How do we know or test if someone is alive? Sadly, I have a personal experience with this. When we lost our 2 year old, the doctors checked several factors to check for life. From professional doctors, they check heartbeat, breathing, and brain activity to assess if someone is still alive.
Important Note!! Be mindful when moving forward with this lesson to consider if anyone in your Primary has experienced a death in the family recently. You can certainly proceed with this lesson with sensitivity to their experiences, but just make sure you focus on life rather than death!
Adapt this lesson plan to be especially sensitive to any children that may have had a close family member death in the past year and may have experienced any traumas related to that experience.
The ideas I will outline here may possibly trigger some memories, but I do believe (as someone who does have a past trauma) they can also be presented in a way that is fun and scientific and avoid trigger points.
Affiliate links are used in this post. All opinions are my own.
I Know My Father Lives
What Makes Someone Alive?
Let’s start with 3 fun and engaging science experiments to interact with life in this I Know My Father Lives singing time idea!
- Lungs: Paper Lunch Bag, Straw, Tape
- Heartbeat: Egg Shakers
- Brain Activity: Plasma Lamp or Fiber Optic Lamp or Finger Lamps
Start by singing through I Know My Father Lives.
Then, ask the children how do you know if someone is alive? What signs do you see? (Collect answers)
Tell the children that you’re going to try 3 fun experiments that show how we are all alive!
#1 – Let’s Breathe!
Assemble paper lungs ahead of time. You can draw internal lung parts, if desired. Or, simply grab the supplies and assemble as is!
First, inflate the paper bag. Then, twist the end of the paper bag closed at the open end at the top. Slip in a straw. Then, twist the end back up and seal with tape.
If you need more help on assembly or how to use paper bag lungs, I shared a full tutorial post!
Have the children feel their belly and take a big deep breath. Hold their breath. Then release slowly. Ask why their belly inflates?
Have the kids breathe air in and out of the paper bags through the straw. They will watch as the paper bags inflate and deflate. It’s a really fun science experiment that kids love!!
Lungs Alternative Ideas: You can adjust this lesson by having each children make their own lungs. Have them just securely hold the straw within the bag, rather than using tape. Or, you might make 1 per class ahead of time and let one volunteer from each class help you with this demonstration.
Have the children pay attention to how their belly raises and deflates as they sing through the song again!
#2 – Steady Heartbeat
For this activity, ask the children what a heartbeat sounds like. Have they ever heard a heartbeat? (You could add a sound clip of a heartbeat, if helpful here).
Heartbeat Extension Idea: As another fun add on, you can have the children try to find their heartbeat! They can check on their wrist or the side of their next just below their ear.
What pattern do you hear? Do you hear a rhythm?
Grab an egg shaker and shake in the consistent pattern of a heartbeat: Quick shake-shake, then rest. Repeat!
*Our Egg Shaker Pattern Cards are SO fun for helping make quick and easy patterns and other unique ways to use Egg Shakers! Grab our Printable Egg Shaker Beat Rhythm Cards in our shop!**
You can chant along with the beat you make to help the kids stay on rhythm: “Thump-thump”…. “Thump-thump.”
Sing along to I Know My Father Lives and use the egg shakers to add a heartbeat track to the song.
The cadence I used is doing a quick 2 shakes at the start of each measure and resting the rest of the words/notes:
Heartbeat Extension Idea: Repeat singing through the song with a faster heartbeat! Have the children jog in place or do jumping jacks for 30 seconds. Have them check how their heartbeat has changed. Sing along and shake the egg shakers following the faster cadence of 2 quick shakes per half-measure. (Know, Father, Lives.. held lives note, Loves, Me…)
#3 – Brain Activity
Our final activity is a little harder to visualize, but I have a few fun ways to make it happen! I’m going to list these in order of my personal preference – but ask around and see what you can find! If you can source one of these first two props, they’ll be the most fun! Or, pick one up from Amazon!
In a pinch, you can also use finger lights or a flashlight to draw a connection with what you have on hand.
If the children have mentioned one of the ways you know someone is alive is that they can think, move, reason, etc – bring that up again! Now, we’re going to discuss how our brain, this powerful muscle scientists still don’t know very much about, powers our ability to move, think, learn, and do so much!
Option 1: Plasma Lamp
A plasma lamp is one of those lamps that were popular in the 90s. You touch the outside of the globe and the electric pulses are drawn to your finger anywhere you touch on the globe.
My son’s scout leader brought a really large fancy one into cub scouts one week and the boys were on CLOUD 9!! They seriously couldn’t get enough of touching and playing with the globe and seeing how it responded.
It’s definitely a cool visual representation of electricity. You can have the kids come up a class at a time (or 2-3 kids at a time) and use hand sanitizer and then touch the plasma lamp. Or, have just a few helpers and tell the children there will be more time after singing time to try it before they go home if you’re short on time.
Option 2: Fiber Optic Lamp
Here’s another 90s favorite! It took me a while to figure out what this was called on Google, that’s how far it took me back! But, a Fiber Optic Lamp is another REALLY cool way to show a visual representation of electric connections in our brains.
Again, for this let the kids come up 1 class at a time or 2-3 children at a time and touch the finger optic strands. They are soft and flexible, with little lights at the end of each tip.
Option 3: Finger Lights (or Flashlight)
The final option is to pass out finger lights to the children, or simply have each teacher hold a flashlight.
Practice powering the lights on, and off again. That’s how fast our brain responds, too! Isn’t it amazing how a flashlight works and brings light so quickly to light up a dark room? Our brains are just like that switch, they power on and respond to whatever we think or want to do!
Now, I know how smart you children are! You show me each week with how quickly you learn and with the experience you share.
This time, when we sing through the song, I want you to really focus on your brain and all the work it’s doing to help you to stand up still, wave around your finger (is using the lights), move your mouth to sing the words, and remember and recall the song!
Sing I Know My Father Lives together.
Discuss & Sing:
How do we know that Heavenly Father Lives? How do we know Jesus Christ is alive? Tie back your science experiments to their reality. We know they live because they created us, they have physical bodies, they breathe and have a heartbeat, we know they think and know all things!
Ask the children to think about what they’ve learned today in these fun experiments and pay attention to the Spirit that testifies, too, just like the song teaches as you sing through the song one last time.
Point out to the children that they have a testimony of this song because they’ve each felt their Heavenly Father’s love and learned how He is real and alive in Primary and at church each week!
Check out our I Know My Father Lives Word Puzzle next!
I Know My Father Lives
What Makes Someone Alive Lesson Plan
This lesson plan might be a little more involved then some of my other singing time ideas. But, no worries! Just print this 1-page lesson plan and you’ll have everything you need including supplies, how to, and extension ideas in your hand so you can recreate this lesson in your own Primary Singing Time!
Click here to Print I Know My Father Lives -Signs of Life Lesson Plan
What other fun object lessons could you use that talk about signs of life?