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Welcome to our public Pentecost ~ Acts 1 and 2 ideas and lessons forum. Don't forget to check out the supporting members' "Wind, Fire, Faith!" Pentecost lesson from our Writing Team. The lesson summaries and Bible background are open to all. If you're looking for Ascension lessons and ideas, go to our Jesus After the Resurrection forum.

Science (Object Demonstration) Lessons, Ideas, Activities, and Resources for Teaching "Pentecost" in Sunday School, Acts 1 & 2

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The descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, followers of Jesus, disciples, 50 days after Easter, Whitsunday, the birthday of the church, Acts 2:1-31. Bible lessons for "Pentecost" - with science, demonstrations, object lessons, magic tricks, presentations, etc.


Object lessons are "talking points illustrated with objects." Children's sermons and Sunday School teachers use them all the time. The point of using "objects" is to create visual focus and tactile interaction. They are a "hook." In the Rotation Model, we've even created an entire workshop concept around the idea of teaching with object lessons as a "main activity." It's called The "Science" Workshop. And while the "demonstrations with props" are often wrapped in the guise of science experiment, they are in fact, object lessons. We aren't really teaching about science, but rather,playing with objects and their fun effects to make a point. (Learn more about the Rotation Model's "Science" Workshop.)

It's important to note that the "objects" in a demonstration do not have to have metaphorical or deep significance (which is a common misconception).  A rock can just be a rock in an object lesson. It doesn't have to be a stand-in for God's "strength." . It IS a murky line, and part of our job as educators is to help kids develop their ability to see deeper meanings that common things can represent. Read our Teacher Training Article about "How to Unpack Metaphors With Children." But for everyday teachings purposes, "objects" are teaching visuals that excite children's interest.

Feel free to add your own ideas and thoughts to this topic.




The following two video demonstrations are object lessons that could easily be adapted for Sunday School or a children's sermon. I would definitely adapt some of the language and examples, but the basic "demonstration" is cool.   

See my two other "Holy Spirit ~ balloon" demonstration notes after the two video clips.

Neat Demonstration of what "Being Filled with the Holy Spirit" Can Do

Check out this pastor's great YouTube presentation (seen below) about how being filled with the Holy Spirit causes the "other" stuff to depart. I'm not suggesting you show this video, but rather, recreate the demonstration adapted for children or whoever your audience is.

For a lesson about Pentecost, I would ask "what was 'in' the Disciples that might have been standing in the way of the Spirit's desire for them to reach out to others in the name of Jesus. What makes us too busy, too afraid, too uncaring, too timid, too unprepare, too "I don't know what to say." The answer is to let your actions be guided by the Spirit which can fill you and crowd out those negatives.

 The video seen below has some content for adults that he pours into the glass. Switch that for content/issues that are kid-appropriate. I might add objects that will float out when pouring --objects that represent our hang-ups. What would you add?     I would demonstrate this, then have the kids learn how to demonstrate it so they can do it at home.

Nice Demonstration of how allowing the Holy Spirit to fill you can help you.

This teacher demonstrates on YouTube (and below) how a balloon with water in it doesn't pop when held over a flame. Use your own language and interpretation. I would add that the Holy Spirit is not magic, and doesn't keep us from pain. The Holy Spirit gets us through it with comfort and hope and the knowledge that no matter what happens, we are in Jesus' hands, ...even the burst balloon (whose pieces I would collect.  How and what else would you say?

I'm not keen on the "Protection" title this guy gave his video as it suggests the H.S. is some sort of force field to kids. Bu the demonstration is totally adaptable! As always, the wording and interpretation of such things is up to you.

Other Balloon Holy Spirit Ideas

I also once did a children's sermon using my ancient "balloon animal tricks" showing how the Holy Spirit can fill a balloon and then 'shape you' into something useful" (balloon people, hearts, hammer, eye glasses to see need, halo, etc.) I had some of the balloons blown up to then shape them. And had others in a bag already blown up and pre-shaped so I didn't take too much time. Kids loved it, especially when something popped (which was also a point that God restores).  (And YES, I used to do balloon animals ...the product of my late 70's clown ministry foray. Great skill to have.)

There's another balloon~Holy Spirit demonstration I once saw where the balloon was placed inside a clear glass bottle and then inflated. The balloon was then completely filled using a pump, and it took on the shape of the bottle. The point was made that the Holy Spirit will "shape you" for whatever you need to do in Jesus' name --and help you do things that need done "even when you don't think you have it in you... what you need is God's Spirit in you."

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Last edited by Neil MacQueen
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The following is an unfinished concept for a Children's Sermon, Sunday School Lesson, or Game Workshop involving things that fly, can be flung, tossed, soar, land with a thud, etc.

fishflinger

It was originally posted at my software website's Pentecost activities and children's sermon page.

"Faith is Meant to Fling"

For this lesson or children's sermon you will need several things to throw or launch, including toys you will buy in bulk and give to the kids. Some of the things you toss won't go very far on purpose, others will demonstrate the Pentecost proposition that "faith is meant to be flung" -- shared, given away, and you don't always know where it will land.

Use these flying things to illustrate points, then give them out to the kids and let them give them a "fling." If you do this in worship, invite the adults to "fling or fly" the items back at you. I've divided the activity/talk into "3 Acts" (steps). See notes below.  What a lot of great metaphors to expound on and demonstrate!

Here are several "toys" you can buy in bulk to demonstrate different aspects of this proposition. They can be found cheap on Oriental Trading Company.

