Does It Measure Up?

Scripture: 1 Samuel 17

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will learn the story of David defeating Goliath despite their large size difference.
  • Students will learn how to compare measurements of things based on a given standard to reference.

Guiding Questions:

  • What was the size difference between David and Goliath?
  • How can we compare the height of different objects using a reference?

Materials: pencil, ruler, piece of paper for each student

Procedure: Review the story of David and Goliath focusing on Goliath’s height in comparison to David who was a young man/ older boy at the time. Tell them that Goliath was about 9 ft 6 inches tall (provide a visual since students probably will not have a concept of this yet). We think that this is tall because we are comparing it to other heights. The average person is closer to 6 feet tall. Explain to students that a “reference” is a set thing (standard) that you can compare other things to. Provide drawings of David and Goliath for students to reference. To draw them to scale, consider these measurements: Goliath was about 9 feet 6 inches (about 3.2 meters). We do not know David’s height but can guess that he was around 5 feet (1.5 meters). (Side Note for the teacher: Some scholars think Goliath was closer to 7 ft based on how they measure a cubit, but over 9 ft is typically accepted and serves the purpose for this lesson.) Have students measure both figures. Divide students into pairs. Each pair should have a ruler, piece of paper and pencil. Students will go around the room measuring various items and find and record the measurements of items longer than the figure of Goliath and shorter than the figure of David. After half of the time available has passed instruct teams to switch papers and double check each other’s measurements.

Additional Questions:

  • Who do you know is closest to Goliath’s height? Would this person still have a reason to be scared of Goliath’s height? Why?
  • Why was David willing to fight Goliath even though Goliath was so much bigger?
  • What was the tallest object you found that fits the criteria? What was the shortest object that you found that fits the criteria?
  • If Goliath is about 9 feet how much taller is his height than your height? Measure yourself to find the difference using subtraction.

Supplemental Activity: Have the students look at their list with their partner and guess whether they think that the things are closer to Goliath’s size or David’s size. Then instruct students in making a line with dashes similar to how a number line or a timeline would be formatted. Have students create a visual number line by writing/drawing pictures of their objects across the number line showing the items from shortest to tallest.