It is summer time for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, and we are enjoying long days of sunlight. It is the perfect time of year to help our Sunday Church School students think about Christ, the Light of the World, and the effect of having Him in our lives/ being in His presence! Here is a science-related activity that can help us to show our students the effect that light can have on a physical object.
“In the Light of the Son” object lesson:
Objectives: 1. Children will create an original work of art with sun-sensitive paper.
2. Children will see the effect that the sun has on the sun-sensitive paper.
3. Children will be reminded that “the Light of Christ illumines all.”
4. Children will conclude that being in Christ’s presence changes us.
Materials: sun-sensitive paper (such as http://www.orientaltrading.com/api/search?Ntt=sun+sensitive+paper or http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/sun-sensitive-paper.html); shapes for making the “print” (paper cutouts; flat items; items found in nature); cardboard; dishpan of water (or a sink); a sunny day; one piece of sun-sensitive paper artwork that is “printed” ahead of time (for illustration purposes)
Opening: After beginning the Sunday Church School class time with prayer, encourage the children to think back to Pascha, and discuss what happened at the rush service (remind them that it was dark, and they were holding candles, etc.) . Then, ask the children about “receiving the light” of Christ. What does it mean to “come, receive the light?” Tell them that this lesson will help them to think about receiving the light and how it will affect their lives.
Introduction: Show the children a piece of light sensitive paper. Discuss how it looks. Show them another. How do they compare? They look the same, indistinguishable. Show the children the piece of sun-sensitive paper on which you have already made a “print.” Invite conversation about it. Tell the children that this piece of paper began just as the others, but something changed it.
1. Tell the children that you will all be working on a science experiment in Sunday Church School today.
2. Give directions for making sun prints.
a. Gather items to make the print.
b. Decide how to arrange the items.
c. Go outside in the sunshine, bringing along the items, a piece of cardboard, and the sun-sensitive paper.
d. Place the sun-sensitive paper on the cardboard.
e. Quickly arrange the items on the paper.
f. Let the paper sit, undisturbed, in the sun for the allotted amount of time.
g. Carefully carry the cardboard and paper inside.
3. Make the sun prints, following the steps above.
4. Clear the items off of each paper, then rinse it in the dishpan or sink full of water for the amount of time stated in the directions.
5. Place the papers in a place where everyone can look at them as they dry.
6. As they dry, show the children a piece of “undeveloped” sun-sensitive paper, to compare it to their art pieces. Then, ask the children about the pictures. Do they look like they did when we took them outside? How are they different from the way they were? Are they all the same? They were all under the same sun: what makes them different?
7. Help the Sunday Church School children come to the conclusion that the sun’s light changed the papers; and that the differences between the pieces of art depended on what was placed on them.
8. Refer back to the earlier conversation about Pascha, asking the children to make a connection between the sun prints they made and “receiving the light” at Pascha. Guide the conversation, reminding the children that Jesus is “The Light of The World” and that being in His presence changes our lives forever, just like being in the sun has forever changed the sun-sensitive paper.
9. Discuss also how things in our lives/things that happen to us are like the different items placed on their papers: we all are in the presence of the same Christ, yet we’re all different, and show the effects of His light in our lives in different ways, because of the different things/events in our lives.
1. Ask the children how they can be in Christ’s presence? (through prayer, by coming to church, by communing, through reading scriptures, by seeing Him in the faces of everyone they meet, etc.)
2. Encourage them to do what they can to be in His presence as often as they are able, reminding them that “the Light of Christ illumines all” (and changes us all forever!)
3. Pray, asking Christ Himself to illuminate and change each member of your class, changing them for the better, for the rest of their lives.
Ask the children a few questions in review, to evaluate their learning:
1. What have you learned about the effect of the sun on sun-sensitive paper?
2. Tell how that relates to Pascha/receiving the light of Christ?
3. How should this light-sensitive paper print that you made remind you of the power of being in Christ’s presence?
Close in prayer, and send the children home with their artwork; encouraging them to tell their family members about how the sun changed the paper (and the Son of God can change their lives).