Object Lesson 2: "Even Little People Can Do Big Things"
Even the smallest Christian can make a big impact on the world through the strength received from prayer.
Just as David was able to defeat Goliath, so even the smallest person can out perform the biggest person in a competition to shoot Diet Coke™ out of a 2-liter bottle, showing that no matter how big or small we are, we can accomplish great things with the help from God realized through prayer.
What is prayer?
Why do we pray?
“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
1 package (14 count) of Mentos™ brand candies – preferably white
2 Diet Coke™ 2-liters (unopened) – preferably kept warm
Display table or other flat surface (outdoors)
Disposable table cloth, if using a display table
Adult size and child size waterproof coat or poncho
Eye protection for both volunteers
To build one ‘cartridge’
2-liter soda bottle cap
Drill with 1/4” and 3/64” bits
Fishing line (5-6”)
Binder clip (a.k.a. banker’s clip or bulldog clip)
Small sealable sandwich bag or other water-proof container
Optional: Geyser Tube™ available from Steve Spangler Science replaces the ‘cartridge’. Go to: http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/product/2072
To build the ‘cartridge’, start by drilling a 1/4” hole into the center of a 2-liter soda bottle cap using the pliers to hold the cap steady. DO NOT HOLD CAP WITH YOUR HAND. Once complete, use the 3/64” bit to drill a hole in the center flattened portion of a Mentos™ brand candy using the pliers to hold the candy steady. DO NOT HOLD CANDY WITH YOUR HAND. Candies tend to crack during this process, hence the reason 14 are recommended to attain 5 with little to no cracks. Some cracks are acceptable. Once 5 candies are successfully drilled, insert the fishing line into the hole of one candy and tie off, allowing the candy to be suspended by the fishing line. Insert the remaining candies onto the fishing line, creating a series of 5 candies suspended by the fishing line. Insert the free part of the fishing line into the underside of the 2-liter bottle cap, pull the candies close to the cap by pulling the fishing line, and clip the line on the top of the bottle cap using the binder clip. Carefully put your fully assembled ‘cartridge’ into the waterproof bag or container until ready for the experiment to prevent the candies from getting wet. If using the Geyser Tube™, use the included instructions.
Label adult size raincoat or poncho as “Goliath” and child size as “David”. If using a display table, cover the surface with the disposable tablecloth. Set an unopened warm 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke™ on each side of the table. Put the assembled ‘cartridge’ or Geyser Tube™ and candies on the left side of the table and keep the raincoats or ponchos handy. The bath towels should be placed behind the table and out of view. It is also suggested that the “Goliath” volunteer be selected before the presentation and instructed on how the experiment will proceed. An adult is preferred, due to the potential for messes. The volunteer for David can be a small child, especially if using the Geyser Tube™, as this allows the volunteer to stand several feet away when the reaction is triggered.
NOTE: Due to the mess involved, it is recommended that this experiment be performed outdoors and at least 10-20 feet from spectators.
The addition of Mentos candies to a freshly opened 2-liter of Diet Coke results in fountain of soda that can shoot as high as 30 feet into the air. Goliath has no chance to win using his strength alone.
THE SCIENCE EXPLAINED:
The addition of Mentos candies to a freshly opened 2-liter of Diet Coke results in an amazing display of the power of carbon dioxide gas trapped in the soda. The only difference between this reaction and the one you observe upon adding ice to a glass of soda is the speed at which the bubbles form. All bubbles start at nucleation sites. These can be the small scratches in the side of a glass, the rough edges of ice, or the small pores on the surface of Mentos candies. The more nucleation sites, the more bubbles. Mentos takes this even further by being coated with a chemical, gum Arabic, that reduces surface tension and allows the gas to make a rapid escape. Diet coke, unlike some other sodas, contains aspartame and potassium benzoate that further reduce surface tension. All together, Mentos are the best nucleation site generators in the world!!!
1. “Hi Kids. Today we are going to do a very cool experiment.”
2. “But first, I need two volunteers.”
Volunteer for Goliath
3. “My first volunteer needs to be the biggest and strongest person here.”
4. “Let’s see, you over there.” Choose the pre-selected adult.
5. “Great, please stand to my right.”
6. “Please put on this jacket and prepare for battle.” Aid the adult volunteer putting on the raincoat or poncho, being sure the labeled “Goliath” is visible to the audience.
