Scripture: Numbers 22-24
- Students will review the story of Balaam as a messenger and how his donkey spoke to him of the angel.
- Students will learn basics of how to respect and care for animals.
- How do animals help people?
- How can I take care of my animals?
Materials: paper, pencils, coloring materials, animals for students to interact with such as pets or farm animals
Procedure: Review the story of Balaam focusing on his treatment of his donkey and how the donkey saved him by stopping when he saw the angel. With students, make a list of all the ways that animals help us: Pets give us joy and companionship, chickens give us eggs and meat, sheep provide wool, cows give us milk and meat, horses, donkeys and camels carry people and do labor. In order for animals to be healthy, we need to take care of them. Even farm animals need to be healthy in order to provide good food and labor.
Have students work in groups of 2-4 to choose an animal and create a plan for a suitable environment. They also can write a care schedule for when to feed, clean, groom etc. Using paper, pencils, and colors, have them create a good environment for their animal. The space and items should be drawn to scale according to the animal’s size. Students can draw this or create 3-D model with small items and boxes.
If possible, tour an actual facility such as a local farm or ranch.
- How does taking care of animals help us?
- Which animal needs are the same as humans? Which needs are different?
- Compare and contrast the needs of different animals including costs, human labor involved, type of food, grooming etc.
- What kinds of animals are good to have to help you be self-sufficient and provide your human needs?
- Bring a domestic animal such as chicken, goat, or horse. Let students interact, feed and touch the animal. How do you show care and demonstrate calmness with your body language when you are around animals? What startles animals?
- Students can research how animals help people with disabilities such as guide dogs leading the blind, horse therapy, anxiety therapy etc. Discuss how animals have to be trained to do these things. If possible, bring in such an animal and handler to present to the class. And/or bring in a trained dog and have students take turns giving commands so that it obeys. Discuss the training process, including commonly used behavioral discipline/reward incentives with praise and treats. How do these behaviors work and why? How is praise better than abusing a misbehaving animal? What happens to animals psychologically and behaviorally when they are abused?