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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Moses: Bricks Without Straw ~ Exodus 5:1-21

I'm trying something different for today; the verses that I took this lesson from are noted at the top of the post, but the verses are written out for your convenience at the bottom of the post.  I think the change in format will help give a better idea of the project from the get-go.

Scripture Reference
Moses:  The Israelites are ordered to build bricks without straw.
Exodus 5:1-21

Memory Verse
Exodus 15:2
"The Lord is my strength and my song, he has become my salvation.  He is my God, and I will praise him."

I would have loved to have the kids create "real" bricks using mud and straw for today's lesson.  I found a "recipe" for making bricks here Make Mud Bricks In 6 Steps.  These are intended to be "real" bricks, rather than a kid's project, so I would improvise a little due to the ages of the kids; I would use a square plastic tub for the "form", would mix our "recipe" in a bucket, use weeds in place of the straw and would make them fairly small so that they dried more quickly. ~ We didn't end up going this route; we all seem to be fighting colds and it rained most of today here.  My kids LOVE to play in the mud though (Kiera actually "painted" with mud and a stick outside today!!)  So I hope to do something like the mud bricks on another day!

Supplies needed:  dirt, water, straw or weeds (who doesn't have enough weeds!?), a bucket, a "form" (small pliable plastic dish, preferably square), something to stir with such as a stick).

We're going to make play-dough "bricks".  One set will have nothing but play-dough inside, while the other will have twist-ties inside (our pretend "straw").  We're not going to let the play-dough dry out for our example, but the "bricks" should still be stronger with the "straw" than without. 
Supplies needed:  play-dough, twist-ties. 

How It Went
Andrew was really ready for our Bible story tonight.  He grabbed his little New Testament, hopped up on the couch, and said, "Read Jacob?"  We quickly got Kiera to come over and started reading about Moses.  Both kids were really interested in tonight's story; Andrew hasn't expressed a real interest over the past few days, so I was glad to see his enthusiasm back! 
I remember being taught this story when I was little; I didn't "get" why they didn't just leave out the straw and skip that step entirely.  I thought that since Pharaoh wasn't helping them get the straw, they should just leave it out...sort of the consequences for his actions.  I couldn't grasp the importance of the straw in the "recipe"!  Now that I'm older, I understand the reasoning behind this now, but tonight's lesson was still interesting for me too...
I had to teach both kids how to make a rectangular "brick" with the play dough.  I had Kiera fold in the twist ties with her play-dough so that they wouldn't be a danger for Andrew.  She was very surprised at how much stronger her "bricks" were than Andrew's.  We didn't let our play-dough dry, we just experimented with it when it was moist.

Scripture Reference
Exodus 5:1-21 (NIV)
"Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, 'This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the desert.'
Pharaoh said, 'Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go?  I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.'
Then they said, 'The God of the Hebrews has met with us.  Now let us take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, or he may strike us with plagues or with the sword.'
But the king of Egypt said, 'Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their labor?  Get back to your work!' Then Pharaoh said, 'Look, the people of the land are now numerous, and you are stopping them from working.'
That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and foremen in charge of the people:  'You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw.  But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don't reduce the quota.  They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, 'Let us go and sacrifice to our God.'  Make the work harder for the men so that they will keep working and pay no attention to lies.'
Then the slave drivers and the foremen went out and said to the people, 'This is what Pharaoh says: 'I will not give you any more straw.  Go and get your own straw wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced at all'  So the people scattered all over Egypt to gather stubble to use for straw.  The slave drivers kept pressing them, saying, 'Complete the work required of you for each day, just as when you had straw.'  The Israelite foremen appointed by Pharaoh's slave drives were beaten and were asked, 'Why didn't you meet your quota of bricks yesterday or today, as before?'
Then the Israelite foremen went and appealed to Pharaoh: 'Why have you treated your servants this way?  Your servants are given no straw, yet we are told, 'Make bricks!'  Your servants are being beaten, but the fault is with your own people.'
Pharaoh said, 'Lazy, that's what you are - lazy!  That is why you keep saying, 'Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.'  Now get to work.  You will not be given any straw, yet you must produce your full quota of bricks. 
The Israelite foremen realized they were in trouble when thy were told, 'You are not to reduce the number of bricks required of you for each day.'  When they left Pharaoh, they found Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them, and they said, 'May the Lord look upon you and judge you!  You have made us a stench to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.' "

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