  • Balsawood gliders (very inexpensive, easy to assemble, able to draw/write on them, and they are fun to fly). What makes us Soar? Steer? Lift? Land? Where should we be going? Do we always end up where we thought we would? What if you try to fly without wings?
  • Jesus Fish Flingers (found these at Oriental Trading Co. how fun!  Buy dozens for the whole congregation. Could a message fit inside? What do these represent? How can you go far and avoid a mis-fire? Who are you aiming for?
  • Frisbees ("flying discs"). These can be purchased in bulk and used to demonstrate (in a safe room or outdoors) how "flinging technique" is important. You just can't toss the message out there, you need to "beautifully fling it" to get it to travel. (Demonstrate)All these objects could be drawn or written on for a full-blown lesson.

glider

Act 1: You demonstrate various "flying things" (both those that fly well, and don't fly well). See "don't fly well" notes below.

Act 2: You talk about Pentecost, and the fact that "putting yourself out there to share" means letting the Spirit guide your flight, and never quite knowing what kind of effect you are having.

Act 3: Kids help you fling, then you invite the adults to "fling back."  Pentecost was contagious, just like our "fling fest" is. When other Christians see you sharing your faith or living out your faith, they are encouraged to do it too.

Sometimes you don't know exactly where your "flinging" will take you. (Flinging fish and frisbees is an inexact science.) You try to aim at that person over there, but you end up flinging at the person next to them. Or you think you are helping person X, but person Y sees what you are doing and is the one who is inspired by your faith or example.

Who needs to hear the message of God's love and forgiveness from you?   A sibling? friend? parent?  someone at school or in your neighborhood?  The "closer" you get to them, the easier it is for them to receive the message (you could demonstrate close vs far too).

Are you willing to be "flung" by God's Spirit? What might be holding you back? Where does the Spirit want to send you right now ? (what problem or person needs you?) What will you do when you 'get' there to where God has sent you?

Things that don't fly so well:

  • A wad of paper with your "best intentions" written on it.
  • A glider that has a string or weight attached to weigh it down (burdened by fear, guilt, sin).
  • Never getting your faith out of the package and assembling it. (Fling a packaged, unbuilt glider.)

Corollary Activity for extended follow-up:

All these flying things need wind/air to keep them up.  Demonstrate the Spirit of God sustaining us and helping us "deliver" the message by doing this game:   (1) Write a message on a piece of tissue paper. (2) Give pairs of students two straws to blow at the tissue to try and keep it up in the air and blow it to the goal line.

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Last edited by Luanne Payne

I Will Pour Out My Spirit
"Science" (aka "Object Lesson" or "Demonstration") Workshop

Building a "champagne glass tower" using cheap plastic champagne glasses to demonstrate "pouring out of the Spirit" that flows from glass to glass, person to person.  (See list of possible 'points' below.)

mceclip0

I've done this as a children's sermon and as a classroom activity. It's a classic "object lesson" (demonstration/illustrating with objects) -- the kind of which we often do in a "Science" Workshop.

You can adapt and run with this depending on your age range and time allotted. In the children's sermon version, we didn't have time to write on the plastic glasses.

Use "coupe" style shallow round champagne glasses because they stack nice, don't require a lot of fluid, and your liquid will flow nicely down the stems and round bases.   Notice that the video found different colors which is interesting.

Pour slowly and carefully as the plastic glasses can EASILY shift if you pour too fast.

Pour red colored water for visibility to represent the Spirit.

Start with 4x4 rows and build up.

Things the tower, liquid, pouring, and glasses can be used to discuss...

What does the tower represent? 

It's a visual demonstration of flow, not a heirarchy of who is closer to the Spirit. The glasses at the top are not more important. The bottom is not people who need YOU to receive the spirit. (I demonstrated this by placing individual glasses around the tower for a direct pour.

The flow down the tower can represent how we spread God's Word of Love to more and more people.

Whose glasses have we received from? Write the name of someone who has shared or helped you feel God's Spirit. Whose glasses are we helping to fill?

Blocking a glass. People can refuse to receive the Spirit. I demonstrated this by covering a glass with a 3x5 card and letting the water spill over it. What can we tell, do or show that person about being "open" to the Spirit?

How "open" are you? How full do you feel?

Note:  Feeling empty is a spiritual condition too!  If you Hunger and Thirst for God and you will be filled.  Do we always feel "full"? (no).

Where and how does God pour out his spirit? What things "pour out of" God's Spirit?  (faith, comfort, joy, endurance, justice, mercy, etc)

What if you run from the Spirit? I demonstrated that God's Spirit can follow you, or meet you where you are.

What invitation could you write on your glass to invite God's Spirit into your life?

Write the name of someone you care about that you pray to feel God's life changing comfort and presence?

Empty and reset, then alternately pour TWO OTHER colored liquids to ask about and demonstrate the "other things" God wants to fill our lives with.  (Use yellow and blue which will create green when they mix in the glasses.)

You can also discuss how we ASK God to fill us, and that everything we ask for is something we should also give away (support) in others (faith, strength, peace, desire for justice, kindness, etc.)

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Spirit-filled RocketsScreen%20Shot%202016-04-11%20at%209.15.36%20PM

There is a really awesome science experiment involving making film canister rockets in the book "Beakers, Bubbles & the Bible: Bible Lessons from the Science Lab"  by Tina Houser.
ISBN 978-1-59317-329-6

It is scriptural based, and a lot of fun for the kids, who get to launch rockets made of film canisters and Alka-Seltzer! I highly recommend the book, as the index that lists all 58 science experiments by scripture reference, and the Table of Contents lists each topic. Great reference for Children's ministry!

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Reposted by Site Moderator to move this into the Science topic. Added picture of book cover.

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We used the champagne tower to teach Acts 1:8 . As the liquid poured out we recited. the verse. The top glass was Jerusalem , the next level was Judea, next Samaria and finally the bottom glasses were ends of the earth.  It was a HUGE it and the kids loved it.

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