David C Cook COVID-19 Response

Upper Elementary

Purposefully Planned

Lesson 3 

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Fall 2021

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By: RLD Editorial Team 

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September 19, 2021

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Lesson Focus:

God created with purpose.

Bible Basis:

Genesis 1:20—2:3

Materials Needed:

Step 1:

  • Internet access
  • “Zookeeper for a Day” worksheets (1 per student; template here)
  • Pens/pencils
  • Colored markers/pencils

Summary & Links:

Students become imaginary “zookeepers-for-a-day” to help them explore what it takes to care for animals as they consider how God created with purpose.

Memory Verse:

You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet.
—Psalm 8:6

Step 1:

Students become imaginary “zookeepers-for-a-day” to help them explore what it takes to care for animals as they consider how God created with purpose.

Materials Needed:

  • Internet access
  • “Zookeeper for a Day” worksheets (1 per student; template here)
  • Pens/pencils
  • Colored markers/pencils

Before class, print out enough copies of the worksheets (template here) so that each of your preteens has a copy. If your class is meeting online, email the template and have students print out a copy to use at home. Invite them to have pens/pencils and colored markers/pencils ready.

It’s probably safe to say that each of you has been to the zoo at least once in your lifetime. Visiting the zoo is a common field trip experience in elementary school, families enjoy trips to the zoo during the warm summer months (and even the cold winter months too!), and checking out a zoo in a different city is often a highlight for kids and families on vacations throughout the country. 

  • What are some of your favorite zoo memories? (Allow students to share; be prepared to share your own experience.)

Today, you get to experience some of the work a zookeeper has to do when creating a habitat for an animal. Take a moment to think of two animals you enjoy. Now, imagine what a combination of those two animals could be called. For example, a frog and an alligator could be a “frogigator.” Or, a duck and a giraffe could be a “duckaffe.”

Distribute “Zookeeper for a Day” worksheets and pens/pencils and markers. Allow students to work individually, with partners, or in small groups.  Have students write the name of their mixed-up animals on their papers. Give them time to brainstorm and write the details and specifics about their animal; the “Zookeeper for a Day” worksheet will help guide their thoughts and discussion.

If your students struggle to come up with a combination, you can share this website with the class:
Crazy Mixed Up Animals

When groups have finished, come back together as a class. Allow the groups to share the specific details they came up with for their animal.

  • Was it easy or difficult to think of specific details for your mixed-up animal? What made it easy? What was hard about creating an exhibit? (Answers will vary.)
  • Even though these animals aren’t real, do the details that you provided for each animal help you to think through or understand what animals do and why they might be important or beneficial to the earth? Explain your answer. (Answers will vary as students share their experiences and thoughts.)

Zoos all over the world work very hard to create environments for the animals that allow them to live much like they would if they were in the wild. Instead of having the animals in concrete pens or metal cages, zookeepers work with scientists and veterinarians to create habitats that meet the needs of each animal in their care—zebras, giraffes, and elephants at the St. Louis Zoo live in an area of the zoo made to look like the African savanna. The Brookfield Zoo in Illinois built a Tropical World exhibit that is much like the rainforest; all kinds of monkeys from South America, Africa, and Asia live there. At the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage, Alaska, visitors observe moose, bison, caribou, and brown bears in their natural habitat. Caring for animals is an important and difficult job.

This morning, you evaluated the needs of your imaginary animal. Imagine thinking through the needs of an entire zoo full of animals—that’s what zookeepers have to do! And imagine what it would be like to think of those details for every single animal on earth—we can’t begin to fully grasp that challenge! And yet, that’s exactly what happened. God made every little thing and put it exactly where He wanted it; each one has a specific purpose. Let’s take a closer look the purpose of God’s creation and how He expects us to be purposeful in caring for His creation.

Looking for Steps 2, 3 & 4?

You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide. To purchase a teacher’s guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes.

Step 4:

Materials Needed:

  • Internet access
  • Index cards
  • Pens/pencils

If your class is meeting online, invite students to bring index cards and pens/pencils with them to class.

No matter where we look, we can see a purpose and a plan for each part of God’s creation. Nothing that God made was an accident, a mistake, or out of His control. He knew what the animals would need in order to live and grow, and He provided food for the animals to eat and homes where they could live. In the same way, God’s creation provides for our needs as well. Each piece of creation—the light and dark; the sun, moon, and stars; the water, land, and sky; the birds, fish, and animals; the people—was put into place exactly the way God wanted it to.

Today’s lesson reminds us of the responsibility God gave us in caring for His creation. Our memory verse from Psalm 8:6 sums it up well: “You made them rulers over the works of Your hands; You put everything under their feet.” 

There are countless ways that we can be obedient to God and care for His creation. This video was made by a group of students who were participating in a multimedia arts contest. They remind us of the things we can do to care for creation in a simple but powerful way. Hand out index cards and pens/pencils. If your class is meeting online, invite students to have those items ready. As your students watch, have them pick out at least one thing from the video that they will work on during the coming week.

Share this video [2:28]:
How to care for God’s creation 

Give your preteens an opportunity to brainstorm other ways they might care for God’s creation. While students work, the follow music video can be played [3:59].
Indescribable – Chris Tomlin (Music Video With Lyrics)

God gave us a beautiful world to live in! Each part of His creation, from the biggest whale in the ocean to the tiniest bug flying through the air was created for a purpose as a part of His perfect plan. We are a part of His plan as well, created with purpose, created to love and glorify our Creator, created to care for His creation. Take to heart what God asks of us in caring for creation; look for ways that you can make a difference. Be purposeful in finding ways to keep our world beautiful. And pray for God to give you a heart that strives to show love and concern for the people He created. 

Close with the following prayer: God, thank You for the beautiful world You gave us! Your purposeful design is seen everywhere we look; nothing You made was by accident, nothing You made was a surprise. Thank You for creating us with a purpose and an opportunity to love You by caring for Your creation. Help us to be purposeful and intentional as we look for ways to care for the earth, the plants, the animals, and each other.

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