What Time Is It By the Sun?

Scripture: Joshua 10-11, 18

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will learn God always keeps his promises.
  • Students will learn partial obedience to God is not obedience and can bring consequences.
  • Students will learn the choices people make can affect future generations.
  • Students will learn God created the sun and can control it and anything else he wants to control.
  • Students will participate in an activity to better understand how the sun and time normally work in order to understand the miracle in the story better.  

Guiding Question:How does the sun normally work in relation to time and why does that mean this lesson was a story of a miracle of God?

Materials:Large paper or plastic plate, markers, sticks, optional masking or colored tapes

Procedure: Review the story of Joshua and the day the sun stood still with students. Talk about the miracle involved. Explain that God uses miracles to remind people He is God and can control anything – including the sun.

Help students understand the basics of how the sun normally moves during the day, creating a marker for time. By causing the sun to stand still, God was in effect making time stand still as well. (Since this is a difficult concept for children to understand, you may want to do the craft before telling the story. Take the finished sundials outside and have students note where the shadow is at that time. After telling the story and discussing it with students, note where the shadow is at this point. It won’t move much in those fifteen minutes, but if you have marked where it was, a slight difference should be visible.)

Give students paper plates. Have them decorate the center with something that helps them remember God as the Creator can change any “rules” of nature with miracles any time He wants. Have students mark the rim of the plate with numbers like a clock. (Plates are pre-marked with tape at the 12, 3,6 and 9 positions.) Students should insert the stick in the middle of the plate through the hole made there. Have them put a bit of play dough on the reverse side of the sundial around the stick. (This will keep the stick stable and more accurate.)

Take the sundials outdoors and line them up so the shadow reflects the current time. Encourage students to take home their sundials and use them this week to tell time. Remind them every time they see their sundial, they should remember God can do anything!

Additional Questions:

  • Why does the sun move across the sky? Does the sun or earth actually move?
  • Now that you know God’s power of science, how does that effect your relationship with him? How can you trust him more?

Supplemental Activity: Based on what they learned about the sun dial, have students make their own human sun dial by allowing a person to be the center (gnomon) that casts the shadow. Use chalk and a paved or concrete surface.

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