How to Teach a Creation Unit or Theme

1_Day 1 Creation Week_sm    2_Day 2 Creation Week_sm     3_Day 3 Creation Week_sm    4_Day 4 Creation Week_sm    5_Day 5 Creation Week_sm     6_Day 6 Creation Week_sm    7_Day 7 Creation Week_sm

Spreading the story of Creation over a number of lessons can be a great way to go deeper and to appreciate the awesome creative nature of God.

Each individual day of the Creation Week can be taught so as to form a unit or group of lessons.  Each lesson the explores one day of the creation while lesson seven finishes it off with an overview and charge to appreciate and take care of the creation God has blessed us with.   You will find here an example of how the unit might be taught once each week over 7 weeks.

The Overview

Giving an overview of the creation week at the beginning of each lesson keeps the individual lessons in context. A simple way to do this is to tell the “Creation Story” each time you meet using a variety of methods before delving deeper into the particular day assigned for the week.

Children might lose interest if you were to use the same visual aid to repeat this overview each week so try a number of different methods. For example, even if you had only one set of visual aid pictures you could present in the following ways over the seven lessons:

  • Week 1: Use a printed visual aid with pictures of each of the days.
  • Week 2: Show a slideshow of the same visual on a laptop, tablet or phone.
  • Week 3: Write numbers one through seven down the left side of a paper (or on the chalkboard or whiteboard) and let the children help you fill in the story beside each number.
  • Week 4: Ask one of the children to show the original visual aid with pictures and explain it to the class.
  • Week 5: Divide the group so that each group will draw one of the days of creation on a large piece of paper. Each group will then show their picture to everyone in the correct order. For fewer children then you and the children can each draw one or more pictures and talk about creation as you are drawing.
  • Week 6: Use any of the visual aids above but, while you are showing it, the children can use their imaginations to make sound effects or perform actions that go with each day. For instance, for day one a child flips the room lights off and on or puts their hands over their eyes. For day two children could make sounds of water splashing. Even taking the time to prepare how they will act out each day allows the children to learn this story even more.
  • Week 7: Ask the class to vote on which of the methods you will use to present the story of creation this last time by way of review.

Ongoing Classroom Activities

If you are teaching these lessons as a unit then you will be able to plan learning activities that span a number of lessons.  View these as class projects that the children can add to and perfect over a number of weeks.

  • Creation Table: Dedicate one large table in your classroom to the discovery of the creation. Stock the table with items such as a magnifying glass, microscope, telescope, tweezers, scalpel or knife (for use only with the teacher), ruler, measuring tape, scales, hammer and board to hammer on, water, camera, paper for notes or drawing, encyclopaedias or books about nature and anything else you can think of that helps in exploration and discovery. Each week you can use these tools to explore new items that you bring to class. I suggest you bring new things every week so that you keep it interesting.
  • Creation Bulletin Board: Use a large bulletin board or attach a long and wide strip of paper to the wall. Divide into 7 equal parts and label each with a number (1-7). Alternatively, use 7 poster boards. You or the children can attach (or draw) items onto to the appropriate days as you cover each lesson. You could also supply small Ziploc or plastic bags so that the children could put items in them and bring them to class. Parents could help fill the bag if you let them know ahead of time. Just tape or blue-tac the bag straight onto the paper if you like. Your display will grow each week.
  • Creation Boxes: Use seven boxes (fruit boxes from the grocery or shoe boxes from a shop are good) in the same way you did the Bulletin Board in the previous section. Instead of attaching items to a bulletin board just place them in the appropriate boxes each week. You can also use the boxes for review by removing items and then letting the children remember which day of creation God created them. They can place them in the correct box.
  • Creation Walk: Make a checklist of items relating to a particular day of creation. You could just use pictures for younger children. Take the children on a walk and help them find the items on the list. Alternatively collect items on your walk to add to your classroom collection.
  • Library Corner: The public library will have lots of books about all aspects of nature. Each week you could check out books that relate to your lesson and bring them to class. Part of your class time could be used to show pictures from the books or share things you yourself have learned from the books.
  • Creation Mural: If you artistic or know someone who is, then use a large paper, canvas or whiteboard and add to a picture each week as you study it. By the end of the seven weeks you will have a complete picture. Alternatively, the children could add to the picture each week. You will have to plan this out so that you know what should be added each week.
  • Internet and the Computer: Don’t forget the internet as a resource. Ideally you could have a laptop and internet connection in your classroom. If not in your classroom you might use someone’s office or invite the children to your house for lunch. You can use images from Google or Flickr for some wonderful pictures that highlight particular aspects of creation. YouTube has video clips of fun things like sunrises, flowers opening up, eggs hatching open, storms…just about anything really. If you are not familiar with any of these things then how about connecting with one of the young adults or teens and asking them to help you do this as a project. They might come to your class and share with the children or they may just teach you how to do it yourself.
  • Guest Speaker(s): If there is someone you know who is expert or has an interest in certain fields then they could come and speak to the children about the wonders of God’s creation that relate to their area of interest. Some suggestions might be: anatomy, medicine, sports science, animal science, botany, astronomy, farming, marine life… the list is endless and depends on who you might know.

