

Explain that the class will be acting out the Ten Commandments and then watching a movie of their creation. 

Dig-Main Content and Reflection:

Scripture/Bible Story:

  1. Ask the students to use their Bibles to locate the scripture (Exodus 20:1-17). Make sure all the children are able to locate the passage. Assist the children having trouble. Once all children have located the passage, read it together as a group. They may take turns reading or you can read it to them. You may choose to have two “stone” tablets made out of poster board with the 10 commandments written on them for a prop.
  2. Discuss each commandment briefly explaining each and giving examples. The first week or two of the rotation you may need to explain and give examples more; by the end of the rotation the children will be volunteering examples.


The Ten Commandments:

  1. Do not worship any god except me.
  2. Do not make idols.
  3. Do not misuse my name.
  4. Remember the Sabbath Day.
  5. Respect your father and mother.
  6. Do not murder.
  7. Be faithful in marriage.
  8. Do not steal.
  9. Do not tell lies about others.
  10. Do not want anything that belongs to someone else.


Application:
For this skit a narrator is needed who can be a child who reads well or an adult (may be needed for younger classes). Several children can rotate being narrator if there are many eager volunteers. One to three children are needed to act out each commandment; most children will act in more than one scene. Group children into threes and assign one or more commandments to each. One way to organize would be to write the commandment number and acting directions on index cards and give the card the to the group of children who will be acting out that commandment. Practice the reading and acting two or three times then film with video camera. Be creative, feel free to add, subtract, or change the actions. The older children may want to make up their own actions to dramatize the commandments.
A student or shepherd can be the camera person.

The Ten Commandments:
Narrator: The first commandment says, “Do not worship any god except me”.
Action: 3 or more children fold their hands in prayer and say “Thank you God for giving us rules to help us be good Christians, Amen,”

Narrator: The second commandment says, “Do not make idols. This means that you should worship and love God, not things or statues.”
Action: One or two children pretend to pray to a “silver statue” (stuffed animal covered with foil to look like a statue or other statue prop). Another child steps in, removes the statue and says, “We can talk to God without fancy statues. God always hears us.”
Props: statue

Narrator: The third commandment says, “Do not misuse my name which means do not say bad things about God or use God’s name in a bad way”
Action: One child pretends to be angry (balled up first, mad face, sputtering and about to curse, etc). Other children pretend shock/surprise and cover their mouths, then one child says to the angry child, “When you are mad instead of cursing we can ask God for help.” All children pretend to pray.

Narrator: The fourth commandment says, “Remember the Sabbath Day which means that we should set aside time to rest and remember all that God has done for us.”
Action: Children pretend to be a family, gather Bibles and get in car and drive to church.
Props: Bibles, chairs

Narrator: The Fifth commandment says, “Respect your father and mother which means we should listen to our parents and learn from them.”
Action: One child pretends to be a parent to two other children and tells them, “Today I am going to teach you how to make bread so that when you are older you will know how”.
Props: cooking supplies

Narrator: The sixth commandment says, “Do not murder”.
Action: One child holding a toy sword pretends to be angry with another child. A third child steps in, takes the sword away and says, “Killing is wrong. “
Props: toy sword

Narrator: The seventh commandment says “Be faithful in marriage” which means a husband and wife should love and be true to each other.
Action: Two children pretend to be bride and groom. Another child is the minister and says, “You are now husband and wife”. Bride and groom shake hands.
Props: veil, top hat

Narrator: The eighth commandment says, “Do not steal”.
Action: One child dressed as robber (stocking cap or stocking over face etc.) pretends to steal something and is apprehended by police officer who says “Stealing is wrong and against the law”.
Props: hat or stocking etc.

Narrator: The ninth commandment says “Do not tell lies about others.”
Action: One child pretends to whisper a secret to several others, one of the children responds by saying “that isn’t true, we shouldn’t tell a lie.”

Narrator: The last commandment says that we should not want anything that belongs to someone else which means we should not be jealous of other people.
Action: One child is carrying several toys; another child has only one toy. The child with one toy says, “Hey, you have a lot of toys and I just have this one. That’s okay though, I like my toy. Do you want to play?”

