Today our scripture block was Alma 43 and the year (for the Nephites) was 74 B.C. Hmmm. How to make these detailed, technical war chapters come alive to our students?
I devised a Topsey-Turvey Timeline by going verse by verse through Alma 43. Writing down what I felt were pertinent moments in the chapter, I came up with a rough timeline.
Then, using the clip art that came with my computer, I found a symbolic picture for each part of the timeline, placing that next to each phrase.
Once that was complete, I then
mixed up the order as much as I possibly could and titled it, “Topsey-Turvey Timeline.”
Printing out sufficient drafts for the class, I then turned toward preparing a small chart of other important moments in history during (more or less) that same time period. I wanted the students to get a good world’s eye view in which to place this essential Book of Mormon battle and these important individuals (Captain Moroni, General Lehi, and Zarahemna).
Once class started, after the usual opening exercises, I distributed the two page “Topsy-Turvey Timeline.” (I had printed one set for every three to four students.) Then I announced that as a class they were to research in their scriptures so that they could unscramble the timeline. I suggested that they write down the accompanying verses next to each of the phrases – to make sure they had the correct order.
The kids hunkered down and got to work. I let them make assignments amongst themselves as to who was going to find which phrases. I like letting them develop leadership skills in that way, and with this particular class I can do that. Other combinations of kids might mean that I would need to take more of a “director’s” role in handing out assignments.
The students ended up tearing the two stapled pages apart and giving each other assignments on how to finish the work. Once they had written down the appropriate verses for each timeline phrase (I gave hints only when asked), I asked the seminary president to come up to the front and, with the class’s help, to put the timeline slips in order. (I had prepped one set of cut-up slips with tape on the back to make things speedy.)
As our class president put the slips up on a timeline sheet, we had a class discussion about the application of these verses and this story line to our day. And interestingly enough, our class secretary had the devotional for today. She had shared one of her favorite verses from the Book of Mormon: Alma 54:12. Captain Moroni is speaking:
“And behold, if ye do not this, I will come against you with my armies; yea, even I will arm my women and my children, and I will come against you, and I will follow you even into your own land, which is the land of our first inheritance; yea, and it shall be blood for blood, yea, life for life; and I will give you battle even until you are destroyed from off the face of the earth.”
[The student] shared how this was so similar to our time. Only, instead of physical war, Satan has declared spiritual war. And that “just as Captain Moroni’s army was united in their efforts to worship God and preserve freedom, that we will only succeed if we are united in our efforts as youth to live the gospel.”
I found her words most profound, given that she was only preparing a devotional, not an entire lesson. How inspired! For that was exactly what we ended up discussing today.
Make sure to keep your own copy of the master timeline, prior to mixing it up, with the secret verses already written to the side of each phrase. This will make it much easier for you as the kids come to you to see if they’ve gotten the verses and the order in correct fashion.
Download the Timeline Files
Go to this link to download the files:
- This is a file from Seminary Mom’s repertoire. You can use it to teach this chapter or create files like this to teach other lessons, too. If you make a new file like this, please share it so others can use your great ideas, too!