January 5, 2009

Living / Non-Living Things

This week at the preschool, our Bible story is about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Our "My World" topic is the difference between living and non-living things. Here are some good web resources on the topic.

  • First School Years has a nice, simple sorting game that is good for young children. It helps with vocabulary and reinforcing the living/non-living distinction. The only problem I had with this game was that if I put an item too close to the center line, the game told me I had put it on the wrong side. The workaround is to place items well away from the center line. Here is what the game looks like. [Edit: it has been reported that this game does not work well in some browsers. Please test before using with your students.]

  • The Open Door has a nice mini-lesson on the attributes of living things. (feeding, movement, breathing or respiration, excretion, growth, sensitivity, and reproduction). It's targeted toward older children but you can apply the ideas to preschool too. There is also a twenty-item quiz which asks whether each item is "living," "non-living but once part of a living thing," or "non-living and never part of a living thing." After choosing an answer, you are informed whether you are right or wrong, and why. The quiz is for solid independent readers or for parents to do with their children.
I hope you find these links useful. Happy learning!

Living and Non-living (My World of Science) Acorn Plus: Is it Living or Non-living? Is It a Living Thing? (Introducing Living Things) What Is a Living Thing? (Science of Living Things) Living and Nonliving (Nature Basics) I Am a Living Thing (Introducing Living Things)

January 4, 2009

Atheist: I Truly Believe Africa Needs God

Here's a commentary in The Times by an African expat who has recently returned home. The whole article is worth reading but I'll just share an excerpt from the self-avowed atheist here:
I've become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people's hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.

I used to avoid this truth by applauding - as you can - the practical work of mission churches in Africa. It's a pity, I would say, that salvation is part of the package, but Christians black and white, working in Africa, do heal the sick, do teach people to read and write; and only the severest kind of secularist could see a mission hospital or school and say the world would be better without it. I would allow that if faith was needed to motivate missionaries to help, then, fine: but what counted was the help, not the faith.

But this doesn't fit the facts. Faith does more than support the missionary; it is also transferred to his flock. This is the effect that matters so immensely, and which I cannot help observing.