After taping the action, gather the children together to watch their creation!

Reflection Time:
Ask the shepherds to pass out the journals and pencils/markers. Suggestion: You may wish to give the children a sticker or some memento to paste in their journal as a reminder of the story or activity.

Prompts for journal writing: Write or draw about a commandment that you could follow at home with your family.

Closing:
Prayer: Lead a prayer. Give thanks to God for giving us rules and showing us how to love God, our friends, and families better.

Tidy and Dismissal: Ask children to help tidy up. Put props in box back on the stage.


References:

  • Don’t Just Sit There: Bible Stories That Move For You Ages 6-8. Abingdon Press. 1997
  • Curriculum writer’s Bible study notes by Lori Houck June 16, 2002

A lesson written by Catherine from: Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church
Cary, NC 

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

The Ten Commandments: the Law Is Given and Forgotten

Drama Workshop

 

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Uses an adapted script to tell the story of the ten commandments.


Scripture Reference:

Exodus 20:1-17, Deuteronomy 5:1-22 (Exodus 15-34)

Lesson Objectives:
At the end of the session, the students will be able to

  • find the book of Exodus in the Old Testament.
  • list all 10 Commandments in their own words.
  • retell the story of Moses on Mount Sinai and the subsequent episode with the golden calf.
  • understand that God loves us, no matter how awful our behavior is.

 

Background comments on the story:

As you prayerfully contemplate the story and prepare to teach:

  • Take the time to read all of Exodus as a single adventure story. (If time is short, read Exodus 15:22 - 20:21, 24:12-18, 31:18 - 32:35.)
  • Note that all of the commandments are written in the second person, directed to the reader/listener: you should or should not, not one should or should not. God speaks directly to us. 
  • This story shows the grace of God in that He continued to love His people and to help them when they were in need, even though they mistrusted and misbehaved again and again. (Psalm 106 summarizes this history rejection and forgiveness.)
  • For more insight into the reverence in which the Law was held, read Psalm 19: 7-14. 
  • When God says to Moses that He is ready to give up on "your" people, He makes the same promise to Moses that he made to Abraham ("I will make you and your descendants a great nation"). Compare Exodus 32: 10 to Genesis 12: 2.
  • While Aaron is giving in to the people and making a god for them, Moses is standing up to God! They may be brothers, but once again we see that they are not alike.

 

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture and the script ahead of time.
  • Gather the materials.

Supplies List:

  • Posterboard for two tablets
  • markers
  • golden calf (posterboard cutout decorated with plastic jewels)
  • Bible time costumes
  • cloud (drape white nylon net loosely around the student portraying God)
  • tent to represent the Israelite camp.


 

Presentation

 

Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

Greet the children and introduce yourself.

 

Open with a prayer.

Early arrival activities: make a golden calf out of posterboard and decorate it.

Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
Tell the story (adaptation follows)
Read the scripture: Exodus 20: 1-21

Discuss:
Characters: Moses, God, Israelites, Aaron, Miriam
Where did story take place: the Israelites' camp at the foot of Mount Sinai, on Mount Sinai
List the 10 Commandments: have children state them in their own words. (It's okay if they are not in order, although you may want to point out that the first three deal with our relationship with God.) Write them on 2 pieces of posterboard cut in tablet shapes (to be used as props when acting out the story).

Warm-up exercises:
As a group, mime the people's fear at God rumbling on Mount Sinai, people grumbling,
Moses carrying stone tablets (are they heavy?) and Moses' anger at the gold calf.
Practice grumbling. Practice saying together, "We will do everything that the Lord has said."

Assign parts. Decide where the camp is and where "up on the mountain" is. Direct the students through the scenes using the following guide, encouraging them to improvise the action and dialog. Discuss other things which can be added to drama, and if time permits, reassign parts and act it out again.

Pulling it all together (closing discussion):

  • What are the Ten Commandments? (Belonging to God: A First Catechism (PCUSA) question number 18.)

