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Same but different

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To show that there’s more than one way to reach our goals in life (SEAL theme 4: Going for goals).

Preparation and materials

  • Write either the number 10 or 20 on a black- or whiteboard, depending on the age of the children attending the assembly.


  1. Ask the children to think of a sum in their head to which the answer is 10 or 20.

    Ask a child to share her/his sum. Write this on the board.

    Did anyone else think of the same sum?

    Ask a few more children from different classes and, each time, write the sum on the board.

    Add some more complicated sums of your own, such as one eighth of 80.

    Identify that we can make 10 or 20 by adding, subtracting, multiplying and even dividing.

  2. Identify that each answer is the same, but we all came to the answer in many different ways. Explain that this is always what happens when we have different people in our class. We all have different ideas about how to do things. What is important is not the method but reaching the target.

  3. There’s a well-known phrase that goes, ‘There’s more than one way to skin a cat.’ A more pleasant image might be, ‘There’s more than one way to cook an egg.’

    Ask the children how they like to eat their eggs. Ask them to put their hands up for boiled, scrambled, poached, omelettes.

    We most of us eat eggs, but will often have different preferences for how the eggs are cooked.

  4. In the Bible, there is a story about two Christians called Paul and Barnabas. Both of these men had become God’s friends. They had the same desire to spend their lives telling others the good news about Jesus and God’s love, but they carried out this task in very different ways.

    Paul was a very gifted teacher. He knew God’s message inside out and was very good at explaining it. ‘Now I get it’, you would hear listeners say. 

    Barnabas was nicknamed ‘The Encourager’. He was a great person to have around when you were feeling a bit down. ‘Well done, my friend,’ he would say, ‘you are doing so well.’ 

    They formed a good partnership. The ways in which they did things were very different, their personalities and gifts were very different, but they travelled all over the Mediterranean, spreading the message of Jesus. Their goal was the same.

  5. Our aim in school is the same for every single child. We want you all to have the best education. That will look different for each of you. We all think differently, we may each come at things in different ways, we will find that we have different strengths and weaknesses. That is what is so special about a school family – we are all the same, but different.


Time for reflection

Let’s celebrate our sameness and our differences.

Spend a few minutes celebrating the way you do things, the gifts and talents you have.

Now think of a friend in your class. Celebrate the way he/she does things, the gifts and talents he/she has. 

Dear God, 
Thank you that we are all so different. 
Thank you for our personalities, our gifts, our talents, our own special uniqueness. Help us to value each other and celebrate our differences. 



‘There are hundreds of sparrows’ (Come and Praise, 15)

Publication date: September 2014   (Vol.16 No.9)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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