How Full Is Full?

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Exploration Element: Use amazing surface-tension water displays
to show kids that God has more joy to share with them than they can
imagine.

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Bible Benchmark: “I have told you this so that my joy may be in
you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11).

Supplies: You’ll need a Bible, newspaper, clear
plastic cups, paper clips, a pitcher of water, and towels or paper
towels.

Optional supplies: You may want envelopes or
small plastic bags.

Preparation: Spread newspaper over a table or
on the floor.

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Ask: Have you ever filled a glass too full?
What happened?

Say: Today we’re going to see just how full
full really is. As we do this experiment, I’d like you to
think about how it might be like God’s love for you. Have kids form
groups of four, and have groups gather around the newspaper. Give
each group a clear plastic cup and twenty paper clips.

Scientist’s Strategy

You may want to separate the paper clips ahead of time and place
them in envelopes.

Say: Now I’ll fill your cup to the rim with
water without making it overflow. Be sure to have towels on hand as
you do this. After you’ve filled all the cups, say: These cups are
really full!

Ask: What do you think would happen if you put
a paper clip in the cup?

Say: Try it and see! Have each group add one
paper clip to its cup, and then have them continue adding paper
clips, one at a time, until the water flows over the rims of the
cups. Then ask:

  • How many paper clips were you able to put in the glass before
    the water overflowed?
  • Why do you think we were able to put in so many paper clips
    before the water overflowed?

Say: Water molecules have a very strong
attraction to each other. This makes them bond together in the cup
even when it looks like the water should overflow. Because of this,
adding paper clips to a full cup of water causes the water on the
surface to form an upward curve. Ask:

  • How was this a demonstration of God’s love for us?

Read aloud John 15:11, and say: God’s joy can fill us even more
than we can imagine. It’s easy to become content with the
relationship we have with God. We must continue to seek him even
when we feel filled so his joy can fill us even more. Ask:

  • How can you continue to seek God after you’ve asked him to live
    in your heart?

Say: God wants to fill us and surround us with
his love and joy, but he can only do that if we ask him to. Praying
to God, worshiping with other Christians, and reading our Bibles
are all ways we can continue to seek God and allow him to fill us
up with his joy.

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