The Ten Commandments are the law of God. When God gave them to Moses, God said, I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery:
(1) You shall have no other gods before me.
(2) You shall not make for yourself an idol.
(3) You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God.
(4) Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.
(5) Honor your father and your mother.
(6) You shall not murder.
(7) You shall not commit adultery.
(8) You shall not steal.
(9) You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
(10) You shall not covet what is your neighbor's.

  • What is the main point of these commandments? (Belonging to God: A First Catechism (PCUSA) question number 19.)

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

  • Did the people keep their covenant with God? (Belonging to God: A First Catechism (PCUSA) question number 20.)

Though some remained faithful, the people too often worshiped other gods and did not love each other as God commanded. They showed us how much we all disobey God's law.

  • Which commandment did the Israelites break? I wonder why Aaron helped them?
  • Are the Ten Commandments still important today?
  • God was so angry with the Israelites, he was going to destroy them. I wonder if God gets angry with us when we sin?



Closing:

 

Pray as David did by reading in unison Psalm 19: 12-14:
Lord,
No one can see his own errors;
deliver me, Lord, from hidden faults!
Keep me safe, also, from willful sins;
don't let them rule over me.
Then I shall be perfect and free from the evil of sin.
May my words and my thoughts be acceptable to you,
O Lord, my refuge and my redeemer!
Amen.


The Ten Commandments: the Law Is Given and Forgotten
Story adapted by Amy Crane for retelling 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 Pharaoh's heart was hardened. He 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 from having spoken with the Lord.


Tips for Telling:

 
Read the story in several translations of the Bible and Bible storybooks to see other ways to tell it.

When speaking for God, hold yourself erect and tall and speak in a "Godly" voice.

Use your best (worst?) 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.

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.

Bring the story to life with your movement and emotions as well as the words. 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.

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.)

For additional information on Biblical Storytelling, see Amy Crane's article at the Rotation Documents: Workshop Manuals section of the Idea Exchange.

Scripture taken from the Good News Bible in Today's English Version - Second Edition, Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by Permission.



The Ten Commandments: the Law Is Given and Forgotten
Creative dramatics outline and suggested dialog prompts to get things going

Scene 1: Miriam leads the celebration after the escape from Egypt.


Scene 2: Endless wandering around the room. Complaints. Moses should answer requests for food and water by turning to God. If anyone asks "Are we there yet?", suggest that Moses remind them to have faith as Abraham did.


Scene 3: At foot of Mount Sinai; set up camp. Thunder on the mountain; terror. Sharing of the 10 commandments. "We will do everything that the Lord has said."


Scene 4: At camp. Moses waves goodby as he goes back up the mountain to meet with God. The people get restless. The people get whiny. The people get Aaron to make them a golden calf. They set up the calf and dance and bow down to it.


Scene 5: On Mount Sinai (the end of Moses' 40 days there). God tells Moses He has been rejected and so He is going to destroy the people and make a great nation of Moses and his descendants. Moses talks Him out of it.


Scene 6: Back at the camp. Moses returns and sees what is going on and gets angry. The tablets are broken and the calf is smashed (just drop the posterboard props on the floor and pretend they are broken). Those who did not follow the Lord are killed.


Scene 7 (if time permits) or Epilogue: God forgives His people and gives Moses new tablets. They wander in the wilderness happily ever after (for forty years -- but that's another story).


 

Books for sharing before and after class:

  • Chaikin, Miriam. Exodus. New York: Holiday House, 1987.
  • Fisher, Leonard Everett. Moses. New York: Holiday House, 1995.

Resources:

  • Williams, Michael E., editor. The Storyteller's Companion to the Bible: Volume 2: Exodus - Joshua. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1992.

 

A lesson written by Amy Crane from Palma Ceia Presbyerian Church

Tampa, FL

 

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

 

Originally posted by "Sam at 2nd" in 2007, this Ten Commandments drama script is quite long, but very creative. During a renovation of the forum, this script was identified as having a very creative script concept, but it was considered too long for the average class to pull off. Thus, at the end of the post, the Moderator has appended a post by Neil MacQueen demonstrating how to convert THIS particular creative script into a NEWSROOM television program with commercials. The Newsroom format will make this long script more manageable in some churches.




