Skip to main content

In addition to these public lessons and ideas posted below, our Writing Team has been creating some terrific lesson sets for our supporting members that cover Holy Week stories. Here's the Team's link to the John 20 story of Mary Magdalene, Peter, and John meeting Jesus at the Empty Tomb.

Related Lesson Forums:
Road to Emmaus, Jesus eats breakfast, Feed My Sheep, Great Commission, Ascension

The illustration seen here is part of the Annie Vallotton Holy Week Collection at

Science and Music Lessons, Ideas, Activities, and Resources for the Empty Tomb and Resurrection.

Post your Sunday School science and music lessons, ideas, activities, and resources for the Empty Tomb and Resurrection.

  • Please include a scripture reference, supply lists, sources, suggested age range. age modification, etc. 
  • Photos are much appreciated!  Click "attachments" and upload to your post.
  • Please be careful not to post copyrighted materials. Excerpting and paraphrasing is okay. Include attribution.


Including: Jesus, Stone rolled away, angels, He is risen, Mary Magdalene, Women at tomb, and related stories. Matthew 28:1-18, Mark 16, John 20:1-18, Luke 24, resurrection, etc. 

Bible lessons for the Empty Tomb and Resurrection -with Music, teaching with songs, Bible songs, Bible instruments, science experiments, demonstrations, object lessons, magic tricks, presentations, etc.

Last edited by Luanne Payne
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

The Empty Tomb/Resurrection Appearances
Science Workshop 

Summary of Lesson Activities:
Explore difference between magic tricks, scientific facts and miracles. The empty tomb and resurrection of Jesus show us the power of God.

Scripture Reference:

Luke 24:36-43 (resurrection appearance to disciples in locked room)

Key Verse:
“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.” Luke 24:5 NRSV

Lesson Objectives — children will learn:

  • The resurrected Jesus appeared to disciples in a locked room.
  • 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.

Special Circumstances for this Workshop:

We paired this workshop with the Cooking Workshop (please see note in Cooking lesson above). You could easily make this lesson into a full-length Science Workshop by adding magic tricks, and science experiments. See some suggestions at end of lesson.

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
  • Prepare an opening and/or closing prayer in case you need one.
  • Gather the materials.
  • Magic trick preparation: Rubber band the tin with the nuts and bolts to one arm, hidden by your sleeve. Have the book-marked Bible on the table with the empty tin.

Materials List:

  • A visual “meter” – see end of lesson for description.
  • Bibles for grades 3 and up. Have one book-marked to the story.
  • For 1st & 2nd grade: a story Bible
  • Supplies for magic trick: 2 small tin boxes. In 1 tin box place some nuts and bolts (or anything that will rattle inside the tin box and make noise). Leave other box empty. A couple of sturdy rubber bands that will fit around your arm.
  • Supplies for science experiments: Cardboard tubes (from toilet paper), one per student. A handful of raisins, a small paper plate, 2 or 3 clear drinking glasses, a bottle of carbonated water, paper towel.

Lesson Plan

Say: Let’s begin with prayer. Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Be prepared to say a prayer yourself, working in prayer requests. A suggestion: “Dear God, Thank you for wanting to have a special relationship with each one of us. At this Easter time we are reminded of the gift of your son, Jesus, who died and yet came back to life again. What a surprise it must have been for the followers to discover the empty tomb. We thank you God, for the empty tomb, because we know it means that Jesus is alive again. Amen.”

Show the visual meter so that all the students can see it.
Say: In the Science Workshop today, we will explore the difference between things that can be explained as magic tricks, scientific fact, or miracles.
Set the pointer on the visual meter to the word “MIRACLE”.
Ask: What is a miracle? (a wonderful event showing us the power of God)
What are some examples of miracles? (allow just a few answers but clarify whether their answers are truly miracles)
Say: We are going to explore these three kinds of events: Tricks, Scientific Facts, or Miracles. We are going to keep coming back to this meter – to help us see which kind of event we are talking about.

