In our church, sometimes the 9th and 10th grade students are not always ready to engage with the Heidelberg Catechism. The answers to discussions questions are one or two words. This makes the Sunday School hour crawl by for everyone and the teacher feels like she hasn’t connected at all. It’s not much fun. Have you been there?
In the book Shaped By God, Marian Plant says that we teach content in isolation. She encourages us to ”teach beliefs and confessional statements in the presence of conversation and actions that demonstrate the power of those beliefs in people’s everyday lives.” To help us do that she writes:
I tell my Christian education and Pre-seminary students that a kit with some markers, masking tape, blank paper, pens or pencils and Legos equips them for education in just about any place, time, or subject.
She illustrates her point by telling about using Legos to start a discussion on the vision for a church education board and an 8th grade confirmation class. She asked the education board to use Legos to build something that symbolized their vision for educational ministries of their church. With 8th graders she asked them to create a symbol of their faith using Legos. With this as a discussion starter there is a lot less chance of getting one or two word answers. Not only do the Legos “break the ice” but being forced to think in ways other than words allows them to access ways of describing their thoughts that they might not have otherwise been ready to say.
I like this idea, and, while I initially see it used with older kids and adults I wonder what would happen if we gave it to 2nd and 3rd graders. Maybe we need to include Legos in our supply closets.
What resources have you used to help spark discussion?