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Small is beautiful

To show that even tiny creatures are important in maintaining the biosphere and that big ideas often have small beginnings.

by Helen Bryant

Suitable for Key Stage 3/4


To show that even tiny creatures are important in maintaining the biosphere and that big ideas often have small beginnings.

Preparation and materials


  1. Think of something very, very small. Here are some of the world’s smallest animals (show tiny animals, see ‘Preparation and materials’ above).

    They are still recognizable as a cat, horse or hamster; it is just that they are very tiny.

    Small is beautiful. Even something tiny like an ant is perfectly formed and completely in proportion. A very young foetus in a mother’s womb can be recognizable as a human being.
  2. These pictures also show that being small isn’t necessarily something that holds someone back. From little acorns, enormous oak trees grow.

    Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven to a mustard seed. A mustard seed is one of the smallest seeds known to humanity (it measures about one twentieth of an inch) and it can grow into a strong shrub, the tallest of all the garden plants. It has within it everything that it needs in order to grow into a strong plant.

    All life begins like this, in tiny ways. We all began as a collection of cells and grew into what we are today. Some of us, in fact, are still growing!
  3. It is important that we recognize that even if something is small it still has much to give. Without tiny animals such as ants and insects much of nature would not work as it should. Ecosystems and food chains are reliant upon the things at the bottom. Without insects and worms to change the nature of the soil, and feed the voles and mice, owls and hawks would soon die out. Everything is reliant upon those tiny things at the very beginning.
  4. Ideas can often be like the mustard seed. They can start off as tiny flashes of inspiration, and grow into world-changing theories, and great movements for good in the world. If Newton, for example, hadn’t had the apple fall on his head, he would never have understood about gravity. If you hadn’t understood that 3=1+2 then you wouldn’t be able to do the complex maths that you’ll go and do in lessons today.

Time for reflection

(Show some of the slides again, and let the students recognize how important these small creatures are for our own existence.)

Let us be thankful that small ideas can lead to bigger ones, that a small leap in understanding can grow to a great insight, and that small is beautiful.


‘When God made the garden of creation’ (Come and Praise, 16)

Publication date: August 2012   (Vol.14 No.8)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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