The Ten Commandments

Drama Script: "Second Chance"
Based on Exodus 32-33

This is a play involving elementary and teens. It is set after Moses comes down from Mt. Sinai, sees the golden calf, and throws down the tablets. What if children found the pieces and learned the words?

Characters:
3-10 children
3-5 teens
3-5 parents
Moses

Costumes:
Robes and sandals
Moses carries a staff

Setting:
The wilderness near Mount Sinai, approximately 1200 BC. Mount Sinai appears in the background, with a tent encampment in the foothills. On stage there is a clearing surrounded by a jumble of rocks and a few struggling shrubs.

Director: This play is a work of fiction, but it is based on the events described in the book of Exodus, Chapters 32 and 33. The play opens on the day after Moses returned to his people with the ten commandments on two stone tablets, only to find that the Israelites had abandoned their faith and built a golden calf. How did Moses recover from this crushing disappointment? And what ever happened to the first set of stone tablets? Maybe, just maybe, it happened like this…..

Narrator: Imagine you have gone back in time to over 3,000 years ago. The Israelites have escaped from Egypt across the Red Sea and are now camped in the wilderness near Mount Sinai. It is a hot, dry land with little shelter from the sun.

Scene I
A group of children enter from stage right. They stop and talk.

Child 1: (Yawns) Gee, I’m tired. I stayed up most of the night, and it was too hot to sleep late this morning.

Child 2: Yeah, me too. At first I thought it was great to have no one bug me about bedtime and rules, but now I’m not so sure.

Child 1: Ever since the grownups started partying all the time, my folks don’t even notice if I come home at night!

Child 2: Mine don’t either! My dad went out and bought a racing camel with a red blanket, and now he doesn’t spend much time around the tent.

Child 3: Parents are sure acting weird these days. My mom took all her beautiful jewelry that’s been in the family for years and -- can you believe it? Melted it down to help make that golden calf!

Child 4: You know what I miss? Those stories Mom and Dad used to tell about the olden days.

Child 3: Yeah, like Noah and the Ark! That’s my favorite.

Child 4: I like to hear about Moses when he was younger. Do you remember how he came to be raised by Pharaoh’s daughter?

Teens 1 and 2 enter from stage left and overhear Child 3’s line.

Child 3: I do, but I’d like to hear about it again. My parents don’t have time for storytelling lately.

Teen 1: Well, we have time! (Calls back to stage left). Come on, guys, let’s tell these kids about baby Moses!

Several more teens enter from stage left.

Teen 2: Might as well, there’s nothing else to do around here.

Teen 1: All right, we’ll do the verses and you all join in on the chorus. Are you ready?

Child 1: We’re ready.

Teen 1: You don’t sound ready. I said, are you ready?

All children: WE’RE READY!!!!!!!

The teens lead the group in the following song, to the tune of “Wade in the Water.”

Chorus:
Wade in the water. Wade in the water, children, wade in the water.
God’s gonna trouble the water.

[Exchange Volunteer notes: Words to music may not be available...pending finding out who the author is.]

Child 2: That was great! Thanks!

Teen 1: Don’t mention it. Any other stories you want to hear?

Child 5: I like the one where Moses led us out of Egypt! That’s awesome!

Teen 3: Awesome is the right word for it. Shall we tell you how it happened?

Child 5: Sure.

Teen 3: Okay, give us a little room here. You all join in on the chorus again. Are you ready?

All children: WE’RE READY!!!!!!!

Teens lead in “Pharaoh, Pharaoh” to the tune of “Louie, Louie.”

[Exchange Volunteer Carol notes: Pharaoh, Pharaoh is a set of copyright free Youth group lyrics that is set to the Kingsmen's early 60's hit "Louie, Louie" You can print the lyrics and guitar chords here:
http://www.christianmusicweb.com/songs/praise_and_worsh.../pharaoh_pharaoh.txt ]

Teen 4: Well, there are you stories for today, kids. We’ve got to get going now. See you later.

