Build Up A Sentence

Scripture: Nehemiah

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will review the story of Nehemiah.
  • Students will learn the function of subjects, verbs, and objects.
  • Students will practice arranging words to make a grammatically correct sentence in order to build a sentence wall with word blocks.

Guiding Questions:

  • What is a subject and noun?
  • What is an object of a sentence?
  • What is a verb?
  • How are nouns and verbs arranged in a sentence?

Materials: cards with pre-printed subject nouns, object nouns, and verbs, building blocks, tape

Procedure: Review the story of Nehemiah, focusing on his dedication to rebuilding the wall and the many people it took to do so. Discuss with students how words are like the individual bricks that build a sentence. They cannot do very much alone, but when structured together, they are strong and serve an important purpose. Explain that all sentences have a noun and a verb. (Note: Commands such as “Sit” and replies such as “Yes” are exceptions.) In general, a noun is a person, place or thing. When a noun is doing something it is a subject and usually comes first in the sentence. Verbs are action words and usually come after the subject. The object follows the verb and is the noun that is required for the action to take place. Show them some examples (see list below).

Prepare 3 word sentences such as:
• Maria (S) eats (V) bread (O).
• Jake (S) helps (V) friends (O).
• Sara makes bracelets.
Tell students that they get to build a sentence wall. Before students arrive, write one word per card and place them in 3 different piles: 1 pile for subjects, 1 pile for verbs and 1 pile for objects. Tape each card on the side of a block so that students can build with them. If you do not have blocks, just use cards and they can be taped on a wall or placed on the floor. Briefly review the words on the cards so students understand their pronunciation and meaning. Try to use words students would already be more familiar with.
Have students come up and choose one word/block from each pile. (For more advanced students, jumble the words and do not have separate piles for subjects, verbs and objects.) Then they have to place them in the correct order to make a grammatically correct English sentence and then read it aloud. The next student does the same thing, but stacks their sentence blocks on top of the last sentence. See how high the wall can build until it falls over or you run out of blocks/words.

Additional Questions:

  • How do additional words like “a,” “the,” “an” fit in an English sentence?
  • How does the word order in English compare to your first language?
  • What are some example sentences that you might have heard the builders saying to each other as they build the wall with Nehemiah? Indicate the nouns and verbs in these examples.

Supplemental Activity: Students can create their own words to place on the blocks and build with. Challenge them to use other parts of speech such as prepositions and adjectives. Discuss where they belong in the sentence’s structure.