Noah and his Ark
Part 1 of the story of Noah. To reflect on the need to protect endangered species.
by The Revd Alan M. Barker
Suitable for Key Stage 1
To retell part of the story of Noah and to reflect upon the need to protect endangered animal species.
Note: Although it can stand alone, this assembly is Part 1 of a three-part series on Noah this month.
Preparation and materials
- You will need a picture of a giant panda.
- Devise a list of familiar animals and birds, together with some brief descriptions for use in the story.
- Have available some chairs or blocks to create a pretend 'ark'.
- For further information and pictures, go to www.panda.org (the WWF website).
- Begin by saying that some of the stories found in the Bible are many thousands of years old. They have been passed down from one generation to another. They are important stories because they can help us to understand how to live in God's way, caring for one another, and for all the earth's creatures.
- Introduce the story of Noah's Ark. Explain that the word ark means 'boat'. Invite the children to take part in the story by identifying different creatures from the descriptions that you will give: e.g. I have whiskers. I can move very quietly to catch mice and birds. I purr when I am happy. I enjoy drinking milk and could live in your house. I am a cat.
- Noah's Ark
A retelling of Genesis 6.5-22 by Alan Barker
(During the story, fill up a pretend ark with children playing Noah's sons and representing pairs of different creatures.)
Noah felt sad. He was unhappy because the earth had been spoiled. People were fighting and quarrelling with one another. The beautiful forests had been burned and the animals were afraid. There was no peace for any creature.
Noah was a good man and he felt that God must be sad too. 'What can we do?' he prayed. 'We must start again', said God. 'Build a boat for yourself. Build a big one with room for yourself and your family. Make sure you build it well, because I'm going to make it rain. The whole world will be covered with water. And don't forget the animals and birds. Make room in your boat for them as well.'
Noah built his ark with the help of his sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Invite three children to help construct a simple 'ark' by making a circle of chairs with an opening on one side.) Eventually he and his family were able to make it their home.
'We mustn't forget the animals and birds,' said Noah. Together they thought about all the creatures that needed to be brought into the boat.
They thought about tiny creatures, with long tails, that scurried about and squeaked, and sometimes ate their cheese. (Invite the child who recognizes that these are mice on board the ark - and ask them to bring a friend.)
They thought about big creatures with strong backs and manes and tails of flowing hair. How would they get them in? (Invite the child who recognizes horses into the ark - and ask them to bring a friend.)
They thought of the big brown birds that laid the eggs that Noah and his family ate for breakfast (hens).
And they couldn't ignore the animal that dropped its bone and started barking loudly, wagging its tail (dog).
(Describe some other creatures, or ask the children to do so, in order for others to guess their identity.)
Eventually every kind of creature went into Noah's boat. They knew that they would be safe and looked after. A week later, it began to rain and rain and rain!
- Say that you are stopping the story there for today, because there are some things you want the children to think about. Reflect that there are many different kinds of animal - far too many to include them all in the story. Do the children keep any animals as pets? How do they care for them?
- Explain that it's still important for people to care for the earth's creatures, just as Noah did. Show the picture of the giant panda. It's the emblem of the WWF. Pandas live in China, but very few are found in the wild. Human beings are destroying the secret places where they are able to live. Today, there are other places of safety besides the 'ark'. Explain that some pandas are kept in zoos where those who care for them are trying to increase the numbers of baby pandas that are born. Others are being protected in panda reserves - areas of forest where there are plenty of the bamboo shoots that they need to eat and where the pandas are protected from hunters.
In conclusion, reflect that although the story of Noah is very old it can help us remember to care for animals, especially those that are in danger today.
Time for reflection
Thank you the wonderful animals and birds that live with us on earth.
Help us to protect them from harm,
and to care for all creatures.
(Whole School): 'Think of a world without any flowers' (Come and Praise, 17)
(KS1): an adaptation of 'Old MacDonald had a farm' (below)
'Mr Noah built an ark'
© Revd Alan M. Barker
Mr Noah built an ark,
And in that ark he had some mice
With a squeak, squeak here (etc.)
Have fun with subsequent verses including elephants, hens, and dogs, etc.
Mr Noah built an ark
And soon the rain began to fall
With a splish splash here
and a splish splash there
Here a splish, there a splash,
Everywhere a splish, splash.
Mr Noah built an ark