Volunteer for David
7. “For our second volunteer, we need the smallest person in the room.”
8. “Let’s see, you over there.” Choose the smallest person.
9. “Great, please stand to my left.”
10. “Please also put on this jacket and prepare for battle.” Aid the child volunteer putting on the raincoat or poncho, being sure the labeled “David” is visible to the audience.
Story of David and Goliath
11. “Now, let’s re-tell a story from the bible.”
12. “Can anyone tell me the story of David and Goliath?”
13. “Well, the story goes that these people called the Philistines wanted to go to war with the people of God, the Israelites.”
14. “Instead of their armies fighting, though, the Philistines wanted just one Philistine to fight just one Israelite, champion versus champion.” Raise your arms in the air.
15. “Now this did not sound too bad to the Israelites, for no one likes to go to war.”
16. “Why not have one fighter for each side, winner take all?”
17. “But do you know what happened next?”
18. “Yeah, the Israelites saw the champion of the Philistines.”
19. “He was a huge giant named Goliath.”
20. “Goliath was the biggest, scariest, and strongest person that they have ever seen.”
21. “Not just that, he was trained as a fighter all his life, so they knew that he could easily squish them just like a grape.” Squeeze you fingers together like squishing a grape.
22. “So, it was no surprise that no one agreed to fight him.”
23. “They were all too scared.”
24. “But there was one small little boy named David who was not afraid to fight.”
25. “David was not a soldier; he was not even an adult.”
26. “He was a kid just like you.”
27. “But, David knew that because he had faith in God that he would be protected.”
28. “He felt the courage and strength that comes from knowing God.”
29. “So when David and Goliath met on the battlefield and Goliath came charging toward David, sword in the air. Raise you right hand like you are holding a sword.
30. “David simply took out some smooth rocks he collected from the stream.” Show a few loose Mentos candies in your hand.
31. “Calmly put them in a sling, and flung them toward Goliath.” Make a swinging gesture like throwing the stones.
32. “They hit the giant square in the forehead and Goliath fell to the ground."
33. “He was dead.”
34. “Ok, well that is a great story, but what does that mean for us today?”
35. “Does that me that God wants us to go out and fight giants?”
36. “No, of course not.”
37. “But, the story does show us that even little people, even kids like you, can do great things, if God is with you.”
Feeling small and powerless
38. “So, let me ask you. Have you even felt small, powerless?”
39. “I think we all have at one time.”
40. “Even when we get bigger like me, we sometimes feel small and powerless.”
41. “Maybe your best friend just got into a car wreck.”
42. “You are not a doctor.”
43. “You are only a kid.”
44. “How can you help?”
45. “Maybe your parents are always fighting each other.”
46. “When you try to stop them it only gets worse.”
47. “Maybe you even have an older kid picking on you at school.”
48. “You tried to talk to him, but things only got worse.”
49. “In any of these situations you may feel powerless, out of control.”
50. “After all, you are only a kid in an adults’ world.”
51. “But I tell you the truth; YOU can all become very powerful, if you know God.”
52. “All you have to do is ask for his help.”
Prayer is our strength
53. “So, how do we ask for God’s help?” Wait for a response.
54. “Yes, we pray.”
55. “We ask God to help us and we get his strength and courage, just like David.”
56. “Could we fight giants?
58. “But kids just like you can also have a great impact on the world just by praying.”
59. “Don’t believe me.”
60. “Well, people in prayer, especially young children, have led to more miracles than I could tell you.”
61. “So, how do small people, even kids, get the strength to defeat large obstacles, like Goliath?”
62. “We plug into the power of God though prayer.” Clasp hands with fingers intertwined to show the plugging into God’s power.
63. “Once plugged in, you can do all things though Jesus Christ who strengthens you.”
Introduction to experiment
64. “Don’t believe me.”
65. “Well, today we are going to have a similar battle as David versus Goliath, except we will not be fighting each other with swords or rocks.”
66. “Instead, we will use soda.”
67. “Now, all of us have at one time or another opened a can of Coke™ and had it bubble over.”
68. “We may have even shaken a can from time to time just to see what happens.”
70. “Well, today’s challenge is to see who can shoot soda from a 2-liter the highest.”
71. “Will it be the strongest person or the one with God?”
72. “Let’s see.”
