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This thread is for posting Science Workshop Lessons and Ideas for teaching the baptism of Jesus and/or John the Baptist.

For Science: Please check ingredients and steps, and include any safety precautions.

Last edited by Luanne Payne
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Here are ideas moved here from a post in the Help Forum...

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Two Science Workshop/Demonstration Ideas:

offered by Neil MacQueen

1.Dry Ice
Since working on a Nicodemus lesson here in the Exchange (born by water, born by spirit), I've been thinking about how to memorably demonstrate/visualize both water and spirit...the Baptism of the Holy Spirit to the kids for either the Baptism story, of Nicodemus/John3. I've remembered this fun idea from a youth talk I did many moons ago using dry ice. You let it's smoky vapor wisping and sinking around the head and shoulders of students as you share and discuss various aspects of baptism and spirit.

If you've ever played with dry ice before, then you know it is something each kid will want to try and will find visually memorable.

  • Dry ice can feel like it's burning (really cold), use gloves to handle.
  • Dry ice 'smoke' is the C02 gas being released from the ice. Like a soda bottle, the more you constrict the opening of the container you put the ice and water in, the more fervently the gas will pour out.

How to create a simple small dry ice 'machine' that's safe for this demonstration:

  1. Practice at home!
  2. Cut a 1/4" hole in the top of a 1 quart plastic container with a tight locking lid.
  3. Fill it almost full of warm water, -leaving room for one cup of dry ice.
  4. Drop the ice in the water and secure the plastic lid.
  5. As dry ice vapor pours out of the hole, hold the container over a student's head. (Don't worry, the vapor is harmless and if anything splashes it is just cold water).
  6. Be sure to buy plenty of dry ice and keep it in the freezer until ready.

Alternately, if you have a long thin tube from the hardware, you can fix one end of the tube tightly into the top of the plastic lid and hold the open end of the tube over the kid's head. Like a water hose, the narrower the tube, the more the C02 vapor will 'jet' out of the tube.

In a similar fashion, many native groups use smoke to ritually cleanse themselves and symbolize the blessing of the spirit. Like the air around us, the Spirit isn't something we typically can "see". The vapor covers us then disappears after a few moments. This is a lot like baptism...the water on your head eventually dries. And it's a lot like having a spiritual baptism or spiritual remember it, but the experience is fleeting, and we are left to trust that God's invisible presence abides with us. See demonstration #2 for a way to visualize the Spirit's action at Baptism.

2: Paper Boats....a demonstration about the action of Baptism of the Holy Spirit:

In Baptism, we are forgiven and called to let God's Spirit guide us in the the right direction. To demonstration this idea in a memorable way, you will make paper boats and float them on water in a baby pool in the classroom.

Using a small fan, blow the boats. Describe how God wishes to guide us, how we need to have our sails up to allow ourselves to be guided. How we can move more if we are closer to God. And how some things (like sin) might block God's guidance, or gnarl up our sails so we don't move so well. Invite kids to blow from various directions to describe the various 'forces' a believer feels trying to move them in good and bad directions. How can you tell when it is God's spirit moving you? What are the signs of the spirit?

<>< Neil

Last edited by Luanne Payne

I'm trying to do a socially-distanced science lesson revolving around water, with the idea that each family group will have their own pan of water and other ingredients/implements and so can perform the experiments on their own with direction but not actual physical assistance except from siblings.  Any suggestions or recommended resources?

HI, Margie!

When I think about Jesus' baptism, I don't think about water as much as I think about the Holy Spirit, and also about God speaking and acknowledging His son. 

Here is an interesting idea that uses lemon juice as invisible ink, and talks about the hidden message that is Jesus

You might be able to adapt some of the Pentecost Holy Spirit object lesson ideas.  And another one here

Thanks so much for the ideas.  In the end I went with our strengths and enlisted our resident Chemistry professor, so the lesson focussed on connecting the unique properties of water to various ways we can view baptism and the church community.  This lesson may be a little science-heavy for some, but our kids all liked it, with our high school student even coming up with additional symbolism to connect some of the experiments to the story.  Unfortunately, I forgot to write them down.


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