Jesus Is Born (Matthew 1:18-25; 2:1-12 Luke 1:26-58; 2:1-20)

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1 SCIENCE LEADER GUIDE Jesus Is Born (Matthew 1:18-25; 2:1-12 Luke 1:26-58; 2:1-20) Age-Level Overview Age-Level Overview Open the Bible Activate Faith Lower Elementary Workshop Focus: Jesus was worth waiting for! What Child Is This?: Kids learn about animal gestation. : Spark Story Bibles : : : Index cards, markers, tape, scissors, paper, bowl or hat Upper Elementary Workshop Focus: Jesus is God s light for the world! Reflections: Kids experiment with reflected beams of light. : Spark Bibles, Spark Bible Stickers : : : Handheld mirrors, flashlights, shiny metal spoons, clear glass jars, bowls, pennies, scissors, paper, markers, tape All Kids Workshop Focus Statement: We all count in God s eyes. Everything Counts!: Kids learn how to census various animal populations. : Spark Story Bibles,Spark Bibles, Spark Bible Stickers : Pencils : : Pictures of animals, tape, index cards, pens, buttons, paper clips, seeds, confetti, scissors, chart paper or whiteboard, markers Visit for more Spark content. Watch a short Lesson Prep Video that will prepare you and give you confidence to explore this Bible story with the kids you are leading. You will also find a downloadable Family Page for this rotation s story filled with ideas for families to use to explore this story and live out their faith at home. Jesus Is Born 113

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3 SCIENCE LEADER GUIDE Jesus Is Born (Matthew 1:18-25; 2:1-12 Luke 1:26-58; 2:1-20) Lower Elementary Workshop Focus: Jesus was worth waiting for! Keep these tips in mind as you welcome kids to the workshop and explore the story together. Each week, remember to welcome kids to the rotation. Keep in mind that for some kids it may be the first time they are visiting your workshop! If kids have heard the story several times during previous weeks, read it again! Kids learn through repetition, and every workshop will explore the Bible story in a slightly different way. Remember that the Shepherds are there to support you as they accompany kids each week. Be sure to visit to download the Family Page for this story. Make copies of it and ask Shepherds to distribute it during the Wrap Up. Open the Bible (10 minutes) Jesus Is Born Storytelling Welcome to Science. What is Christmas? (a celebration of Jesus birth) How do we know Christmas is coming? (songs, advertisements, calendar) What are some things you are doing to get ready for Christmas? (choir practice, decorating, baking, shopping, praying, reading my Bible, etc.) Before Jesus was born, there was no Christmas. But some people knew Christmas was coming, and they worked hard to get ready. As we read today s Bible stories, let s try to figure out three things Who knew Christmas was coming? How did these people know Christmas was coming? What did they do to get ready? Spark Story Bibles SCIENCE Let s open our Bibles to the stories of Advent and Christmas. We ll start with Angels Visit on page 196 and then we ll read Mary Visits Elizabeth on page 202. Jesus Is Born 115

4 We know that Christmas is the celebration of Christ s birth. Who knew about Christ s birth before he was born? (Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth) How do you think they knew? (An angel of God told them.) What did they do to get ready? (Maybe they made clothes or a baby bed.) Preparing for a new baby is an exciting time. Let s explore that excitement now. Activate Faith (25 minutes) What Child Is This? Set Up: Write 10 days, 20 days, 30 days, up to 650 days, on separate index cards. Use them to create a timeline by taping them to the walls or floor. Write the animal names from the Animal Babies worksheet on page 127 of this guide on the chart below on separate slips of paper, and the weights of each animal on separate full-sized pieces of paper. Activity Instructions In today s story, we read about how both Mary and Elizabeth were expecting babies. Do you know how many months a human baby grows inside a mom? (nine months) 65 index cards Markers Tape Scissors Paper Bowl or hat Nine months is about 270 days. That can seem like a long time. But as we read in the story, it gives the mother and father time to get ready. It also gives the baby time to grow. Human babies come in all different sizes, but most of them weigh between 5 and 7 pounds (2.26 and 3.17 kilograms). Jesus was born in a stable. What animals do you think were in the stable? (sheep, cows, horses) How long do baby animals stay inside their moms? How big are they when they are born? That s what we are going to investigate. 1. Everyone draw a slip of paper. Pass around a hat or bowl with animal slips. Be sure everyone can read the animal name First we re going to see how long each animal is pregnant. The numbers around the room are a timeline. We ll all march around the timeline, counting together. When I say your animal name and time, you stay right there. Walk around the room counting the days and naming animals. For example, Opossum, 13 days. Deer Mouse, 22 days. After everyone is in place, let them marvel at the differences. Show where Jesus would be on the timeline 270 days. Some animals are very tiny when they are born and need lots of care from their mothers. Some animals are big when they are born and are more independent. We have 16 pieces of paper with weights on them. One of the 116 Workshop Leader Guides