Items to Collect and Use

Here are a few hands-on items that you might use for the lessons.  You can combine them with the classroom activities listed above or just have them on hand to enhance your teaching.  I’m sure you will think of more!

  • Day 1 (light): black paper and white paint, torch, candle, prism, magnifying glass, various papers or items to shine light through, overhead projector, lamp, laser light, items that reflect light, black-light, glow sticks, heat lamps, glow in the dark stickers…
  • Day 2 (air and water): containers to hold and pour water, funnel, sponges, straws, purchased “capsules” that turn into animals when placed in water, bowl of water and items that float, dry ice to make fog (with adult supervision), jug to boil water and make steam, ice, pictures of the sky and storms (sunsets, rain, tornadoes, cloud formations, etc), recorded or downloaded sounds of  storms or rain sounds, a fan to experiment with wind conditions…
  • Day 3 (land and plants): various kinds of soil and sand, clay to mold, photos of land forms (mountains, rivers, shorelines, islands, deserts), various plants, seeds, leaves, branches, flowers, roots, fruit, vegetables, whole grain bread so you can spot grains and seeds, spices in unmarked jars so children can guess what smell it is, soil and water for mud pies, sand box for sand castles…
  • Day 4 (sun, moon, stars): sunglasses, prism, glow in the dark stickers, magnifying glass, anything that reflects the sunlight, astronomy books, various items from day 1…
  • Day 5 (birds and fish): live birds or fish, dead fish to examine, chicken eggs, feathers, binoculars to spot birds in the sky outside, sea shells, nests, bird sounds on CD, books on native birds and fish…
  • Day 6 (animals and people): Anything that will allow children to test their senses ie. hearing tests, vision tests, things to smell and guess or items in a bag to touch and guess without seeing. Items to discover things about the human body ie. scales, weights to lift, stethoscope for hearing heartbeat, measuring pulse or blood or hair to look at under microscope. You could bring a doll and talk about babies and how they grow. Anything to do with animals ie. live animals, animal skins or furs, CD’s with animal sounds, items used to take care of animals or puzzles or books about animals…
  • Day 7 (taking care of the creation): Anything about recycling ie. empty containers so children can look for the recycle symbol on the bottom, items that have been made of recyclable materials, rubbish items for the children to think of ways to use again instead of throw away, newspaper articles about the earth…

Be Prepared

From a very young age children will here a variety of different views about how the world came to be. Television, school, church, parents, family and friends often offer quite different versions. Even among Christians there is not complete agreement. This can be disconcerting.

Take time to read about various views on the Creation. Learn what you can and teach only what you know. But don’t feel you have to have all of the answers before you can teach the Creation Story. Any scientist still has questions or they could no longer call themselves a true scientist. Any Christian who believes they have found all the answers about God have lost their awe of him.

Explore the wonder of God’s creation alongside the children in your class. Experience awe together. Encourage questions. Ask your own. Let God’s creation proclaim his nature through the things he has made.

There are things about God that people cannot see—his eternal power and all the things that make him God. But since the beginning of the world those things have been easy to understand. They are made clear by what God has made. So people have no excuse for the bad things they do. Romans 1:20 International Children’s Bible (ICB)

“All things were made through him. Nothing was made without him.”  John 1:3 (ICB)

“The deepest places on earth are his.  And the highest mountains belong to him.
The sea is his because he made it.  He created the land with his own hands.”  Psalm 95:4-5 (ICB)

“The heavens tell the glory of God.  And the skies announce what his hands have made. ” Psalm 19:1 (ICB)

Scriptures quoted from the International Children’s Bible®, copyright ©1986, 1988, 1999, 2015 by Tommy Nelson. Used by permission.