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Science and Storytelling Lessons, Ideas, Activities, and Resources for Holy Week

Post your Sunday School science and storytelling lessons, ideas, activities, and resources for Holy Week here.

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Including: Cross, Jesus, Caiaphas, Pilate, Scourging, Nails, Centurion, Golgotha, Place of the Skull, Calvary, Empty Tomb, Resurrection, Women, Mary Magdalene,, Gardner, Peter, and related stories. Matthew 26, Mark 14, Mark 16, Luke 22, John 18, Matthew 28, Mark 16, John 20:1-18, Luke 24, resurrection, etc. 

Bible lessons for Holy Week -with science experiments, demonstrations, object lessons, magic tricks, presentations, etc. 

Originally posted by member Nancy N. Februrary 2003:

I am looking for more ideas for our Science workshop for our Easter rotation. What I have so far are a couple of ideas to use for "Jesus cleans away our sins." One of them I have seen elsewhere on this board: add food coloring to a glass of water (representing sin), then add a few drops of bleach (representing Jesus) who "cleans away" our sins. I found that this only works well if you use only 1 drop of food coloring - more than that and the color really didn't disappear.

Another idea I'm working on is using a dirty penny (to represent our sinful selves.) "Jesus" in this one will be represented by vinegar and salt - when you put a diry penny into a mixture of vinegar & salt, it will come out shiny! These suggestions are taken from the recipe for the empty tomb cookies. Tell the children how Jesus, dying on the cross, was offered a vinegar-like drink -- have them smell the vinegar, read John 19:28-30). Next tell them how the salt represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and read Luke 23:27.
I'd like to add a couple more references to Jesus, but I'm coming up blank. Does anyone have anything else to add here?

Also, these 2 ideas alone certainly won't fill an entire lesson. I'm considering combining them with the make-your-own erasers (having a sort of Jesus cleans your sins theme), but I'd welcome any other science ideas you might have.

Thanks so much!

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer
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Empty Tomb/ Resurrection Idea 

Here is a Science Workshop idea that I am working on for our Easter rotation. This is still in a rough state. But I’m interested in any and all feedback. Thanks.

Rotation: Empty Tomb/Resurrection of Jesus

  • That the women found Jesus’ tomb empty. That the stone was moved away not to let Jesus out, but so people could see Jesus had risen from the dead.
  • Jesus was alive! Jesus was raised from the dead to give us new life.
  • The resurrected Jesus appeared to his followers; first to the women, then to disciples in a locked room.
  • The empty tomb and resurrection appearances help us believe in Jesus.

Supplies needed:

  • Make a “meter” – a visual device – Probably in shape of a half-circle? At base, attach with a paper brad, an arrow cut from card stock. Label meter with 3 words along arc of circle. “Trick”, “Scientific Fact”, “Miracle”. Arrow can thus move to point to any of these 3 words.
  • Supplies for magic trick
  • Supplies for science experiment

Science Fact vs. Trick vs. Miracle:
Start off by doing a short simple magic trick.
Show the kids the meter. Ask: Is what I just did a Trick, Scientific Fact, or Miracle? This is a “Trick”. Move the arrow to "Trick".
Say we are going to keep coming back to this meter – to help us see where we are.
Maybe show the magic trick again. Show how it was done. Explain that a magic trick uses “slight of hand”. So on the “meter” is this a Trick, Scientific Fact, Miracle? This is “Trick”.

Show a simple science experiment on optical illusions. What we see can be explained by science. Where is this on meter? “Scientific Fact”. (Move the arrow on your meter.)

Raisins in soda water “experiment” (see below). What’s happening? Is this a Trick, Scientific Fact, Miracle? This is explained by Scientific Fact.

Jesus’ resurrection: a Trick, Scientific Fact, or Miracle?

The tomb was empty on the first Easter morning—we know that the tomb was empty because Jesus had been raised from the dead. Stone was rolled away so first people on the scene could see that tomb was empty.
When Jesus came to them in locked room, disciples at first thought they were seeing a ghost. Even though they could see the resurrected Jesus it was still hard to believe. How did Jesus help them to believe? (Jesus let the disciples touch him and he ate food in their presence)
Jesus was alive! Jesus was raised from the dead to give us new life. The empty tomb and resurrection appearances help us believe in Jesus.

Possible optical illusions science experiments:
“Hole in your hand”
“Disappering glass rods”
“Thread the needle”

Note: I’ll probably just use the first one because we will have a shortened workshop time for this rotation (we’re moving kids through both science and cooking).