Using the hand that has the box hidden up your sleeve, pick up the empty tin box from the table.
Say: I wonder what’s inside this box? Give it a shake (it will appear to rattle). What do you suppose is inside this box? Open the box.
Ask: It’s empty! Why do you suppose it rattled?

Close the box. Pick up the Bible with your other hand (the one without the noisy box up your sleeve). Give it a shake. (No noise) Put the Bible down.
Pick up the empty tin again (with the hidden box hand). Shake it again. (Rattles) Show them that it is still empty.
Ask: Were you surprised that it was empty?
Show the kids the visual meter.
Ask: Is what you just saw a Trick, a Scientific Fact, or Miracle? (yes, I tricked you)
Move the pointer on the visual meter to “TRICK”. (This is important, please don’t skip the moving of the pointer on the visual meter after each exploration.)
Ask: Does anyone know how this magic trick was done?
Say: A magician doesn’t usually show how they do their tricks but I’ll make an exception.
Show the magic trick again this time exposing your sleeve.
Say: Some magic tricks use what’s called “slight of hand”; it means I do tricky things with my hands to fool you. Magic tricks can be fun because they surprise us.
Ask: Does everyone agree that on our meter that we should be on “TRICK”?
Say: Now let’s look at something else.

Show a simple science experiment on optical illusions:
Pass out the cardboard tubes, one per student. Have the students pick an object across the room that they will be focusing on. Instruct the students to hold the tube up to one eye. Have them take their other hand and with palm facing inward, place this hand about an inch from the end of the tube (next to it, not over opening of tube). With both eyes open, focus on their chosen object.
Ask: What do you see?
Do you see a hole in the middle of your hand? (it should appear so)
Allow 1 minute for this exploration, then display the meter.
Ask: So on our “meter” is this a Trick, a Scientific Fact, or a Miracle? 
Say: No one is pulling any magic tricks on you here. What we see can be explained by science. When we are looking at things, our eyes work together with our brain. One eye sees the distant object through the tube. The other eye sees the palm of your hand. Your brain combines these two views to create what’s called an optical illusion – it looks like you see a hole in your hand but we know there isn’t really a hole in your hand.
Ask: So, on our meter are we on “SCIENTIFIC FACT”? (yes) [Move meter to “SCIENTIFIC FACT”.]

Say: The Bible tells us about what happened on the very first Easter. As we read from the Bible, think about where we should set our meter for this situation.
For 3rd – 6th graders:
Pass out Bibles. Have kids find Luke, chapter 24, verse 36. While they are looking up the passage, keep talking.

For all students:
Say: In this Bible story it is the very first Easter. The disciples are gathered in a locked room, for they have been afraid, since Jesus had been killed three days before. Some women were at Jesus’ tomb that morning and found it empty! Not only that, but they claim to have seen Jesus alive! The disciples are discussing what the women said. Let’s read what happens.

For 3rd – 6th grade:
Going around in a circle, have kids take turns reading verses 36-43, reading one verse each. (They may pass if they don’t wish to read.)

For 1st and 2nd grade:
Read to the students, page 400 of the purple children’s story Bible (Read with Me Bible). Show them the picture on page 400.
Ask: How do the disciples look in this picture? (surprised)
Why are they surprised? (Jesus is alive!)
Read page 401.

For all students:
Ask: The disciples thought that they were seeing a ghost. Why do you suppose they thought Jesus was a ghost? (Jesus was suppose to be dead, room was locked)
Say: Even though Jesus had told his disciples that he would be killed and would raise from the dead, they still found it hard to believe.
Ask: So, where should we set our meter? (on “MIRACLE" [Move meter to “MIRACLE”.]

Ask: Who knows what the word “resurrection” means? (literally "rise again")
Say: When we say that Jesus was “resurrected” it means he rose from the dead. It wasn’t any magic tricks but a miracle. God’s power raised Jesus. Jesus was alive! It was a miracle! – A wonderful event showing us the power of God.
Ask: How did Jesus help the disciples to believe he was alive? (he let the disciples touch him and he ate food in their presence, verses 39 & 43. For younger kids you can show picture on page 401)
Ask: What helps you to believe in the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection?
Say: Let’s look at one more situation.

