Prior to the start of class, tape two large pieces of white paper or poster board in the front of the classroom. Prepare two design boxes; place one in front of each piece of paper:
Write “Design Box A” on one side of the box
Fill with various art supplies—the more, the better!
Close box securely
Write “Design Box B” on one side of box
Leave box empty
Close box securely
Place both boxes in the front of the room where they can be visible to students, but do not allow them to be opened.
Begin class by telling students that you have a creative challenge for them; ask for two volunteers to be artists for this challenge. Explain that this isn’t a competition to see who is the better artist or to see who can create a better picture. It’s simply a challenge to see how these two artists use the box of materials provided to create a picture. Instruct the rest of your class to be encouraging and positive as the two artists work.
Tell Artist #1 they have three minutes to create a picture of the solar system using only the materials inside of Design Box #1. The students watching may offer suggestions to Artist #1 of what to add to their picture, but no one else can do any of the work and only the materials inside of Design Box #1 can be used. Encourage creativity from the student creating the picture and from the students watching; the more excited the students get during the time volunteer #1 works, the better.
When the timer is set, allow Artist #1 to open the box and begin working.
When time is up or Artist #1 is finished, have them explain what they created, and what materials from the box they used. Ask for positive feedback from the students about Artist #1’s picture, the creativity used with the materials from the box, and the various details that Artist #1 included.
Now tell Artist #2 that their task is the same—they need to create a picture of the solar system in three minutes using the materials inside of Design Box B. The class may offer ideas and suggestions, but the work must be done by Artist #2 using only what they find inside the box. Prior to allowing Artist #2 to open their box, do your best to build up the anticipation and excitement for what might be inside.
Start the timer and allow Artist #2 to open Design Box #2. They will quickly see that there is nothing inside the box for them to use to create their picture. Have them show the empty box to the class; encourage students to offer any ideas or suggestions for how Artist #2 might create their picture. As ideas are offered, remind students that only the materials inside the box can be used to create the picture. Ultimately, the students should realize that Artist #2 is unable to create a picture.
As a group, discuss the process of each of your volunteers:
- How was Artist #1 able to create their picture? Did their design box offer them a lot of options to create their picture? Did they seem to struggle with the challenge? When Artist #1 finished, did their picture show a lot of creativity? Did the picture show that Artist #1 used a lot of the materials from inside their design box? (Answers will vary based on student observations; students should realize that the various materials inside Design Box #1 made completing the picture possible for Artist #1.)
- Why was Artist #2 unable to create a picture? Was anyone from the class able to offer a suggestion to Artist #2 that allowed them to complete the challenge? If anyone else from the class had been chosen to be Artist #2, would they have been able to draw the picture? (Answers will vary, but the discussion should result in students understanding that because of the empty box, it was impossible for Artist #2 to create their picture.)
Creating a picture is pretty easy when you have all kinds of materials. We could have filled Design Box #1 with even more materials—paint, stamps, stencils, glitter—that Artist #1 could have added to their picture. But for Artist #2, creating a picture was impossible because there was nothing inside the box.
It would take power so much greater than anything that we can understand to create a picture using the emptiness from inside Design Box #2. When God created the heavens and the earth, He showed that power in an awesome and amazing way! Let’s take a look at how God created everything from nothing.