Children: Thanks again, that was fun.

Teen 5: Where are we going to go? They won’t invent shopping malls for another 3,000 some years!

Teens exit stage left.

Child 6: Sure seems quiet around here today. No more partying going on.

Child 7: And that golden calf isn’t up on the altar where it used to be.

Child 5: I think the grownups are worried. They were really surprised when Moses came down from the mountain last night.

Child 6: Boy, was he mad! When he saw what was going on, he just threw down those stone tablets and stomped away.

Child 7: I’ll bet they broke into a hundred pieces! Now we’ll never know what they said.

Child 8: Where did he drop them?

Child 9: Over by that big rock.

Child 8: Maybe there are some big pieces.

Child 9: Let’s go look!

The children move across the stage to a pile of rocks.

Child 10: Look over here! …No, these are just plain rocks.

Child 1: Hey, I found them! You can see writing on some of the pieces.

The children gather behind the rock fragments.

Child 10: The ones that are straight on one side probably go along the sides.

Child 1: And these curved ones go along the top!

Child 2: These two fit together!

Child 3: Let me try this one next to it… it fits!

Children freeze in place. A sign is carried across the stage that says, “A few hours later….”

Child 2: Okay, I need a piece shaped kind of like a tent with a foot sticking out of it.

Child 3: Try this one… Hey, I think we’ve got it!

Child 4: (Reading) ”I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall not have other gods besides me.”

Child 5: No wonder that golden calf made Moses so angry!

Curtain

Scene II
Curtain opens. A sign is carried across the stage that says “Later that day.” Moses enters slowly from stage right and pauses, looking discouraged.

Parent 1 enters from stage left, sees Moses, and calls back: It’s Moses! He’s back!

Parents and children enter from stage left. The parents look ashamed and worried.

Parent 2: Moses, we are really sorry for what we did.

Moses: I stayed up on that mountain for many days and nights to bring you God’s Ten Commandments. And what did I find when I returned? All of you had turned your backs on the Lord and made yourself an idol to worship!

Parent 1: You were gone so long we thought you were dead. We needed something to believe in.

Parent 2: We learned our lesson…. It won’t happen again.

Parent 3: We won’t try to make another golden calf.

Parent 4: Would you ask God to give us a second chance?

Moses: I wish I could believe you. It is pretty scary talking with God. How do I know the same thing won’t happen again if I go back up the mountain? Did anyone even listen to God’s commandments when I read them from the tablets?

Parent 3: Some of us listened! But then you broke the tablets!

Moses: Yes, I was really furious. Maybe I should not have done that. (He thinks for a few moments). All right. Here is the deal -- if even one of you listened and can tell me what the tablets said, I will consider going back to ask God for another chance for our people.

The parents look hopefully at one another, but no one speaks. The children look at each other and finally Child 4 steps forward, hand raised.

Moses: (Sighs) Well, I am sorry but it seems -- (he catches sight of the raised hand) What is it, child?

Child 4: Moses, what if more than one person can say the commandments? What if, like, ten people know them by heart?

Moses: If only that were possible! I would not only ask God for a second chance, but I could assure the Lord that our people care about His words and will follow them. I would ask that we see the Promised Land in my lifetime! (Sighs) But it doesn’t look like that will happen.

The children look at each other, step forward, and take a breath. They recite the Ten Commandments together as the adults watch in amazement.

Children:

I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall have no gods other than me. You shall not worship false idols.

You shall not use the name of the Lord your God carelessly.

Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the seventh day and made it holy.

Respect your father and your mother.

You shall not kill.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not wrongly accuse your neighbor.

You shall not envy your neighbor.

You shall not desire to have your neighbor’s house, his wife, his servants, his animals, nor anything that is his.

There is a pause when the children finish, then cheering and applause.

