Take your kids to a scientific dimension, where Bible lessons are waiting to be discovered!
Kids love the Bible Truth Discovery Zone because they’re motivated by their curious nature. Use these ideas where imagination and exploration reveal biblical truths.
There’s a dimension of learning that naturally appeals to children. It’s the place where they discover the truth behind the words they read or hear. It’s the dimension that causes adults to ponder childhood memories of discovery, adventure, and exploration.
You can capitalize on kids’ love of discovery with these seven Sunday school activity ideas. Discover a new dimension of imagination and exploration with kids that can reveal biblical truth to their curious young hearts. Enter — The Discovery Zone.
What to Do if Your Experiment Flops
One of the unique features of science experiments is that they don’t always turn out the way you plan. And then panic sets in! “What do I do? Where do I go from here?”
Have no fear; the unknown is part of what makes science an exciting and wonderful teaching tool. Use these tips as a guide if you encounter a science experiment that flops.
- Make it a teachable moment. Sometimes what doesn’t happen becomes the lesson. Discuss with kids why the experiment didn’t work and what they could change in the experiment that might change the outcome. Discuss how life doesn’t always work according to plan either, and talk about how the choices we make can affect the outcome.
- Find the answer. Failure often yields the answer we’re seeking. If an experiment fails, dig into the root of what went wrong. Your unexpected conclusions may bring insight you never expected. Discuss that there are times we fail in life, but God is always there. He never changes.
- Compare the hypothesis and result. Science experiments begin with a hypothesis that doesn’t always match the results. Talk with kids about what they thought would happen during the experiment and what actually happened. Tell kids that sometimes God gives us answers in unexpected ways.
- Persevere. After repeat tries and a host of variables, your experiment still may flop. We don’t always have the answers, but God does. And in times when the going is tough, God challenges us to press on and persevere.
Source — “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13).
Discovery — Kids will learn that they’re uniquely created by God.
Supplies — You’ll need a dark- colored plate made of pottery or glass, a half-eaten cookie, talcum powder, a small soft paintbrush, pencils, 3×5 cards, Scotch tape, baby wipes, and a Bible.
Experiment — Before class, place a half-eaten cookie on the plate. Then make very clear fingerprints on the top of the plate. Make sure no one else touches the plate.
As the kids enter the room, say, “Someone has mysteriously eaten the cookie on this plate! I’m going to need your help to figure out who ate my cookie.”
Ask, “What’s one thing that each person has and no two are alike? Let’s get to work solving our mystery.”
Remove the cookie and have a child lightly sprinkle talcum powder on the plate. Have a second child use the soft paintbrush to lightly brush the talcum powder across the plate.
Ask, “What did the powder reveal?”
Say, “We all have a little oil on our fingers, and we leave that oil on everything we touch. In this case, the oil left behind fingerprints! Each of us has a different fingerprint; it’s part of what makes us special. Let’s make pictures of our unique fingerprints.”
Give each child two 3×5 cards, a pencil, and 10 one-inch pieces of tape. Say, “Rub your pencil on one of your cards to make a dark smudge the size of your fingertip. After you’ve done that, rub your fingertip over the smudge until your fingertip is completely silver. Press one piece of tape to that fingertip. Then take the tape off your finger and stick it on your other card. Label your print with which finger it is and which hand it came from. Continue this process until you’ve made a print of each finger on both hands.”
While the kids do this, make a set of your fingerprints. When kids are finished, give them baby wipes to wash their fingers.
Then ask, “What do you notice about your fingerprints? Do they look like the fingerprints of the person sitting next to you? What’s the same and what’s different?”
Say, “The science of identifying fingerprints is called dactylography. People who investigate crimes use fingerprints to help capture criminals because no two prints are alike. One of the ways your fingers got those little prints on them is from moving around in your mother’s womb. That’s where God formed you, and you grew there until it was time for you to be born. All of your movements in the womb made those little swirls on your fingers.”
