Zombies Science Lesson about “going to church”
About the Lesson Set:
Written by Rev. Neil MacQueen for www.sundaysoftware.com, these lessons can be used in SEVERAL ways: individually, or all together, over several Sundays, or in succession during a VBS, or in a Rotation Model Sunday School as different “workshops.”
Students will do some science demonstrations that help illlustrate the idea of “catalysts” and “inhibitors,” —things that they can do to help or hinder people feel connected in church. You’ll do the experiments/demonstrations first, then move into the Bible study. This lesson is one of four in a set.
Catalysts and Inhibitors
- In science, a “catalyst” is a substance that causes something else to change.
- An “inhibitor” is something that keeps a reaction from happening.
In church, there are some attitudes and people who are catalysts (they promote change in YOU), and some people and attitudes that are inhibitors (they keep you from appreciating something, or learning/listening).
The following demonstrations are to be performed by the kids as directed by the teacher. Prep and test all experiments in advance.
(1) Do Catalyst Experiments
“Foam Fountain” aka “Elephant Toothpaste” –two different really fun experiments that are easy to do!
Students will mix yeast with hydrogen peroxide to create a foam fountain. It’s very cool.
Here’s a link to a video of the two experiments and instructions.
If this link ever goes dead, google ‘yeast and peroxide foam fountain experiment.”
Explain that the yeast is the “catalyst,” something that causes another thing to change. Explain that yeast is the catalyst in many foods such as bread and beer. Say that Jesus used the example of yeast in Matthew 13 to explain how God’s Kingdom appears to be small but can create something big. When we open ourselves up to the presence of God in worship, prayer and service, God’s power is a catalyst to changing our lives and the lives of those around us.
The church is like the right ingredients we collect in the fountain. When we have the “right stuff” God’s power can do amazing foaming things through us!
(2) Inhibitor Experiment
“Homemade No-Heat Lava Lamp” –Fill a 1 liter plastic bottle 1/4 full with warm water and 3/4 full with vegetable oil. Add a few drops of red food coloring. Drop in one or two alka seltzer tablets for a homemade “lava lamp” ! The bubbles will move the oil. Then, add a few tablespoons of vinegar to speed up the reaction. See it described here: http://www.sciencebob.com/experiments/lavalamp.php
Now repeat the experiment in a wide-mouth mason jar, however, this time fill the jar half full of cold water, drop in several ice cubes, and then add the alka seltzer. The cold slows down the reaction, i.e. “inhibits” it. (The point: we sometimes inhibit others from paying attention in church.)
Explain that the ice is an inhibitor to the reaction. If you look at the ingredients for Alka-Seltzer, you will find that it contains citric acid and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). When you drop the tablet in water, the acid and the baking soda react — this produces the fizz (release of carbon dioxide). The cold slows down the dissolving, which slows down the reaction. (The point: How do we slow down others appreciation for what’s going on in worship or Sunday School?)
(3) Do the Bible Study:
Have these written on the board, read them aloud, then discuss.
I Corinthians 10:32
Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God.
Ask: What sort of behavior could you show in church that might cause someone to “stumble” –not want to come back, not feel welcome, not feel our message is true?
But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”
Ask: What are some “cold” behaviors we might show in church that would inhibit others (get in the way) from listening the a lesson? a sermon? a song?
Let us be concerned for one another, to help one another to show love and to do good. Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more.
Ask students to circle the “action” words in that verse (be concerned, help, show, meet, encourage).
Name something you could do in church that would help others
- Get to Church
- Pay Attention in Worship
- Attend Sunday School more regularly
- Obey God everyday
Using a plastic 35mm film canister (from your local photography store), add a tablespoon of vinegar to the canister and add an alkaseltzer tablet. Quickly seal the canister and turn it upside down to create a rocket! It will pop up in about 3 seconds so move quick. BEFORE dropping in the tablet, with students gathered close, tell them that “The canister is the church, they are the vinegar, and God’s Spirit is the tablet. When we put ourselves in the church and invite God’s Spirit to lead us, amazing things can happen.” Drop in the tablet.
Option: After the one canister pops, give each child a canister and have them repeat the experiment one after the other for dramatic effect.