To Do Or Not To Do

Scripture: Exodus 19

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will review the ten commandments and how they were given lovingly by God to protect us.
  • Students will practice using the difference between using “no” and “not” English as they play an interactive game.

Guiding Question: How are the words “no” and “not” used in English to negate something.

Materials: paper, writing utensil, container (basket, hat, box, bag, etc.)

Procedure: Review the story of Moses on Mt. Sinai focusing on the Ten Commandments. Emphasize that even though it seems like a long list of things that we cannot do, it is actually a blessing because it protects us. It also leaves a very long list of things that we can do. It would be worse if there were only ten things that we could do! Emphasize the use of the word “not.”

Teach students the difference between the two words in English used to denote negation: no and not. “No” is used with nouns (person place or thing) that do not have an article (a/an, the) in front of it. It can also be used to answer a question. “Not” is used with verbs to negate that you are doing something. Example:
• There are no cookies left.
• May I eat a cookie? No.
• I do not eat cookies.
• There is not a cookie left.

Play a revised version of the classic “Mother May I?/ Teacher May I?” game. One student is the “teacher.” Place two balled up pieces of paper in a small container. One should have “Yes” and the other should have “No” written on it. Students take turns asking the “teacher” if they may do something. The “teacher” pulls a piece of paper from the container and replies accordingly, but must use a complete sentence using the action word. The students ask: “May I ______(example: jump five times).” The teacher pulls out a yes or no and must reply using a complete sentence such as: “No. You may not jump five times.” If it is a yes, then the students do the action. If it is a no, then they cannot do it.

To make it a competitive game: Divide the class in 2 teams. Each team takes turns asking a question. The team that gets the most “yes” answers from the teacher wins. (This means that the winner wins by chance not necessarily skill/ mastery of the concept, but it prevents “teacher” favoritism.)

Additional Questions:

  • How do rules and laws protect us?
  • How are laws in your government, school, church, and home similar? How are they different?
  • What are other ways to negate language in English?

Supplemental Activity: Have students work together to create a set of 10 class rules in English. They can have a mix of things that they can do and things that they cannot do. Post the rules so that students can refer to them during class and remind each other of the expectations.