What Just Happened?

Scripture: Numbers 13-14

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will review the story of the spies exploring Canaan.
  • Students will learn that God expects us to trust that He knows what is best for us and will keep His promises.
  • Students will learn to use different reading strategies to find information from the text.
  • Students will participate in an activity to help them practice finding important information in a reading a passage.

Guiding Question: How can we find specific information that we need in a long passage of text?

Materials: various reading passages, reproduced on paper that students can mark on (or use dry erase markers on passages placed in plastic page protectors); pencils, pens or dry erase markers as needed

Procedure: Review the story of the spies exploring Canaan. Ask the students: why sere the spies sent to Canaan?; what was their job?; what were they looking for?; how might they have gone about finding it, when they had never been there before? The spies were sent to gather specific information in an unfamiliar place. They had to know what to look for, and decide where to look. Their time was limited so they had to work efficiently. Reading for information is very much like that.

Give the students a passage to read that has specific questions at the end. Have the student look for the title, any subtitles, illustrations, diagrams, or other helps and tell what they think the passage is about.
Have the students look at the questions and tell what the most important words are in each the question. For example, if a student is looking through a passage for the answer to “How far is the earth from the sun?” ask her what are the most important words in the question. How far, earth, sun. What words might be in the answer? Earth, sun, and some number.

Have the students skim through the passage looking for the answer to each question, focusing on the important words identified. It may help to underline the words as they go, so that even if the word “sun” in the second paragraph does not lead to the answer, the brain continues to focus on the word.
When the students think they have found an answer, have them reread the question and the answer to sure one answer the other. Repeat with other passage if time allows.

Supplemental Activity: Another way to practice skimming is to have a seek and find race. Pick a page of a book at random and ask the student to find a specific word. Make it a word that is at least half way down the page at first, then try other words that may be nearer the top or bottom of the page. The student should try to find it as quickly as possible.