5 weights matches the weight of a newborn baby of the animal you have on your slip of paper. Let s try to guess which weight belongs to you! Ask each kid: Your animal is a. It is inside its mom for days. How much do you think it weighs when it is born? Go around the room, asking each kid how much they think their newborn animal weighs before you give them the answer. There will likely be some surprises! (Newborn bears and mountain lions are smaller than newborn anteaters and sheep.) Each animal is different, and that is good. We wouldn t want all the animals to be as big as an elephant or small as a mouse. God knows that each one of us is different, too. Send (5 minutes) Wrap Up Remind the Shepherds to distribute the Family Page for this story if the kids haven t already received it, and come together for Wrap Up. Just like mother animals prepare for having babies, Advent is the time when we prepare for baby Jesus. It s a good thing we don t have to wait as long as an elephant does! In today s story, there was a lot of preparation. Mary and Joseph got married. Mary and Elizabeth might have things for their new babies. What kinds of things do people do to get ready for babies? (get a room ready, purchase or make clothes, collect bottles and other supplies, have baby showers, etc.) Let s think of ways we can prepare for Jesus birth and put them in our prayer. God gave all creatures time to prepare for new responsibilities as parents. Advent gives us time to prepare for the coming of baby Jesus. Family Pages Prayer Time Dear God, Help us to use the time of Advent and Christmas every year to prepare for your arrival. In Jesus name. Amen. SCIENCE Jesus Is Born 117

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7 SCIENCE LEADER GUIDE Jesus Is Born (Matthew 1:18-25; 2:1-12 Luke 1:26-58; 2:1-20) Upper Elementary Workshop Focus: Jesus is God s light for the world! Keep these tips in mind as you welcome kids to the workshop and explore the story together. Each week, remember to welcome kids to the rotation. Keep in mind that for some kids it may be the first time they are visiting your workshop! If kids have heard the story several times during previous weeks, read it again! Kids learn through repetition, and every workshop will explore the Bible story in a slightly different way. Remember that the Shepherds are there to support you as they accompany kids each week. Be sure to visit to download the Family Page for this story. Make copies of it and ask Shepherds to distribute it during the Wrap Up. Open the Bible (10 minutes) Jesus Is Born Storytelling Welcome to Science. How do you react to surprises? (Wow! It depends on the surprise.) Some surprises, like unexpected presents, are received with immediate joy. Some surprises, like a pop quiz, are received with worry or fear. Some surprises just take time to get used to. Today s Bible stories are full of surprises. If you have heard the stories before, you may not be surprised. But imagine you were living the story. As we read today, every time something unexpected happens to someone, we ll shout Surprise! Let s begin in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 1, verse 18 and read through chapter 2:12. You can find it on page When you are finished reading the text, invite kids to talk about the Think About It questions in the boxes on page 1058 and How would you feel if an angel appeared to you in a dream? If you could give the child Jesus a gift, what would it be? Spark Bibles Spark Bible Stickers SCIENCE Humans are often surprised at what God says will happen. But anything is possible for God. I m not pretending to be God, but I predict that some of you may be surprised by our experiments today. Let s get started. Jesus Is Born 119