Show the raisins on a paper plate.
Say: These raisins are lifeless – they are just lying on the plate. Lets see what happens if we put them in a glass of carbonated water.
Pour a half a glass of carbonated water (if you have a big group, do 2 or 3 glasses so all can see). Add a few raisins to each glass (no more than 5).
Say: Watch what happens.
The raisins may float at first but then will sink. It may take a minute but then the raisins will bounce back up, then sink again. They will “dance” like this for a while.
Say: These raisins appear to have new life.
Ask: Where would we set our meter for this situation? (SCIENTIFIC FACT)
Say: We can explain what we see with Scientific Fact. The bubbles or “fizz” in carbonated water is carbon dioxide gas. See how these bubbles collect on the raisins? That’s the carbon dioxide gas. When enough gas has collected, the raisin is lifted up; almost as if it had lots of little parachutes.
Ask: What happens when the raisin gets to the surface of the liquid? (it sinks again)
Say: When the raisin gets to the surface, the gas is released into the air. With the gas gone, the raisin sinks back to the bottom, where the process starts over.

Show the visual meter.
Say: We have talked about all the different settings on our meter: tricks, scientific facts, and miracles. The best miracle of all is that on the first Easter, Jesus wasn’t dead. The tomb was empty. Jesus was alive!

For 1st and 2nd grade:
Easter is a special time for us to remember that Jesus lives.

For 3rd grade and up:
Because of his resurrection, his overcoming even death, we each have been given a chance at new life. Jesus offers us eternal life with him, if only we believe in the power of God.

Encourage everyone to come back next week for another workshop, and to invite friends to come too!

Supplies to create before class:
Make a visual “meter” – a half-circle cut from poster board, labeled with three words along the arc of the circle: “TRICK”, “SCIENTIFIC FACT”, “MIRACLE”. At the base, attached with a paper brad, an arrow cut from card stock. The arrow can move to point to any of these three words.

Notes about this workshop
This workshop generated great discussion! The 5th and 6th graders asked some really tough questions that showed us just how much their faith is developing. It was even better that we had a scientist leading this workshop. When talking about the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection it was the perfect chance for her to say, “I’m a scientist” and then talk about her faith. The 4th graders really wanted to call the hole in the hand thing a magic trick; Great teachable moments that show kids how their beliefs may be challenged.

Resources for this Science Lesson:


For future reference – Ideas to expand this lesson into a full-length workshop:

  • Use additional magic tricks that involve slight of hand. (Consult a book of magic tricks).
  • Use a paper cutting object lesson (where a sheet of paper is cut in such a way as to become large enough to step through.) Found at: (scroll to #1)

Also, it was suggested to name the visual meter the "Phenomenometer" as it was a lot of fun to say and very memorable.

A lesson written by Carol Hulbert from: First UMC
Ann Arbor, MI 

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Easter Appearances to Women

Music Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:
The students will explore the various emotions that the women might have felt that Easter morning at the tomb. They will use various materials to make sounds interpreting these emotions. There might be an opportunity for the students to create simple lyrics set to a familiar tune.

Scripture Reference:

Matthew 28:1-10 

Memory Verse:
Matthew 28: 5-6

Workshop-Specific Goals:

  • Explore the various emotions of the women in the story
  • Know that the women had mixed feelings about the resurrection of Jesus
  • Interpret these emotions using a variety of musical instruments and noise makers

Leader Preparation:

  • Review Bible Background notes and scripture
  • Gather the Materials
  • Refer to schedule and decide how you will make adjustments for the different ages.
  • Consider your expectations. The sounds will be your students’ interpretations of the story. It will not sound melodic and ready for a performance in church. If it does sound “nice” and organized, then you are probably imposing your own ideas on the students. It is going to be noisy—it is supposed to be!!!

