Book of Mormon Challenge
by Trina Brough / ga01252008
We challenged our Primary to read the Book of Mormon last year. I introduced my plan in a Sharing Time. I read part of Alma 32:26-27 about experimenting on the word. I explained that faith is believing enough to experiment.
I then did an experiment. I explained that I had been told and I believe that air is all around me and exerts pressure against all it touches. I believe this enough to do an experiment. I had a bowl (a clear pitcher would've worked better) of water. I had a child come up and ball up a piece of paper and shove it in the bottom of a plastic cup. I then asked him to tell us what was in the cup (paper...and air). If air was really in the cup and was exerting pressure, then when I put the cup upside down in the water and pushed it all the way down into the water, the paper wouldn't get wet. (Note: You have to go straight down, if you tip the cup at all when you go into the water, the air will be able to escape and the water will replace it). Once we did this experiment, I asked if my belief in the concept of air and and air pressure was strengthened by this experiment. Definitely.
I then told the children that they now have a similar opportunity to experiment upon the word. They have been taught the gospel by their parents. They have been taught about the prophet Joseph Smith by their teachers. Now they have the opportunity to experiment and strengthen their own faith. The children were sooo excited about this. Their responses were better than I could've imagined.
The Primary president challenged each of the children to read the Book of Mormon for themselves this year. I told them that if they accepted this challenge, not only would their faith be strengthened, but they would discover for themselves the great treasure the Lord promises to those who read and follow the scriptures. But, I wouldn't tell them what this treasure is, it is something they will have to discover themselves through our Book of Mormon treasure hunt. (So that you understand where this is going -- the treasure is eternal life).
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This is how our challenge works: I gave them a reading map for 1st Nephi. We have a massive treasure map (see above picture) that we painted for our primary room. The map has each book on it. Their personal reading charts are mini sections of this map, with bubbles for them to color in for each chapter. When they have finished 1st Nephi, they discuss what they read with their parents and have them sign the reading chart and bring it back to primary. We then will have them put a sticker on the big treasure map (the stickers are footprints -- so the more children we have finish, the longer our trail will be), they then get a clue. The clue is a puzzle that will lead them to a principle that Nephi learned in 1st Nephi. It then has a task for them to apply for the next week. They discuss what they did with their parents and have them sign and bring it back to Primary.
They then receive their treasure chest (plastic, with key from Oriental Trading). We have divided the Book of Mormon into 10 sections (combining Jacob, Enos, Jarom, Omni, Word of Mormon and splitting Alma into two parts, combining 4th Nephi and Mormon, combining Ether and Moroni). They get a new reading chart for each section. When they complete a section, they get a clue and a task. Starting at second Nephi, they get gems to put in their treasure chest (glass, flat bead from the floral section of a craft store or click here for some from Oriental Trading). Each gem will have a letter on it (from the words "Eternal Life"). Once they get all the gems, they can unscramble the letters to find out what the treasure is ("Eternal Life").
Click here for the letter we gave to the parents of our Primary children so they would understand what we are doing and their role in it.
Click here for the initial clue (the poem) we gave at our sharing time on Sunday.
The 1 Nephi clue is what they receive when they've read 1st Nephi and bring back their signed reading chart. The answers and the tasks are written in invisible ink (I'm using lemon juice and a toothpick).
The lemon juice requires frequent dipping with your toothpick. It seems painstaking at first, but you get faster at it. We have 180 children in our primary (about 80 in our senior primary with whom we did the challenge). I did do some delegating of the lemon juice writing but mostly I did it myself. It is definitely a labor of love. I just try to think about all those times I spent on cutesy things that didn't really matter compared to this which is actually motivating children to read the scriptures -- it made it all worth it in my mind.
The clues to be written inside the boxes can be found by clicking here. It outlines per book what the answer to the puzzle is (on the top of the clue), what is written in invisible ink in the box and what they get when they complete the task.
