Monday, January 24, 2011

Lesson Plan: Twelve Disciples Diviner (World Religion-Christianity)

In the World Religions class for Middle Schoolers that I am doing, where we are currently studying Christianity, this week it was time to cover the Twelve Disciples of Jesus.  I was trying to think of a fun way for them to remember all twelve names, when suddenly I thought of those old "fortune tellers" we used to fold when I was about that age.  Those things have twelve flaps--PERFECT for a project I called "The Twelve Disciples Diviner."

Here are the instructions, interspersed with some pictures I took of the one I made (for you visual learners...although presenting in multiple modalities really helps us all):

First, fold two opposite corners of the paper together (so that the paper is folded in half and is the shape of a triangle) and then open them up again.  Take the other two opposite corners and fold them together (again, folding the paper in half in the shape of a triangle) and then open them up again.  You should have a square piece of paper with two folds that make an X in the center of the page.

Next, fold all four corners to that center X so that they meet in the center and form the paper into a smaller square.

Now flip the paper over, so that you are looking at a square piece of paper with no down-folded flaps showing, but with a folded X in the middle.  Fold each one of those corners down to meet the X, so that they all meet in the center and make an even smaller square.  This time, however, each of the four corners flaps meeting in the center will have two separate triangular sections (for a total of 8 triangular segments).

Write one of the following names on each separate triangular segment:
  • Philip (Greek)
  • Bartholomew
  • Matthew (tax collector)
  • Thomas (doubting)
  • James, son of Alphaeus (the lesser)
  • Thaddeus
  • Simon the Zealot
  • Judas Iscariot

Then open the four corner flaps, and behind each triangular section, write a different quality of God of their choice (for example, peace, joy, abundance, forgiveness, patience, etc.).  Once that is done, fold the flaps down again and recrease the folds.

Flip the square over again so that you can see four square corners meeting in the middle.  On each one of those squares, write one of the following names:
  • Simon, called Peter (son of John)
  • Andrew, brother of Peter
  • James, son of Zebedee
  • John, brother of James
Also draw a small picture of a fish on each one of those squares.

To use the divener, insert the thumb and the forefinger of the right hand under the two flaps on the right side, and the thumb and forefinger of the left hand under the two flaps on the left hand and push the four corners to meet in the center.  To operate the diviner, think of a question or situation that calls for some quality of God or spirit.  Then chose one of the four names on the outer four flaps, and open and shut the diviner in opposite directions according to the number of letters in that name (so, for example, 5 times for the name Peter).  Select one of the name exposed by the 5th opening, and then open and shut the diviner again by the number of letters in that name (so, 6 times for Thomas).  Then choose one of the names shown, and read the God/spiritual quality under that name.  That is the God/spiritual quality that should be used to resolve that situation or question.


  1. A good video on the reason for the number 12 for the disciples and a whole lot of other christian tradition can be found in the youtube movied called Zeitgiest.

  2. Hmm. Very interesting. Thanks for the reference.