Materials List:

  • Bibles (supplied in teaching box)
  • Rhythm Instruments
  • Boomwhackers
  • Old pots and pans and cookie sheets
  • Assorted kitchen spoons and utensils
  • Beans and rice in containers
  • Nuts and bolts and screws
  • Wood blocks—some plain and some with sandpaper
  • Newspaper to crumple
  • Bubble wrap (dole a piece out each week so the first class doesn’t pop it all)
  • Cellophane
  • Paper towel tubes
  • Other items as you wish to make noise
  • Large sheet of paper with parts of story printed on it (to fill in with emotions)
  • Tape
  • Marker

Lesson Plan 

(Teacher lesson begins after guide time—the guides will review/ask questions about what happened last week)
1. Make sure you have your nametag on. Introduce yourself to the students.

2. Open with a prayer if guide did not. 


3. Introduction & Bible Story:
(For the first part of the month, go ahead and read the story from the Bible. For the latter part of the month—when the children should be familiar with the story—have them tell you the story)

Have the students find the story in the Bibles—Matthew 28: 1-10. Read the story to the 1st grade (have them read along). Older grades can take turns reading a verse or two at a time. In the latter weeks of the month, have the students tell you the story—referring to the Bible as needed.

4. Activities:
Analyze the emotions
Go through the Bible story again. Ask the class what the emotions of the women would be at the various parts of the story. Write these emotions in at the appropriate place on the large sheet of paper. Ask what the emotions of the women would be when

  • They were walking to the tomb at dawn on that Sunday morning
  • When they saw the stone rolled away
  • When they saw the angel
  • When they heard the news of the angel that Jesus was risen
  • When Jesus met them on the road
  • When they met up with the disciples (not specifically mentioned in the story)

Create sounds
Various emotions will now be listed on the sheet of paper. For each emotion, have the students think and experiment and make sounds with the various materials to interpret that sound.

Read Story Again.
Read the story again and pause at the appropriate parts of the story so the students can make their sounds. If they get carried away with it, tell them they will have so many seconds for each noise-making episode before they need to be quiet and listen to the story.

If sufficient time remains:

  • Younger students: Retell story again and students create noise again using different materials
  • Older students: They too could retell the story. If 10 or 15 minutes remain, they could break up into smaller groups and create lyrics about the story, setting it to a familiar tune. Then they could share this with the class. For example (to the tune of Jingle Bells):
    Jesus died, Jesus died,
    We are very sad.
    Now we see that He is risen
    And we are very glad!


Review the memory verse. Ask them what the resurrection means to them. 

Guide Discussion Topic (last 5 minutes of class):
The guides will sit with the students and discuss the following questions:

Grade 1-6: What emotions would you have had that morning if you had been at the tomb? What does Jesus’ death and resurrection mean to YOU?

Exchange Volunteer added this life application note/description:

SHOW your students a sheet of music for a familiar Easter song. Ask them if they can HEAR the song just by listening to the paper and ink. Say: Some people see the Empty Tomb, but don't believe in the resurrection. They are like people who see music printed on a page, and think that's all that's there. They do not hear the song that comes out of the printed page. They see an empty tomb and do not hear the beautiful music of Christ's victory over death. They do not see how the spirit can take something impossible, like INK on a page, and turn it into the most beautiful song ...God's song of forgiveness and hope to the world. When God plays his song through us, the instruments of his Word, the world hears his beautiful message.

We are called to be the instruments of the resurrection. To make a joyful noise to others. Our song is not just our words, but the way we live our lives, and let the Resurrected Christ shine and be known to others through us.

7. Closing Prayer:

A lesson written by CathyW from: St. John Lutheran Church
Forest Park, IL 

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

Add Reply

Post a New Topic
Lesson or Resource Inc. is a volunteer-run, 100% member supported, 501(c)3 non-profit Sunday School lesson ministry. You are welcome to borrow and adapt content for non-commercial teaching purposes --as long as both the site and author are referenced. Inc reserves the right to manage, move, condense, delete, and otherwise improve all content posted to the site. Read our Terms of Service. Get a free Registered Membership or become a Supporting Member for full access to all site resources. is rated 5 stars on Google based on 51 reviews. Serving a global community including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, S. Africa, and more!
Link copied to your clipboard.