Abraham and Sarah
Here's an updated outline of a lesson that I originally posted at my software website.
As Rotation Model educators, we try to be astute about how our student’s minds are wired for learning... how learning really works, and what’s “just work.”
The following lesson describes how the learner's mind & memory might be interact with the teacher's presentation of a map and set of questions about Abraham and Sarah's call.
Maps are visual interfaces for information. They provide visual hooks to the auditory and printed information the students are interacting with.
Adding visuals to information is a great way to both engage their attention, and help their brains remember the content.
Even with younger children who don't fully understand maps, the visuals and color help focus the conversation, and they can draw inferences from the map that teach them. An "inference" such as, "brown = desert = hard journey."
Here is a lesson "walk through" describing how I've led students through a Map of the Abraham Story with notes about how their brains are working through the information.
- Read the story ahead of time.
- Gather the materials.
- Look over the maps.
- A Bible Map set.
- Coloring items.
Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Greet the children and introduce yourself.
Open with a prayer.
Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
Teaching and Reflecting with a Map
1. Where is Ur?
Their eyes will search the map. Our eyes and brains love to “find” things. A poor teacher points it out. A good teacher turns it into a scavenger hunt!
2. Who lived in UR?
Their brain will search their memory for this info. Either you or their memory will reward them with the correct answer: “Abraham and Sarah.”
Their minds will now associate that information with that name and visual location on the map.
Ask them what's nearby (rivers) and they'll have further hooks to find it in the future.)
3. What modern day country is UR located in today?
The name “Iraq” will open up all sorts of information and feelings to discuss, as in, we just fought a war there.
4. So God called an IRAQI to go to Israel?
Kind of a startling claim in today's world, and if they don't know that, tell them! This opens up the struggle of what this says about God and who is called. Surprising info always gets remembered
5. How far and difficult was the journey from here to here, Ur to Canaan?
Pretty far, looks brown and rocky on the map. Ask them to consult the legend and come up with a comparable distance, such as, "that's from our town to Disney World." This distance tells them something about Abraham's faith.
6. What do you think Abraham's wife Sarah said to him when he announced the journey? His friends? His kids? What would your MOM say? Your sister?
Getting personal is a great way to get things remembered, and it also interjects life application.
7. Who else in the Bible traveled a long distance to complete a mission?
Accessing, accessing…. Moses! Paul! Wise men!)
8. Ever been on a long hard journey? What was that like for you and fellow travelers?
The phrase “long journey” or "long car ride" will evoke some emotional twinge to your lesson content, and we know that memories are strengthened by emotional content.
9. What does God’s call to make a long journey tell you about what God expects out of us?
The map colors tell you it’s brown and rocky, hard and far. I would ask a follow up about what you need for a long journey with others, such as patience. Ask them to tell a few vacation stories!
10. Why did God call Abraham to live in Canaan? What’s around Canaan?
I would point out how people traveled through there to get from Africa to Europe From Arabia to Turkey. They will begin to see the 'shape' of the region as a crossroads, and seeing that shape on future maps, will remind them of the crossroads concept.
And now we’ll finish with a map Reflection Activity….
Map Reflection Activity:
◙ Draw a "map" of your life, and locate important people and places on it.
◙ Place a goal out on one edge of your map, and yourself on the other side of your map.
◙ Label the side you’re on, describing what kind of “country” you are living in.
◙ Color in parts of your map representing good and difficult things in your life. What color is school or family or church?
◙ Now add an area beyond your map which “God may be calling you to” (not an actual location, but a figurative one.)
◙ Add any barriers between your land and the land to which God might be calling you.
◙ Label the things that are ‘in the way’ of you reaching your goal.
◙ Now draw some trails to get to that goal. What is the ‘name’ of that trail?
◙ Make a list of things you’re going to need to travel with to reach your goal.
◙ Share your map !
End with a prayer.
- See extra "how to" on my Bible maps page (located on Neil's software site).
- Map image from Bible History Online.
A lesson written by Neil MacQueen from Sunday Software
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.