8 Activate Faith (25 minutes) Reflections Set Up: Use the paper and markers to make several targets. Tape the targets in odd places, high and low, around the room. Activity Instructions What does reflection mean to you? It means to think, talk or write about something we have experienced. Light and sound can be reflected or bounced around. In today s story, many of the characters reflected on what they heard or saw. They thought about their experiences. We re going to do some reflective activities as well Find a partner. Get a mirror and a flashlight. Let s start with a few simple experiments. Have one person hold the mirror perpendicular to the floor. Turn off the lights. Shine the flashlight straight into the mirror. What happens? (The light bounces straight back.) What happens when you stand to the right side of the mirror and aim the flashlight at an angle? (The light bounces to the left.) Handheld mirrors, 1 per kid Flashlights, 1 for every 2 kids Shiny metal spoons, one per kid Combs, one for every two kids Clear glass jars, 1 for every 2 kids Bowls, 1 for every 2 kids Pennies, 1 for every 2 kids Scissors Paper Markers Tape What happens when you stand to the left side of the mirror and aim the light at an angle? (The light bounces to the right). Try the same experiments, this time bouncing the light off the bowl of a spoon. What do you notice this time? (The light always bounces back towards me.) 5. Turn on the lights. Look into the bowl of the spoon. What do you notice? (We look upside down.) Can you explain why? (We saw with the mirrors that light bounces in straight lines. Since the spoon is curved, the light bounces straight back to us How many targets do you see? Try to reflect the light off a mirror and onto a target. Give the teams several minutes to accomplish this challenge. To make it more challenging, find another set of people and work with 2 mirrors and 2 flashlights. Your challenge is the same, except you must arrange your mirrors so that the light is reflected twice before it hits the targets. Fill a jar with water. Have one partner in each group hold the mirror on one side of the jar. Have the other partner shines the flashlight through the water. What do you notice? (The water bends the light. It doesn t go straight.) 120 Workshop Leader Guides

9 9. Turn the lights on. Fill a bowl about one-third full of water. Put a penny in the bowl. Walk backwards until you can t see the penny anymore. Stand in the same place as your partner adds more water to the bowl. What happens? (You can see the penny again.) Send (5 minutes) Wrap Up Remind the Shepherds to distribute the Family Page for this story if the kids haven t already received it, and come together for Wrap Up. We saw today how paths of light change or seem invisible. God sends us messages all the time. It s important to try to be more like a mirror and reflect God s word straight back to God. Mary and Joseph did that when they accepted the message that they would become the parents of Jesus, and the Wise Men accepted the message they received in a dream. They knew that Jesus would be God s light to the world and they wanted to reflect that light. We want to reflect that light, too! Family Pages Prayer Time Dear God, You gave us Jesus, your Son, to be the light of the world. Make us like mirrors so we can reflect Jesus light by the way we live, by the way we speak, by the way we act. Jesus is God s light to the world! Amen. SCIENCE Jesus Is Born 121

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11 SCIENCE LEADER GUIDE Jesus Is Born (Matthew 1:18-25; 2:1-12 Luke 1:26-58; 2:1-20) All Kids Workshop Focus: We all count in God s eyes. Keep these tips in mind as you welcome kids to the workshop and explore the story together. Each week, remember to welcome kids to the rotation. Keep in mind that for some kids it may be the first time they are visiting your workshop! If kids have heard the story several times during previous weeks, read it again! Kids learn through repetition, and every workshop will explore the Bible story in a slightly different way. Remember that the Shepherds are there to support you as they accompany kids each week. Be sure to visit to download the Family Page for this story. Make copies of it and ask Shepherds to distribute it during the Wrap Up. Open the Bible (10 minutes) Jesus Is Born Storytelling Welcome to Science. Do you know what we call your Sunday school group leaders? (Shepherds) Shepherds lead around flocks of sheep. There are many stories in the Bible that refer to shepherds tending their flocks. Good shepherds know each member of their flock. Every sheep counts! Spark Story Bibles Spark Bibles Spark Bible Stickers Let s open our Spark Bibles to Luke 2 on page This is a story about Jesus birth. At the beginning, Mary and Joseph are traveling to be counted. This same story is Jesus Is Born in our Spark Story Bibles on page 212. Older kids, as we read from the Spark Story Bibles, I will tell you where to go in your Spark Bibles to match what the younger kids are reading. Be sure to place a Spark Bible Sticker in a good spot and feel free to write in the margins. Read Jesus Is Born from the Spark Story Bible. Pencils SCIENCE We heard about angels, shepherds, and Mary and Joseph. They all counted in God s eyes. We all count in God s eyes, too! Jesus Is Born 123

