Understanding Idioms

Scripture: Numbers 16-17

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will review Korha’s rebellion and how God chose leaders for His people to prepare them for the Promised Land.
  • Students will learn common English idioms and how to use them.
  • Students will demonstrate how idioms have a literal and figurative definition by drawing them and acting them out.

Guiding Question: What are some common English idioms and what do they mean?

Materials: writing materials, paper, crayons/markers/colored pencils

Procedure: Review Korah’s rebellion focusing on God’s promise to bring Israelites to a land flowing with milk and honey. Explain that the term “land flowing with milk and honey” has come to mean “prosperous” and “full of potential or success”. God had specific leadership in place to prepare them for this land. “Flowing with milk and honey” has now become like an idiom. Idioms are phrases that a culture creates from experiences. Idioms usually bring pictures to mind. They have meaning beyond the literal. Different cultures may have different idioms even if they speak the same language. Explain that even when some words are understood individually, they do not seem to make a lot of sense unless you have been taught what the phrase means. Share examples.

Divide students into groups of 2-4. Give each group a card. The card should have an idiom and its definition. The group should illustrate a picture that comes to mind when the idiom is read literally. Then have them act out what the idiom means in practice.

Here are some examples:
Green thumb (good at gardening)
Blue collar worker (person who works manually)
Cat has got your tongue (don’t know what to say)
On pins and needles (feeling of suspense)
Silver screen (movie/film industry)
Red tape (rules and setbacks)
Jump through hoops (there are many things in the way of your goal)
Hit the books (study hard)
Time flies (time is going by quickly)
Once in a blue moon (only once in a long time)
Swallow your pride (put others first)
Brainstorm (to list new ideas informally)

Additional Question: What other idioms have you heard?

Supplemental Activity: Have students choose 1-2 idioms to research. They can learn the history behind it by finding out when, where and how it originated.