Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Sing to the Power: A Social Justice Program for Children Grades 4-5

Activity 1: Story - One Square Inch

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Story, "One Square Inch"
  • Optional: Computer with Internet connection, and large monitor or digital projector and screen

Preparation for Activity

  • Read the story and prepare to share it with the group.
  • Read the discussion questions. Choose those that will best help the children share their interpretations of the story and relate it to their own lives.
  • Optional: Preview YouTube videos featuring Gordon Hempton, here and here; consider showing these to the group.

Description of Activity

Read or tell the story to the group.

After the story, invite the group to be silent for a moment to think about the story.

Then, ask participants to recap the story in their own words. What they recall indicates what they found most meaningful or memorable.

Say, in these words or your own:

When we think about pollution in our environment we generally think about trash, or water pollution, or air pollution, or greenhouse gases. We do not often think of noise pollution, but there is plenty of it around. The sounds created by cars, refrigerators, power tools-all our technology-mean our world is noisier, more frantic, and more distracting than the world of our ancestors hundreds of years ago. Our human sounds also affect the animals around us. Blue whales used to be able to communicate across 1,000 miles of ocean. Now, they only hear one another for 100 miles. Our world is growing louder. Quiet places are getting harder and harder to find.

Lead a discussion using these questions:

  • When you are doing something that requires concentration, like your homework, what sounds do you notice in the background? (e.g. television, music, phone, computer game, kitchen appliances)
  • What are some of the noises heard in our congregation? During worship? In this group?
  • Do you ever seek out quiet? Where do you go or what do you do when you want silence?
  • Have you ever been someplace where you couldn't hear any human-made noise? How did it feel?