Moses: Children, you are truly amazing. Sometimes we overlook your faith and abilities just because you are young. Well if you’ll excuse me everyone, I have a mountain to climb. (He turns to go just as Child 6 tugs at his sleeve).

Moses: What is it?

Child 6: Uh, Moses, while you’re up there, could you ask God for a new flavor of manna every once in awhile? Like maybe chocolate?

Moses: (laughs) Don’t push it, kiddo. (He turns and addresses the group). Keep the faith, everyone. It may take many days, but I will be back. He exits stage right.

Parent 4: Children, we are so very proud of you (hugs children.)

Parent 1: Because of you, Moses will ask God to give our people a second chance. Well done!

Parent 2: Now, let’s get back to our tent. There’s probably time for a story before bedtime if we hurry. The parents start herding children back toward stage left.

Parent 3: That’s right, tomorrow will be a big day. We’ll have a lot of cleaning up and packing to do so we can be ready to move on when Moses gets back.

Child 7: Aw, Mom… (or Dad) Parent 3 and several children exit stage left.

Parent 4: You will need a good night’s sleep so you can get your part of the tent tidied up first thing tomorrow.

Child 8: We can start that regular bedtime thing again tomorrow night….

Parent 4: NOT!

Parents and children exit stage left. A sign is carried across the stage that says “The End.”


 

Written by Sandra Stearns 2nd Presbyterian

Norfolk VA

 

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



 

Here is a review and reworking of the above script concept into a newsroom style dramatic presentation posted by Neil MacQueen.

Neil writes:
I really like Sam's "take" on the story of Moses and the 2nd copy of the Commandments. "The kids ask Moses for a second chance with the Tablets after he smashed the first set because of their parents." Very Creative.

But the script is overly long, and would have kids doing a lot of reading instead of interacting.

THE FIX?

Newsroom Concept to the Rescue!

In the newsroom, the chief reporter sort of DIRECTS the action. The use of a microphone "cues" kids that they are supposed to say and be doing in response to the reporter's scripted comments. This is all videotaped.

This technique played out in the following suggested way can be applied to many 'scripts' posted here in the Exchange.


Here is my brief and incomplete reworking of Sam's script, but I think it will give you a great start. Notice how the teacher/reporter "directs" the action and prompts kids to fill in the story. The presence of a live microphone and videocamera REALLY helps.


Reporter(Teacher): I'm standing here with Moses, and here come some kids. They're mad, and they are starting to pick up the pieces of the tablet.

Reporter: Kids, why are you mad? What went on here (reporter shoves microphone at a few kids for their improvised remarks)

Reporter: Moses, why did you get mad?

Reporter: And here come the parents....they are looking pretty sad. Why are you sad parents? What did you do?
....
Moses, why are you angry with these parents?
...
Kids, why are you mad at the parents? How do you think you can do a better job at following these commandments? What will help you?

...
Reporter: "Breaking News": 

Moses promises not to break a second copy of the tablets IF the kids follow them.

Moses: And they have to recite all Ten. Can they do it? Talk to me kids!

(Kids must recite all ten from memory.)

Reporter: Are they all going to hell if they can't remember? (the reporter is funny)

And what if they BREAK a commandment Moses, what will be God's response? Kids, what do you think God does when you break a commandments?

Reporter: We now interrupt our show for an important commercial message:

(The Videocamera is paused while the teacher directs kids to come up with a short "commercial" about the Bible as an aid to helping you follow the Ten Commandments. Here's a brief SKETCH of a commercial which the kids come up with.)

Tonight's News is brought to you The Church-ee-sizer"
Zoom in on wimpy weak kids breaking commandments.
"Having trouble following the Ten Commandments?"
Try the CHURCH-I-SIZER-BIBLE....
Gets rid of flabby attitudes about doing whatever you want.
Builds up your faith to stay strong in the face of temptation.
Makes you look cool in the eyes of God.
Order today and we'll double your offer!


I love the News Show Format. It breaks the script into pieces, and allows the reporter to be the director and subliminally direct the action ("I see the kids are ripping apart a golden calf" ...and the actors start doing it)
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