The raisin thing:
Have some raisins on a plate. They are just laying there- lifeless. But when you add them to soda water, the raisins seem to have “new life”. For scientific explanation:

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Sin in the Water


for the sin in the water lesson, it works better with 1-2 drops iodine (colors the water) and hypo-fixative (photo supply)

book: Object Lessons from science experiments by Richard F. Beghardt & Mark Armstrong has many ideas.

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

Sin = Food Coloring in Water, "wiped away" by adding bleach...

I used this several years ago with a LARGE clear glass bowl on the communion table, and let about 20 youth who were gathered around add drops of food coloring for anything they wanted to silently confess during Lent - the water was black!

I then began pouring in the bleach, at first it did not change (but I had tried it before and knew it took a LOT of bleach) gradually, in a matter of seconds the water was clear again(a little yellow tint left from the bleach but not enough to matter) I think it probably took a 1-3 cups of bleach. I know that sounds like a lot, but the kids were totally focused and in awe - not a typical occurrence for middle school kids. It was worth it.

Member JMK had shared this link to a resource which also describes this "cleaning" process using bleach to clear away food coloring added to water. JMK said...

I love this illustration of how Salvation from Jesus washes our sin.

From the link provided by JMK, it is noted that for an added demonstration...

you can also add more coloring to the water with bleach in it and it will be clear, because Jesus died for all of our sins

A representative of reformatted this post to add additional info.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

A good sin metaphor:

Place water in a bowl and sprinkle it all over with black pepper. When you put your finger in, the pepper will stick to your finger.

Now, secretly put a little soap detergent on your finger. Put your finger in the bowl again and all the pepper rushes to the side.

Tell the children how you did it and let them practice -- NOTE you'll need a fresh bowl each time.

Science explanation -- there is a film on water which supports the pepper. The soap breaks the film, causing the pepper to fall away.

I got this idea watching ZOOM with my kids. They have a lot of neat activities, you just have to add the theology.


Storytelling Eggs

This storytelling idea come from member Heather and was moved here during forum renovation.

Egg # 1 The Donkey
Matthew 21:1-9
The donkey reminds us of Christ's entry into Jerusalem.

Egg # 2 The Cup
Matthew 26:17-19,26-28
The cup reminds us of Jesus' last supper with His disciples before His crucifixion. The reenactment of the Last Supper through the sharing of Communion is our reminder of the price Jesus paid for us – “This cup is my blood, shed for you. Take it in remembrance of me.”

Egg # 3 Praying Hands
Mark 14:32-42
The praying hands remind us of Jesus visiting the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.

Egg # 4 Three Coins
Matthew 26:14-16
The coins remind us of the 30 pieces of silver Judas received for betraying Jesus to the Jewish leaders.

Egg # 5 Soldier
John 19:1-15
The leather reminds us of the whip used to give Jesus 39 lashes after His trial by Pilate.

Egg # 6 Crown of Thorns
Matthew 27:29
The crown of thorns reminds us of the crown that the soldiers placed on Jesus' head while mocking Him, saying " Hail, King of the Jews!"

Egg # 7 Three Nails
John 19:16-22
The three nails remind us of the nails that were used to nail Him to the cross.

Egg # 8 One Die (dice)
John 19:23-25
This one die reminds us of the Roman soldiers gambling for Jesus' robe.

Egg # 9 Spear
John 19:31-37
This spear reminds us of the spear that the Roman soldiers used to cut Jesus' side when He was on the cross.

Egg # 10 Gauze
Matthew 27:57-61
The gauze reminds us of the linen cloth used by Joseph of Arimathea to wrap Jesus' body after He died.

Egg # 11 Stone
Matthew 28:1-2
The stone reminds us of the tomb with the stone rolled away.

Egg # 12 Empty Egg
Matthew 28:5-8
The empty egg reminds us of the empty tomb and Jesus' resurrection from the dead.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Easter Eggs


Here is a version of telling the Easter story with 8 or 18 eggs (for a bit more detail) which includes ideas on what to include in your eggs for various parts of the story.



A bit of a quote... 

It should be noted that you can buy a set of 12 pre-filled eggs (do a Google search on “Resurrection Eggs) but where is the fun in that?


If you have young children perhaps you’d like to make a set of 8 eggs and open one every day from Palm Sunday to Easter; a sort of “advent calendar” for Easter week! (Though the elements inside the eggs, except for the two Sundays, don’t really relate to the days of what we call “Holy week.) ...


-- Carol



Note: this is a post from Carol's blog – where we encourage parents to continue the learning at home. (Conflict of Interest Disclosure: None, Carol does not make any money from her blog!)

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

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