Read aloud Psalm 139:13. Then say, “God was working on your uniqueness even before you were born. Now let’s try to figure out which one of God’s special creations ate my cookie. Let’s try to match someone’s fingerprints with the ones on the plate.”
Kids will discover that the fingerprints are yours. Ask, “How did you figure out that the prints belonged to me? How are my fingerprints different from yours?”
Say, “I’m glad God made our fingerprints so different and special!”
(Experiment adapted from Amazing Science Devotions for Children’s Ministry, Group Publishing.)
Source — “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Discovery — Kids will learn that they can reflect God.
Supplies — You’ll need one Bible and a small square mirror for every five children, and a wallet-size school photo or Polaroid photo of each child.
Experiment — Form groups of five. Give each group a mirror, and have kids take turns looking at Bible text reflected in the mirror. Ask, “What do you see?”
Say, “Mirrors produce a reflection that typically appears backward because light waves reflect straight off the surface. But a face in the mirror is different; it doesn’t look backward in a mirror because it’s symmetrical, which means that when the image is divided, both halves look the same. Let’s test this concept together.”
Have kids take turns looking into the mirror. Ask, “What unique facial qualities do you see in the mirror? Do you think one side of your face looks exactly like the other side? Why or why not?”
Have kids take out their photos. Demonstrate how to hold the edge of the mirror perpendicular to the photo so the mirror provides a dividing line down the center of the face. Half of the face should reflect into the making the photo and reflection look like a whole face. Allow enough time for each child to test the mirror concept.
Afterward ask, “How was your symmetrical reflection in the mirror similar to your actual photo? How was it different? Did this experiment reflect an image in the mirror that you would easily recognize, or does the image look like a stranger to you? Explain.”
Read aloud 2 Corinthians 3:18. Say, “This Scripture says that we’re to reflect the Lord’s glory. What do you think that kind of reflection looks like? Is the Lord’s glory something we can see in a mirror? Explain.”
Say, “Your life is a reflection of a life that’s been changed by God; your attitudes and actions can reveal what God is like. Take another look at your reflection in the mirror. Does the image you see reflect a person who’s been changed by God? What can you do to reflect what God is like every day?”
Full of Life
Source — “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
Discovery — Kids will learn that Jesus desires for us to have full lives.
Supplies — For each child you’ll need a large marshmallow, a marker, a small glass iced tea or juice bottle with an opening slightly larger than the marshmallow (or one for every two children to share), a small piece of clay, and a straw. You’ll also need a Bible.
Experiment — Have kids form pairs. Give each child a marshmallow and a marker. Tell kids to draw faces on the flat end of their marshmallows.
Say, “We’re going to do an experiment to see how much pressure your marshmallow face can take.” Give a glass bottle to each child. Tell kids to drop their marshmallows into the glass bottles. Give each child a lump of clay and a straw. Show kids how to wrap the clay 1 inch from one end of the straw so the clay forms a ring around the end of the straw. Have each child place the short end of the straw in the bottle so the clay prevents the straw from dropping into the bottle. Then have each child press the clay tightly around the mouth of the bottle so no air can get in or out.
Say, “Your marshmallow face is plump and ‘full of life.’ What do you think will happen to the faces if you blow air into the bottle through the straw? Let’s experiment and see what happens.”
Have one partner blow air into the bottle and quickly suck it out. Have kids do this until their partners can see the marshmallows expanding and shrinking slightly. They may be surprised to discover that the marshmallows expand when air is blown in and shrink when air is sucked out. Then have partners trade roles and do the experiment again.
Let kids experiment for three minutes. Afterward ask, “Were you surprised at which action gave ‘life’ to your marshmallow? Why or why not? What makes a person’s life full? Can a life ever become too full? Why or why not? What kinds of things can lead to an unfulfilling life?”
Read aloud John 10:10. Then say, “The air that you blew into the bottle caused the marshmallow faces to expand. You were breathing life into your marshmallow. The air blown in caused the tiny air pockets in the marshmallow to expand, so it grew. But when you sucked out to take away the air pressure, the marshmallows shrunk. When Jesus comes into our lives, we have full lives.”