Activity 1: Playing Noah, Playing God
Activity time: 12 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Polymer clay in various colors (or modeling clay, or self-hardening clay)
- Toothpicks and plastic knives for cutting, marking, and shaping clay
- Newspapers, vinyl tablecloths, or cardboard to protect surfaces from clay
- Optional: Music player and background music
Preparation for Activity
- Cover work surfaces.
- Place materials where all can get to them easily.
Description of Activity
This activity leads to thinking about physical salvation, in this case, saving lives.
Tell participants that they will now have a chance to play Noah and God. Remind the group of the Bible story of Noah (Hebrew scripture: Genesis 6–9): God sent a flood to cover the earth and extinguish all life, but first he instructed Noah to build an ark to save his family and pairs of all animals.
Now ask the youth to imagine that it was physically impossible to get all pairs of all animals aboard; the ark was simply too small. Some types of animals had to be left behind to drown, just like the people. Now offer this challenge:
If you were God or Noah and you had to choose among the animals, which ones would you save and which ones would you leave? Your job now is to make a clay model of the one animal you would consider most important to save. It could be an animal that lives today or one that is extinct. Think hard about this: Why would some decisions be right and other decisions be wrong? It's your choice.
Point out the supplies and tell the youth they have about ten minutes to make their models. Say they should work only on surfaces protected by newsprint or vinyl. Play quiet background music if you like. When time becomes short, give the group a two-minute warning. If you are using self-hardening clay, ask that participants place models on a protected surface to dry. Give youth an opportunity to point out their own models and share their ideas about them.
Including All Participants
Be sure that all supplies are within easy reach of any youth with limited mobility and that work surfaces are accessible to all. If you think some youth will have difficulty completing models on their own, allow them to work in pairs.