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Rock, Paper, Scissors

To explore the idea that each person has their own unique gifts and talents, which can be used in different ways for the good of everyone

by Penny Hollander

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To explore the idea that each person has their own unique gifts and talents, which can be used in different ways for the good of everyone.

Preparation and materials

  • A piece of rock, a sheet of paper, a pair of scissors.

  • If you want to involve children in section 4, write out their parts on separate pieces of paper and have a rehearsal beforehand.


  1. Ask the children, who knows the game of rock, paper, scissors? Get two of them to demonstrate this. For those who don’t know the game, explain that each player starts with one hand behind their back. On the count of 3, each player brings their hand out to show either a clenched fist to represent the rock, a flat hand to represent paper, or two fingers moving in scissor-like motion. The winner is the one whose material defeats the other’s: rock blunts the scissors and wins, paper wraps around the rock and wins, or the scissors cut the paper and win.

  2. Show the materials – rock, paper, scissors – on display and ask the children about their different properties and uses (can refer back to what has been learned in science lessons). Point out that no one material is better than another, but each is used in a different way for a variety of purposes. We need them all. Ask the children for examples.

  3. Suggest that human beings are like this – we’re not all the same, but all of us are vital for the good of the whole. A famous English poet, John Donne, who lived way back in the 1600s, recognized this when he wrote: ‘No man [or person] is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main …’ He knew that people needed each other and could not exist without others.

  4. Even longer ago, in about  AD 54 – about 2,000 years ago – Paul, a great follower of Jesus, wrote a letter to the Christians in Corinth, a city in Greece, explaining the very same thing using the example of the human body. Ask for volunteers to demonstrate this:

    Child 1: Suppose the foot says, ‘I am not a hand. So I don’t belong to the body.’ The hand is still part of the body.

    Child 2: And suppose the ear says, ‘I am not an eye. So I don’t belong to the body.’ The eye is still part of the body.

    Child 3: The eye can’t say to the ear, ‘I don’t need you!’

    Child 4: The head can’t say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’

    Child 5: If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell? God has placed each part of the body just as he wanted it to be. There are many parts, but there is only one body.

  5. So all of us have a part to play – whatever we look like, wherever we come from, whatever we are good at. We use what we’ve got not just to help ourselves but to contribute to the good of others, at home, at school or in our village or town, even in the world. (If appropriate you could mention here specific links the school may have, or charities supported.)

Time for reflection


We can’t all be leaders.
We can’t all be good at football, running, swimming or other sports.
We’re not all great artists or guitarists.
We don’t look the same or necessarily enjoy the same activities.
Some of us have freckles, some of us are left-handed, some wear glasses, some of us are quiet, some are noisy, some of us like to be with lots of people, others prefer to spend time alone or with just one or two friends.
But we all need each other to help one another where we have particular abilities.

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for making each one of us different.
We ask that we may know how to use what we have to help others.


‘The wise may bring their learning’ (Come and Praise, 64)

Publication date: July 2005   (Vol.7 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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