Abraham and Sarah

Map Lesson

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.

 


Leader Preparation:

  • Read the story ahead of time.
  • Gather the materials.
  • Look over the maps.

Supplies List:

  • A Bible Map set.  
  • Coloring items.
  • Paper


 

Presentation

 

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

 

map showing Abraham's travels from Ur

 

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 !

 

Closing:

 

End with a prayer.


Resources:

 

 

 

 


 

 A lesson written by Neil MacQueen from Sunday Software  

Venice, FL

 

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

 

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I'm not sure if this is helpful, but I expanded Neil's idea to include a reading through the Bible and an adaptation of the personal application for young children.  Please feel free to remove if this is too repetitive.

For your Bible study you will need a Bible, Map of Abraham's Journey, a chalkboard/whiteboard and something to write with.

READ FROM THE BIBLE: Genesis 11:31.  After reading, summarize the passage.

DO: Show students a Bible Map of Abraham’s journey.

ASK: 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!

ASK: 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.”

DRAW A STICK FIGURE BRIDE AND GROOM ON THE CHALKBOARD/WHITEBOARD TO REPRESENT ABRAHAM AND SARAH TOGETHER IN UR.

Their minds will now associate that information with that name and visual location on the map.

ASK: What is nearby?

Rivers!  This will create further hooks to find it in the future.

ASK:  What modern day country is UR located in today?  

The name “Iraq” may open up all sorts of information and feelings to discuss as some children may be aware of wars or terrorism that has been fought there.

FOR OLDER STUDENTS, SAY:  So God called a man from Iraq to go to Israel.  Have you every heard of Iraq?  What does this information mean to you?

The country of Iraq may bring up thoughts of terrorism, war or hatred in today’s world.  If students haven’t heard about the unrest in Iraq, tell them!  Is it significant that God called a man from this country to be the forefather of all Christianity?  Have they considered that this story happened in the same location as the terrible stories we hear about on the news?  Surprising info always gets remembered.

ASK: How far and difficult was the journey from Ur to Haran?  

Pretty far, looks brown and rocky on the map.  Ask them to consult the legend and come up with a comparable distance (the distance is approximately 965km).

READ FROM THE BIBLE: Genesis 11:32-12:5.  After reading, summarize the passage.

ASK: What happened to Abraham’s father in Haran?

He died.  

DRAW A PICTURE OF A TOMBSTONE WITH HARAN’S NAME WRITTEN ON IT.  CONNECT THE PICTURE OF SARAH/ABRAHAM TO THE TOMBSTONE WITH A DOTTED LINE TO CREATE A PICTORIAL MAP OF ABRAHAM’S LIFE.

ASK: What do you think Abraham’s wife Sarah said to him when he announced that God wanted them all to go on a 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.

ASK:  Who else in the Bible traveled a long distance to complete a mission?  

Accessing, accessing…. Moses!  Paul!  Wise men!  Etc.

ASK: Have you 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.

ASK:  Where did Abraham have to travel next?  Can you find it on the map?  How far is it?  What was the terrain like?

Canaan.  It’s almost the same distance as Ur to Haran (670km).  Canaan in the Bible corresponds to the modern day Lebanon, Israel, Syria and Palestine.

OLDER STUDENTS, ASK: 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!

READ FROM THE BIBLE: Genesis 12: 6-9  

DRAW A PICTURE OF AN ALTAR AND CONNECT IT TO PREVIOUS PICTURE WITH A DOTTED LINE.

EXPLAIN: Altars were often built in the Bible to mark an encounter with God.  People would build an altar to worship God or to remember God speaking to them.   In this part of the story, Abraham build two altars.  Abraham built these altars to remember God’s promise to him and to tell God that he would trust in this promise.

READ FROM THE BIBLE: Genesis 12: 10-20  

DRAW A PICTURE OF A DYING PLANT TO REPRESENT DROUGHT AND CONNECT IT TO THE PREVIOUS PICTURE WITH A DOTTED LINE.  NEXT DRAW A PICTURE OF A MAN WITH DOTS OF DISEASE ALL OVER HIM AND CONNECT IT TO THE PREVIOUS PICTURE WITH A DOTTED LINE.

ASK:  Where did Abraham have to travel next?  Can you find it on the map?  How far is it?  What was the terrain like?

Egypt (approximately 360km away).

ASK:  Why did Abraham have to go there?

There was a great famine.

ASK:  What did Abraham lie about when he arrived in Egypt?  How did God deal with this lie?

The Bible doesn’t shy away from telling us about the faults of Abraham.   This story doesn’t rely on his perfections - it relies on God’s faithfulness to carry out His plan.  Abraham lied about Sarah.  God dealt with this situation with grace.  He protected Abraham and Sarah and led them back to Bethel, in the area of Canaan.

READ FROM THE BIBLE: Genesis 13:1-4, 14-18

DRAW ANOTHER PICTURE OF AN ALTAR AND CONNECT IT TO THE PREVIOUS PICTURE WITH A DOTTED LINE.  DRAW A COMPASS SURROUNDED WITH SPECS OF DUST AND CONNECT IT TO THE PREVIOUS PICTURE WITH A DOTTED LINE.

ASK:  Why did Abraham keep building altars?

He remembered and trusted the promises of God.  He wanted to seek God’s continued guidance on His journey.

ASK:  What promise did God make to Abraham?

“Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring[a] forever.  I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted.  Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.”  (Genesis 13:14-17)
 
EXPLAIN: God promised the entire land of Israel to Abraham!  (Older students:  Abraham never lived to see the day when Israel would be his.  How excited the Israelites must have been when they travelled to the Promised Land with Moses!)  God also promised that Abraham’s descendents would be as many as the specs of dust on the earth!  What a promise!

The story of Abraham is one of the most important stories in the Bible because it holds a special covenant - a promise - from God to every single one of us.  Abraham would be the father to a special nation called Israel.  His son would have children, who would then have children, those children would then have more children and eventually a whole nation of people would be born.  And one day, from this nation of people, a baby named Jesus would be born and through him the whole world would be saved!  

DRAW A PICTURE OF THE CROSS AND CONNECT IT TO THE PREVIOUS PICTURE WITH A DOTTED LINE.

EXPLAIN: God’s promise to Abraham is our promise too - when we follow Jesus, we become part of Abraham’s family.  We receive the blessings of God’s kingdom and His good work in our lives!

 

PERSONAL REFLECTION MAP ADAPTATION FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN

  1. Draw a picture of yourself when you were a baby.  Have students share where they were born.  Praise God for bringing them to this world.
  2. Draw a picture of where they live today.  How do they represent their town/city?  Ask them why they think God has them live in this community?  What blessings or challenges come from living here?
  3. Draw a picture of a person who is important to them.  (This might be a parent, friend, teacher or relative).  Have students share who this person is and how they have been blessed by them.  Thank God for people who love us and care for us.
  4. Draw a picture of a place that they visit regularly.  Have students share where this place is and why they visit it regularly.  How does God use this place in their lives?
  5. Draw a picture of a gift that God has given them.  (This might be a challenging concept for young children.  Give them time to think of something by themselves and prompt with suggestions only if needed).  Have students share what gift they have received.
  6. Draw a picture of a promise that God has given them.  (This may also be a challenging concept for young children.  Give them time to think of something by themselves and prompt with suggestions only if needed).  Have students share the promise they have chosen.
  7. Additional map ideas may include hopes for the future or ways that God might use them to bring His love and life to the world.
  8. Finish class time by praying together and tying a ribbon around rolled up maps.
  9. Encourage student’s to share their maps with friends/family.

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