Scripture: Genesis 31-33

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will review Jacob and Esau’s reconciliation after their sibling rivalry.
  • Students will learn that well-written stories contain problems and solutions.
  • Students will practice writing their own solutions to given problems.

Guiding Question: Why do most interesting stories have problems and how are solutions to those problems written?

Materials: paper, pencil, large index cards, large envelopes with pre-written problems

Procedure: Review the story of Jacob and Esau emphasizing Jacobs’ gifts that preceded his reunion with his brother and Esau’s forgiveness. Review the previous problems that took place between the brothers when Jacob took his birthright and blessing. Have students identify the problems that the characters in the story faced and how the problems were solved.

Discuss how good stories have problems and solutions because that reflects life and gives people an incentive to keep reading. Place 3 envelopes around the room. On the outside, pre-write problems that might occur in an interesting story. Leave the envelopes open. Give each student 3 index cards. Students will rotate around the room reading the problem on the envelope and then writing a solution on their index cards. Students will then place their index card in the corresponding envelope. They should use complete sentences and write like they are an author. When students are finished, read the problems aloud and compare/contrast solutions.

Problem examples:
1. Joe was so excited that it was finally his birthday! Even though he still had to go to school instead of stay home and play, he was sure it would be a great day. However, when he got on the bus, his best friend, Marcus did not remember it was his birthday. When he brought the strawberry cupcakes to share with his class some people whined that they were not good and should have been chocolate. His teacher assigned extra homework during class. Joe started feeling depressed…

2. Saniyah lived in a small village far away from the nearest town. The land was usually beautiful and she loved her family. However, they had been experiencing a drought for a long time and they had very little water. She had to travel a long way to get water from a dirty lake that was drying up. She could not even remember what the beautiful sound of rain was like anymore. They hardly had enough to drink much less clean or cook with!…

3. Maria knew that her favorite holiday Christmas was coming up soon. Thanksgiving had just passed and she could not wait to see all the gifts under the tree. She really wanted to give her friends and family something very special to show them how much she appreciated them. However, she did not have a job, and her piggy bank was empty. She had no money to buy gifts with!..

4. Phillip’s best friend was Sara. They sold lemonade every summer together (even though they made it way too thick with sugar), and played in his backyard fort together every weekend. But recently Sara started spending her weekends at Jacklyn’s house on Saturdays. Jacklyn was the new kid in the neighborhood and Philip felt angry and lonely. He wondered why she would chose Jacklyn over him…

Additional Questions:

  • The solutions to many problems require forgiveness. Why? What problems in your life have been solved by forgiveness?
  • Is there ever more than one solution to a problem? How do you discern/ decide the best solution?
  • What would it be like to read a descriptive story without any problems? What would it be like to read a story with a problem but no solution?
  • When we have problems in our lives, why/how should we ask God for help with a solution?

Supplemental Activity: Students can write their own stories with a problem and solution. Invite them to read their stories aloud to their peers.

Written by: Savannah Negas

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