So, in sharing time on Sunday (when I introduced this), I gave them the initial clue (poem), the 1st Nephi reading chart, an audio copy of the Book of Mormon on cd (only for our our youngest classes to listen and follow along – downloaded off www.lds.org and burned in mp3 format onto cd) and their own copy of the Book of Mormon (only if they didn't have one – we used our teachers to find this out).
I downloaded the mp3 files from lds.org. Most cd players read songs in a .wav format. When you go to burn an audio cd, Nero (or whatever software you're using to burn the cd) automatically converts the audio files to .wav format so that any cd player can read it. The files when you download them are in .mp3 format. This is an audio format but is 10 times more compact than .wav files (one of the reasons the mp3 format has taken off). I burned the cds for our primary in an mp3 format because I can get the entire Book of Mormon on one cd. The downside is that they have to listen to them on a computer, an mp3 player or an mp3 compatible cd player (these cd players are relatively new and pricey so I don't really know how many people have them). It's not ideal but doable with our budget. If you want to do this, when you are burning the cds, you need to indicate that you're burning a data cd (not an audio cd). (There should be some way for you to indicate this within the burning software you're using). I then just wrote on the cd that it was in mp3 format and would have to be listened to on a computer, an mp3 player or an mp3 compatible cd player.
When our primary children brought back their completed task for Ether/Moroni, we gave them the last handout (which is a letter from us). We also arranged to have their parent(s) write them a letter specifically telling the child about when the parent first read and gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon. We gave the parent letter to them at the same time as this last handout. This has been a neat experience.
When they bring back that last handout with the letters filled in, we gave them their own passport. This is a passport we made (they actually look quite a bit like a real passport, complete with picture of them and signature of the bishop). The passport has 10 pages. This is for them to bring to our Book of Mormon challenge party at the end of the year. For our party, we are having 10 stations. We have taken their pictures and digitally and put each child in front of a background. (For example, for the sand dunes of Jacob, Enos, Jarom, Omni, Words of Mormon, we have a station where they are doing sand mosaics as a project. We have digitally placed the child in front of a sand dune, printed the picture out and are giving it to them at the party to glue in that page of their passport).
1 Nephi Clue
2 Nephi Clue
Jacob, Enos, Jarom, Omni and Words of Mormon Clue
Alma 1-31 Clue
Alma 32-63 Clue
3 Nephi Clue
4 Nephi Clue
1 Nephi Reading Chart
2 Nephi Reading Chart
Jacob, Enos, Jarom, Omni and Words of Mormon Reading Chart
Mosiah Reading Chart
Alma 1-31 Reading Chart
Alma 32 - 63 Reading Chart
Helaman Reading Chart
3 Nephi Reading Chart
4 Nephi to Moroni Reading Chart
NOTE: I have been re-tracing Trina's Book of Mormon Charts. Click here to see.
ADDITIONAL NOTE: "I just wanted to update you on what it has done for my children. Two of the three are very excited about reading, and the little twist that we've put on the treasure hunt. I made a list of "treats" or treasures, then had a color of gem represent that one. In fact, it was so well received, that my 9 year old daughter read 1 and 2 Nephi in the first week! Each time they finish the map, they get to draw a gem and get the reward for that gem. We still use all the handouts that are available (except putting the secret clue in lemon juice). I give the kids the worksheet once they have completed their "map" and they have to figure out the secret word. When they tell me the right word, then I allow them to draw a gem from a bag without looking what they choose. I have designated the gems for different rewards, a couple being bigger rewards that I plan on putting in the mix after they've read more than half way. After they draw the gem, then I give them the challenge from the lemon juice part. They think it's lots of fun because it's a secret from their brother and sister because each child is going at their own speed. My husband and I are planning on doing something special with the family once all of us have read the Book of Mormon sort of as a treat for such a great accomplishment." (by Jenny Shepherd / ga01222009)