Great timing – Harvest




  • To teach children that Christians believe God created the world.
  • To encourage a sense of wonder at the amazing precision and balance which sustains the plant kingdom.

Things you’ll need

  •  An alarm clock. Check that no wall clock is visible in the assembly.
  • Some apples
  • A large card with the word ‘photoperiodism’ written on it
  • A knife and suitable surface on which to cut apple in half
  • Segments of apple, enough for a piece each for the children (optional)
  • A flip chart and pen

Bible Base

  1. Genesis 1:11
  2. Genesis 8:22
  3. Ecclesiastes 3:1,2


1 Show pupils the alarm clock. Make the alarm go off. Talk about time and how a few minutes can seem like a long time when we’re doing something we don’t like doing (like sitting still waiting for something), whereas time seems to fly by when we’re enjoying ourselves!

2 Ask all the children to stand up in silence. Say that you want them to try to judge when a minute has passed. You are going to tell them when the minute starts. They must sit down when they think the minute has passed. Praise (or give a prize to) the pupil who was closest to guessing the time correctly. Make the point that it’s hard to guess time without a clock.

3 Show the apples and ask if any of the children has an apple tree in his or her garden. Do they know when apple trees blossom? Talk about how important it is for the trees to blossom in spring so that insects can pollinate it and the fruit can grow in the warm summer months.

4 Ask the pupils how the trees know it’s spring? They never make a mistake. Explain that it’s as if each tree has a clock inside it! Hold up the clock again and explain that it’s not a clock like this. It’s more like a microscopic computer programme. Explain how in the winter it gets light quite late in the morning, and gets dark early in the evening. Then as winter turns into spring, the days start to get longer. It only changes very slowly, but the trees can tell how much daylight there is each day. When the days are exactly the right length, it’s like an alarm clock going off inside the tree and the tree starts to produce the blossom. From the blossom the fruit grows until the apples are ripe at harvest time.

5 Tell pupils that there is a long word which describes this ability trees have to tell the time. Hold up the card with the word ‘photoperiodism’ written on it. Ask if anyone can read it? Practise saying the word together.

6 Ask pupils what they think would happen if the trees didn’t have this special clock? They wouldn’t know when to produce the blossom. If the blossom came on the trees at the wrong time, the fruit wouldn’t grow and there would be no harvest.


A Christian viewpoint

1 Read some of the Bible verses from the Bible base (eg Genesis 8:22, Ecclesiastes 3: 1,2)

2 The Bible teaches that it was God who made all the plants and trees. He decided the seasons and he made sure that the trees obeyed the rules. He put his clock inside them!

For everyone

Talk about how amazing the precise timing in the plant world is. Encourage a sense of wonder in the children.


1 Cut one of the apples in half. Talk about the pleasure of biting into a ripe apple. If the assembly is not too large, you could pass round segments of apple for the children to eat at this moment. As they do so remind them of the precise timing that was needed for apples to exist so that we can eat and enjoy them.

2 Ask the children to help you write a prayer of thanks for a fruit of their choosing. Write their ideas up on a flipchart. You could use the pattern given in the Key Stage 1 option below. Finish the assembly by saying the prayer and inviting those who would like to do so to join in with the ‘Amen’.

Key Stage 1 option

Instead of asking the children to write their own prayer, you could finish with this one:

Thank you, Lord God…

for apple trees,

for the clock inside them so they know when it’s time to make blossom,

for the sun that makes the apples grow,

for the juicy flavour of ripe apples at harvest time. Amen.


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