Sink or Swim


Scripture: Jonah

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will learn God expects us to obey Him.
  • Students will learn God expects us to warn people of the consequences of disobeying Him.
  • Students will learn God wants us to be happy when people turn away from their sin, even if we don’t like them.
  • Students will learn how lighter objects are able to float better than heavier objects through creating their own ships and “storms”.

Guiding Question: Why is it important to obey God? Why do lighter objects float better than heavier objects?

Materials: Small kiddie pool with water, aluminum foil, dry beans, watering can, battery powered fan

Procedure: Review the story of Jonah from the scriptures above. Emphasize the importance of obeying God to show honor and love to God while also avoiding negative consequences. Explain that God desires the best for us and wants us to always obey Him even when we do not understand His plan. Remind the students that in the story, those on the ship threw their cargo overboard before Jonah. Tell the students that this was done to make the ship lighter and stay afloat better during the bad storm.

Explain that the reason they wanted to make the ship lighter was because a lighter ship would ride higher on the waves and be less likely to sink. These is because lighter objects float better than heavier objects. Those on the ship did not want the water to flood the ship.

Provide each students with some aluminum foil and have them design their own boat. Fill a kiddie pool with water and have the students place their boats in the water. Use a watering can to imitate rain and a battery operated fan to imitate wind and see how well the students’ boats can withstand the storm. Have some students make waves in the water with their hands if needed. Then have the students add different amounts of dry beans to their boats to see how much their boats can hold and still stay afloat. As students take beans out, they will see their boat can float better because it is lighter. Explain that lighter boats will have less consequences from the storm – just as obeying God leads to positive consequences, not negative ones.

Additional Questions: What types of objects have the ability to sink or float?
Supplemental Activity: Fill up a small kiddie pool and have the students test various items to see if they will sink or float. Prior to the experiment, have the class vote on whether they think each item will sink or float. The students can check themselves throughout the experiment.

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