Genesis Creation Stories Lesson Plan

The first three chapters of the book of Genesis relate important truths about ourselves, our humanity, and our relationship with God. A common pitfall we can run into when teaching about these chapters is the differences between the first chapter and chapters two and three. In this lesson plan, students will compare the first two creation accounts and clarify the important truths that they teach.

Objective: SWBAT compare and contrast the two creation accounts of the Book of Genesis.
Assessment: Venn Diagram

Genesis Stories Teaching Strategies and Activities

1. Bell Work: Write down in as much detail as possible a list of events that describe the way the Bible describes Creation. (P)

2. Individual Reading Assignment: Have the students skim chapters 1-3 of Genesis and cite the passages that correspond to their list of events. (R, O)

Worksheet: Genesis Creation Stories Lesson Plan 3. Class Discussion: Ask if any of the students noticed any differences chapter 1 and chapters 2 and 3. Divide the board up into to parts. Distribute copies of the two-column Genesis Creation Stories Worksheet. Have the students describe the events in chapter 1 and write them on the left side. Then have the students describe chapters 2 and 3 and write notes from their description on the board. Students should copy your notes on the board in their notes. (R, O)

4. Direct Instruction: Provide an overview of the differences that they may have missed and point out the complementarity that the two stories have with one another. Have students take notes by adding to their two-column Genesis worksheet of the two stories. (R, O)

You might include the following topics in your explanation:

Differences:

  • Genesis 1 vs. Genesis 2-3
  • God is called Elohim in Genesis 1 vs.Yahweh in Genesis 2-3
  • Humans created last vs. first
  • Animals created before humans vs. Animals created after humans
  • Impersonal vs. personal
  • Focus on Creation vs. Focus on creation of man

Complementarity:

  • 1: humanity is made in the image and likeness of God, 2-3: man and woman struggle to live out that calling
  • 1: humanity is the pinnacle of creation on the sixth day, 2-3: humanity is the most loved of creation being made first
  • 1: humanity is to take care of all of creation, 2-3: man and woman are punished for abusing their care for creation
  • they both show the love of God for his creation
  • they both show the goodness of creation (and humanity)

5. Class Discussion: An important question that is likely to arise is, “well, which way is the actual way God created the world?” or “Is this story really true anyways?” Without answering the questions immediately, throw it back to the students to discuss. Guide the discussion by calling on students, but don’t give them an answer until it is necessary. When the time is right, explain that these stories are true in the sense that they tell us great truths about ourselves and our relationship to God. They are not meant to be a blueprint for the actual mystery of Creation. Here are some good starter resources to answer this question: (C)

Did Creation only take six days? (Catholic Answers)

Catholic Teaching on Creation vs. Evolution (Catholic Answers)

Book: In the Beginning (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI)

The Genesis Problem by Fr. Robert Barron (The Integrated Catholic Life)

6: Assessment: Have students draw a Venn Diagram. Without consulting their notes, have them compare and contrast the two creation accounts. Check their answers and give them feedback on the elements they missed. (ESS)

PROCESS is a system of lesson planning explained in The Religion Teacher’s Guide to Lesson Planning.

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About Jared Dees

Jared Dees is the creator of The Religion Teacher and has worked in catechetical ministry for over ten years. He is the Digital Publishing Specialist at Ave Maria Press and the author of 31 Days to Becoming a Better Religious Educator.

Comments

  1. Great lesson! Thank you for sharing! :)

  2. I like this. How long a class period is this designed for?

    • Christian, the time that each activity will take depends on the age group that you are working with. Generally, I assume this topic will take one class period, but it may run longer or shorter depending on the group. It might be worth throwing in a quick verbal formative assessment before #6 (Venn Diagram) to gauge understanding and to see if additional activities need to be used to get students to reach the objective.

  3. Thank you. I am including this plan in my 10 hour Intro to Scripture I teach in catechist formation.
    It is a good process for adult formation also. I will put a link on my scripture resources in the catechist section of my website.

    • Thank you, Frank, I’m glad you like it. I think you are right, adults need this too. Many adults don’t even recognize the differences between the two stories!

  4. betty A. Narvadez says:

    I’m a new cathechist who will start teaching grade 2 pupils on creation. Can you help me please in handling and guiding them well by teaching them simple action songs and dances that will greatly call their full attention. Also, some intersting stories related to my topic. Best regards.

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