73. “On my right, we have the mighty Goliath, champion of the Philistines." Gesture to the adult volunteer to acknowledge himself / herself with a bow.
74. “But he does not know God.”
75. “On my left, we have David, the smallest of us.” Gesture to the child volunteer to acknowledge himself / herself with a bow.
76. “Yet hopefully with the power from God, he will prevail.”
77. “Well, let’s us just see how powerful someone big can be.” Open the 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke™ on the right side.
78. “Goliath, are you ready?”
79. “Leaving the bottle on the table, please squeeze it as hard as you can to make the biggest geyser.” Stand back, and then quickly clean up any mess with the towel.
80. “Not bad, Goliath.”
81. “Ok, David, your up.” Neal down to his or her level and talk one on one to the ‘David’ volunteer.
82. “Feel scared?”
83. “There is no need.”
84. “You have God on your side.”
85. “God will give you strength and courage, just like David.”
86. “Do you remember how we receive God’s strength?”
87. “Yes, we pray!”
88. “So, let’s ask God for help.”
89. “Can you repeat after me?” Direct child to repeat the following prayer.
90. “God, I pray for strength in the name of you son Jesus Christ our Lord and savior. Amen.”
91. “Ok, now we feel energized.”
92. “Now, are you now ready to take on Goliath?”
94. “Ok, do you remember what David did?”
95. “Yes, he took small rocks and made a slingshot.”
96. “Well, here are your rocks, and here is your slingshot.” If using the ‘cartridge’, remove it from the waterproof container, show the suspended candies to the audience, remove the bottle cap from the 2-liter of Diet Coke™, and carefully replace the cap with the assembled ‘cartridge’, being sure not to get the candies wet. Tighten the cap well. The candies should be suspended above the liquid, with the binder clip keeping them from falling into the 2-liter. If using the Geyser Tube™, show the empty tube and the Mentos candy to your volunteer and the audience, assemble the tube according to the instructions (5 candies is sufficient), and hand the string to the child volunteer.
97. “When we are all ready, David, I want you to squeeze this clip (pull the pin) letting the ‘rocks’ fall into the 2-liter bottle.”
98. “Then step back as soon as possible, because I think this is going to be BIG.” Show the child volunteer how the squeeze the clip to release the fishing line. Be prepared to assist the child in getting clear of the soda once the reaction starts.
100. Turn toward Goliath. “Think he /she will beat you, Goliath? You are very big, yet he/she is very small and only has these small pebbles.”
101. “Let’s just see.” Once everyone is ready, have the volunteer release squeeze the clip (pull the string), allowing all candies to enter the 2-liter at once. Be sure to have the volunteer stand back, as the stream of soda can shoot 30 feet or more into the air. Once depleted, remove the 2-liter from the table and quickly clean up the mess with a towel.
102. “WOW!!! You went down Goliath.”
103. “David, the smallest person here, defeated you, the largest person here, because he /she had God on his / her side.”
104. “So, what have we learned?”
105. “Do we need to feel afraid just because we are small? No.”
106. “With God on our side we CAN accomplish great things.”
107. “So, how do we get these great things to happen, if we are just kids?”
108. “We plug into the power of God though prayer. Right?” Clasp hands again.
109. “So just remember, when you have a problem, just say ‘I can do everything through him who gives me strength’.” Philippians 4:13
110. “When God is with you, no matter what your size, you can have a great impact on this world.”
111. “Well, I better get back to the lab.”
112. “I have lots to do to prepare for my next experiment.”
113. “You see, I think I discovered a way to use the power of the mind to cut objects, to make my body waterproof, and to make water float in mid-air.”
114. “I just need to work the kinks out.”
115. “I will see you again soon.”
1. Original concept for experiment and design of ‘cartridge’ obtained from Eepy Bird Productions. http://www.eepybird.com/How%20To%20Do%20It%20Yourself!.pdf Video available at this link for a demonstration of the effect. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKoB0MHVBvM
2. Geyser Tube™ that replaces the ‘cartridge’ is available at Steve Spangler Science. http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/product/2072
3. Concepts of ‘Mad About Jesus’, ‘Mad Scientist’, and plugging into the power of God though prayer by clasping hands with fingers intertwined were used with permission from Kelly Neal, Children’s Ministry Director of Fair Haven Christian Church, Trafalgar, Indiana.
Please send comments, suggestions, and questions to Daniel at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mad About Jesus Laboratories