Shoo Fly Don’t Bother Me

Scripture: Exodus 7-10

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will review the story of the ten plagues and how God sent them upon the Egyptians while keeping the Israelites safe.
  • Students will learn how to store and seal food properly to prevent bugs.
  • Students will learn basic methods of repelling bugs from their bodies.

Guiding Questions:

How can we prevent bugs from pestering us?

How can we seal food so that it does not attract bugs?

Why were bugs a significant plague?

Materials: Sweet/fragrant candle, Ziploc bag, plastic ware, cereal, table cloth, different types of bug repellent such as bug spray and essential oil blends with citronella.


Have students close their eyes. Place an open, unlit, fragrant candle under their nose. Then place the same type of candle in a Ziploc or plastic ware under their nose. Ask them which they smelled. Explain that bugs rely on smell to sense food, which attracts them. Ask students what kinds of foods they like (most likely sweets). Explain that bugs usually love sweets too! To prevent them from getting to your food, seal food tightly in containers.

Show students different methods of resealing a cereal box: 1. Leaving it open 2. Rolling down the bag 3. Clipping the bag shut 2. Placing it in a re-sealable container such as plastic ware. Have students sequence which ways they think are effective for preventing bugs from least to most effective.

Lay out clean table cloths across the floor and sprinkle a trail of cereal. Students can race to the cereal box at the end of the table cloth by picking up the cereal trail as they go.
Explain that the cereal was like crumbs for bugs such as ants. They follow the trail to get to the food. When we are finished with our food, we should cup our hands and brush all the crumbs into the trash. If there is a sticky residue, get some wet towels to wipe it clean. This will prevent super sleuth bugs from picking up on the trail and getting to your food!

Once finished, let students taste the cereal.

While students are eating the cereal: Brainstorm methods to keep bugs off of food when you are serving it outside: placing a cloth over the food, using dish covers, keeping food far off the ground and away from trees or overhanging branches.

Explain that some bugs think that people are a sweet treat! These bugs include mosquitos that can carry diseases. Discuss effects of their bites such as West Nile Virus. Show students different repellents such as sprays with DEET and natural essential oils such as citronella. Allow students to safely whiff each to smell the difference. Show students how to whiff with their hand and not inhale deeply. When you use essential oils, explain that it only needs to be applied to key areas such as ankles, behind knees, under elbows, and on neck.

Additional Questions:

  • Why do you think it took ten plagues for Pharaoh to let the Israelites go? This is a good place to discuss how each plague probably represented a different Egyptian deity: Fly God, Earth God (Dust became lice)
  • How do you think the Israelites reacted to their immunity from the plagues? How did this show that it was the hand of God and not a natural occurrence?

Supplemental Activities:

  • Students play a tag game to role play bug repellent. Mark off an area for the game. One student is the bug. Another student holds a bandana to symbolize repellent such as citronella. If the bug tags another student, that student becomes the new bug. The person with the bandanna cannot be tagged. Every ten seconds the teacher will call out “safe zone.” That is the “repellent’s” cue to give the bandana to another player who is then immune from being tagged. The old “repellent” goes to the safe zone and can’t be tagged. The game continues until all of the students are either tagged or in the safe zone.
  • Have students research bugs that are prevalent in their local communities. Which ones are harmful and how can they be avoided? Are there some good bugs that control them such as certain types of spiders? Students can bring pictures and report their findings to the class.

Written by: Savannah Negas

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