12 Activate Faith (25 minutes) Everything Counts! Set Up: Count every animal in the pictures. Record this number for future reference. Tape the pictures of animals around the room in places both easily seen and very hidden. For each child, fold an index card in half. Leaving about a ½ inch margin on the sides, cut up from the center fold to make a rectangular frame. Write each of the following frog calls on one side of the board. Ribbit. Croak. Peep. Click-click-click. Activity Instructions Mary probably would have liked to given birth at home, but she and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem to be registered and counted. In the United States and other countries, the government counts all people every few years. This is called a census. Scientists also count how many animals live in an area. By counting them every year, or every few years, scientists can get an idea if the living things are doing okay, or if they need some help. But it can be a bit tricky to count wild animals. Why? (They like to hide. Some are small. They don t come when you call them.) Today we re going to practice a few methods used to census animal populations. Pictures of animals alone and in groups Tape Index cards 2 per child Pen 1 per child Small items buttons, paper clips, seeds, confetti Scissors Chart paper and markers or Whiteboard and markers 1. First let s try the visual method. I ve placed pictures of animals around the room. How many animals you can find in two minutes? Remember, count all the animals in the pictures but don t take the pictures! After two minutes, collect the pictures as they watch. Did they find them all? Did they count each individual animal and each animal that is shown in a group? 2. Sometimes, there are thousands of birds, fish, and insects living in one area. This makes it hard to count each animal. Scientists don t usually count each animal in a large group, they estimate. Think of a type of animal that likes to be in large groups. We ll pretend these (seeds, buttons, paper clips) are those animals. Randomly spread the small items (seeds...) across the tops of tables or an area on the floor. 3. Distribute index card frames. This is your area counter. Everyone will toss their frame into the area, and then count the number of animals inside it. Record their results on the board. Find the average number of animals living in an area by adding all the results and dividing this number by the number of frames used. 4. To figure out the total number of animals, we need to figure out how many frames would fit in this area. To do this, lay the frames side by side along 124 Workshop Leader Guides

13 one edge of the area and count them. Record this number on the board. Next, lay the frames end to end along another side and count them. Record this number on the board. When we multiply these two numbers together, the result will be the total number of frames that would fit in our sampling area. 5. To figure out how many animals are in the area, we take the average number per frame, and multiply it by the total number of frames. Do the math and show kids the results. Sometimes animals are hard to see. Frogs often hide when people come around. So instead of trying to see them, scientists listen for them. Each spring, male frogs start singing in order to find a mate. Each type of frog makes a different sound. Distribute one index card and pen to each kid. Show everyone the chart paper with the different frog calls. (Ribbit. Croak. Peep. Click-click-click. ) 6. Write one frog call from the board on your card. Collect the pens. When I say go, make your call, over and over, for two minutes. At the same time, walk around and try to count how many frogs there are of each kind. After two minutes, record their estimates on the board. Collect the cards and compare the actual numbers to the estimates. Send (5 minutes) Wrap Up Remind the Shepherds to distribute the Family Page for this story if the kids haven t already received it, and come together for Wrap Up. Family Pages Today we learned how to census animal populations. It is important to count every animal. They are all important. Invite kids to share their impressions of the census activity. We learned that Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem to be counted in a census. Each of us is an individual; we look different, we act different, and we have individual talents. And each of us is recognized as one of God s own. We all count! To celebrate our individuality within our group, I d like each of you to add your name to our closing prayer. Prayer Time Dear God, In groups large and small, people around the world are looking forward to celebrating the birth of your Son, Jesus. We, (have each kid say his/her name), want you to know that we are happy to be counted as one of your children. Thank you for your constant care and protection. Amen. SCIENCE Jesus Is Born 125

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15 Animal Babies Animal Average Gestational Development Time Average Birth Weight Black bear 120 days 7 ounces / grams Camel 360 days 80 pounds / kilograms Cow 270 days 90 pounds / kilograms Deer 210 days 5.5 pounds / 2.49 kilograms Deer mouse 22 days.06 ounces / 1.7 grams Donkey 365 days 55 pounds / kilograms Elephant 645 days 232 pounds / kilograms Giant anteater 190 days 3 pounds / 1.36 kilograms Giraffe 420 days 125 pounds / kilograms Mountain lion 90 days 12 ounces / 340 grams Opossum 13 days.006 ounces /.17 grams Rabbit 27 days 1 ounce / grams Sheep 149 days 3.5 pounds / 1.59 kilograms Squirrel 44 days.5 ounces / grams Tiger 103 days 2.2 pounds / 1 kilogram Jesus Is Born 127

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