Psalm 8 is considered one of the nature psalms. It talks about the majesty of God and his creation and reinforces the concept that humans have been given dominion over all the earth and are expected to care for it. If you are teaching Psalm 8 in a classroom or a religious class, consider incorporating a hands-on learning activity that will reinforce student learning and make the lesson fun.
The introduction to the Psalm says that it is "for the music director." Talk about how Psalms are poems that are meant to be sung. Divide students into groups and assign each group a different genre of music. Have them create a song in that genre using the words of Psalm 8 as lyrics. Then have each group perform their song for the other groups. You can also bring in hymnals and teach students to sing songs that were written based on Psalm 8. Two examples include "Lord, Our Lord, How Majestic Is Thy Name" by Stephen J. Pearson and "O God, the Great Wide Seas Are Yours" by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette.
Verses six through eight talk about the duty of people to protect the Earth and to rule over God's creation. Brainstorm different projects your students could do that would help them practice good stewardship of the earth. Possible ideas include volunteering at an animal shelter, going on a litter hunt, cleaning up an area of the highway, setting up a compost pile, setting up a recycling program or volunteering at a fish hatchery. Have students keep a journal throughout the entire project and have them reflect on Psalm 8, the project and the relationship of the two.
The first half of the Psalm talks about the majesty of God and the glories of the heavens. Have students reflect on the glories of the heavens and show them famous art works that depict the heavens. One example is "Starry Night" by Vincent Van Gogh. Tell them to create a piece of art that reflects the glory of God. It can be in any style, realistic or abstract. Depending on the supplies you have, let them choose between chalk renderings, watercolour, finger painting, pencil drawings or oil painting. You could also encourage students with other crafting skills such as knitting, carving, stained glass making or weaving to create a piece of art using their skill that demonstrates the majesty of God.
Memorise the Psalm as a group activity. Go around the room and have each student read the Psalm out loud and listen carefully to each person reading it. Then read the Psalm in unison out loud three times together. Write the Psalm on the chalkboard and then have everyone put their Bibles or their printout of the Psalm away. Read it together on the chalkboard and then erase five words from the Psalm and recite it together again. Keep erasing words until the class can recite the whole Psalm together.
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