How Many Different Talents Can There Be?

Scripture: Matt 25:13-30

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will participate in an activity to become familiar with English homophones and homonyms.
  • Students will learn the meaning of “talent” in English and how God wants us to use our talents for his glory. Students will compare and contrast this with the meaning of “talent” as a measure of gold in the Bible.

Guiding Questions:

  • What are the meanings of different homonyms in English?
  • What are the meanings of different homophones in English?

Materials: Cards with words and pictures of homonyms and/or homophones for playing a matching game, paper, pencil

Procedure: Review the Parable of the Talents (NIV)/ Story of Three Slaves (NIrV). Explain that in Jesus’ time gold was measured in talents. One talent was worth several years pay. In English, a talent is also a word that describes something someone can do exceptionally well. Talents can be art, music, good communication skills, sports, writing, etc.

Explain that homonyms and homophones are words that sound the same but have different meanings. Homophones are spelled differently. Homonyms are spelled the same. Review the Bible story of the Parable of the Talents. Emphasize the homophones in the story: too/to/two, be/bee, for/four.

Show students pictures of different pairs of homonyms and homophones and their spelling. Divide students into pairs or small teams. Play a memory match game. Each pair or pair of teams gets a stack of cards. Students place the cards in neat rows face-down. One person flips over 2 cards and if they match, they keep them. There are different possible variations:

  1. Have homophones on the cards and students try find the two words that are pronounced the same. Ex. Too/to, knew/new, four/for, pear/pair, meet/meat road/rode, son/sun.
  2. Show pictures of homonyms and students have to find the two cards that show a picture of a word that are homonyms (pronounced and spelled the same). Ex. Nail (finger vs. tool), Bear (carry vs. animal), tire (sleepy vs. car), bat (baseball vs. animal), band (rubber band vs. instruments), date (calendar vs. fruit), gum (mouth vs. candy), ring (circle vs. bell sound)

Additional Questions:

  • What homophones/homonyms can you think of in your own language?
  • Can you think of other English homophones/homonyms?

Supplemental Activity: Have students keep a hand-made dictionary of homonyms and homophones that they hear or see. Encourage them to write their own definitions of each and illustrate.

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