Monday, June 6, 2011
Nature Provides Object Lessons
Nature provides many object lessons that can be taught in the homeschool. Values and principles can be taught and reinforced by looking at things around us in nature. Character traits can be developed as children relate nature's objects with the choices they make and how they choose to live. Here is one activity that can be used as an object lesson from nature:
The Faith of a Mustard Seed
Buy whole mustard seeds at a health food store. Fill a small, clear jar with them and add a lid. Sit down with your children and look at the jar of mustard seeds. Pass it around and observe the size of the seeds. Open the jar and give each child one seed. Discuss how the seed looks and feels. Let them taste the seed and chew on it if desired. Drop a seed and see if it makes a sound. Have the children describe it in detail.
Then look up Matthew 17:20. In the NIV version of the Bible it says: He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
Ask the children to tell what they think this verse means. Talk about literal meanings and analogies. Discuss.
Find examples in nature that illustrate what the verse is trying to teach.
1. By faith birds...(build nests, migrate, etc.)
2. By faith squirrels...(gather nuts, walk along high wires)
3. By faith bears...(hibernate, protect their cubs)
4. By faith raccoons...(wash their food)
5. By faith dogs...(protect and be a companion)
6. By faith bees...( )
7. By faith chicks...( )
8. By faith ducks...( )
9. By faith whales...( )
10. By faith we...(are saved by grace)
Conclusion: Like the animals, we should "do" the action first. The action is faith. Then we should "expect" a response. The A,B,C's of prayer where we ask, believe, and claim is a concrete way in which our faith can be put into action.
Activity: Find pictures of a mustard seed and of a mustard plant that is blooming. Plant a mustard seed and observe how it grows. Guess how many seeds are in the jar and then count them. Write a descriptive paragraph about mustard seeds and relate it to having faith.
Although this lesson is likely a part of a class in character development or Bible, this theme could be expanded upon to create a mini-unit study that incorporates other areas of the curriculum. How many subject areas can you think of that could be included in this lesson?